Redshirt senior catcher Cody Gaertner came up with a huge performance on his birthday, going 3-for-5 with his fourth home run of 2016 to help lead the Ohio baseball team to a 7-5 victory on Sunday (May 15) in the series finale of the three-game weekend set at Robert J. Bobb Stadium at Hyames Field in Kalamazoo, Mich.
May 15, 2016
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FINAL: Ohio 7, Western Michigan 5 -- Kalamazoo, Mich. (Robert J. Bobb Stadium at Hyames Field)
OHIO STARTERS: Manny De Jesus (CF), Ty Black (2B), Mitch Longo (DH), Rudy Rott (1B), Cody Gaertner (C), John Adryan (3B), Tony Giannini (RF), Spencer Ibarra (RF), Tyler Finkler (SS), Connor Sitz (P)
WESTERN MICHIGAN STARTERS: Nick Vogelmeier (2B), Connor Smith (SS), Grant Miller (3B), Hunter Prince (1B), Jesse Forestell (LF), Alex Goodwin (RF), Mitchell Ho (C), Steve Pastora (DH), Drew Farmer (CF), Derek Schneider (P)
Thanks to a huge performance by redshirt senior catcher Cody Gaertner (Pittsburgh, Pa.) on his birthday, the Ohio baseball team (22-27, 7-14 MAC) held off Mid-American Conference West Division foe Western Michigan (17-29, 10-11 MAC) for a 7-5 victory on Sunday (May 15) in the series finale of the three-game weekend set at Robert J. Bobb Stadium at Hyames Field in Kalamazoo, Mich.
The Bobcats put a halt to a three-game losing skid with the win. The Broncos won the weekend series by virtue of a 6-0 win in the opener on Friday (May 13) and a 14-7 triumph on Saturday (May 14).
Unfortunately for Ohio, it will not have the opportunity to defend its 2015 league tournament title. The Bobcats were eliminated from contention for qualifying for the 2016 MAC Championship after Central Michigan posted a 3-1 win over Miami in Mount Pleasant, Mich., on Sunday.
HOW IT HAPPENED
• Gaertner finished 3-for-5 with his fourth home run of the 2016 season, two RBIs and two runs scored.
• Junior designated hitter Mitch Longo (Mayfield, Ohio) went 2-for-5 with his second home run of the weekend series and third of the season.
• Senior third baseman John Adryan (Delran, N.J.) tallied a single and a triple, drove in two runs and scored another.
• Senior right-handed starting pitcher Connor Sitz (Westerville, Ohio) struck out one while allowing one earned run on two hits and two walks in three innings of work.
• Senior right-hander Jake Miller (Westerville, Ohio) fanned three in three innings of relief to earn the pitching victory and improve to 3-8 on the year. He gave up two hits and two walks.
• Redshirt sophomore right-handed closer Jake Roehn (Sandwich, Ill.) picked up his seventh save of the season after striking out three in three innings of work. He surrendered four runs -- three of which were earned -- on six hits. His seven saves in 2016 tie him with Doug Stackhouse (1983) for the fourth-most in a single season in program history.
• Senior center fielder Drew Farmer led Western Michigan with a 3-for-3 effort at the plate that included two runs scored.
• Senior first baseman Hunter Prince doubled twice and drove in a run for the Broncos.
• Western Michigan senior southpaw starting pitcher Derek Schneider fanned seven over 6.2 innings of work on the mound but surrendered four runs -- three of which were earned -- on six hits and four walks. He took the loss on the mound, dropping to 0-6 on the year.
• Sophomore right-handed reliever Jake Bartels threw 2.1 frames, striking out two while giving up three runs -- one of which was earned -- on three hits.
• The Bobcats got on the scoreboard first when senior center fielder Manny De Jesus (Caguas, Puerto Rico) drew a leadoff walk, advanced to second one out later on a Western Michigan fielding error that allowed Longo to reach safely and scored on a single back up the middle by freshman first baseman Rudy Rott (Holmen, Wis.) in the top of the first inning.
• Western Michigan even the scored at one-all in the top of the third. Senior catcher Mitchell Ho drew a leadoff walk advanced to third after back-to-back singles down the left field line and right field line, respectively, by junior designated hitter Steve Pastora and Farmer, then scored when junior second baseman Nick Vogelmeier grounded into a 5-4-3 double play.
• Ohio regained the lead in the home half of the frame. Adryan shot a leadoff single back up the middle and scored two outs later on a wild pitch.
• The Bobcats' lead swelled to three runs thanks to one swing of the bat by Gaertner. Junior second baseman Ty Black (Waynesville, Ohio) coaxed a leadoff walk, then scored two outs later when Gaertner belted a two-run homer to right.
• Western Michigan cut Ohio's advantage to 4-2 in the seventh when Farmer hit a one-out single to right center and scored one out later on a base hit by freshman shortstop Connor Smith and a Bobcat throwing error that advanced Smith to second base.
• Ohio extended its edge to five runs by plating three in the top of the ninth. Longo belted a two-out solo shot to right to make it 5-2. Rott then reached on a Western Michigan throwing error and advanced to second on an infield single to second by Gaertner. That set the table for both Rott and Gaertner to score by way of a two-RBI triple to right by Adryan.
• The Broncos mounted a comeback effort in the bottom of the ninth. Farmer reached on a leadoff infield single to short. Freshman Conner Henderson followed with a pinch-hit single through the right side. Smith was then hit by a pitch to load the bases with nobody out. Miller drove in Farmer with an RBI bunt single down the left field line. Henderson and Smith both scored on back-to-back fielder's choices that put Prince and freshman left fielder Jesse Forestell on base safely, making it a two-run game. Fortunately for Ohio, Roehn got junior right fielder Alex Goodwin to ground out to second to seal the victory for the Bobcats.
BEYOND THE BOX SCORE
• Gaertner posted his 16th multi-hit game of the year -- including his seventh with at least three hits, tying him for the team lead. He has now logged nine multi-RBI efforts this season, which ranks third on the squad.
• Adryan is now tied for second on the team with 17 multi-hit contests this season and is tied with Rott for the team lead with 12 multi-RBI performances this year.
• Longo now owns a team-high 24 multi-hit efforts this year.
Ohio concludes the 2016 regular season by welcoming MAC East Division archrival Miami (23-26, 12-9 MAC) to Bob Wren Stadium next weekend. The series opens on Thursday (May 19) with a 6 p.m. ET series opener. The Bobcats will honor their 2016 graduates prior to the game. Game two is slated for Friday (May 20) for 3 p.m. ET. The program is scheduled to host its 2016 Senior Day ceremony prior to the contest. The 2016 the regular season finale is slated for Saturday (May 21) at 1 p.m. ET.
The RedHawks are coming off a 2-1 series loss to MAC West Division foe Central Michigan. Miami took the series opener, 7-3, but lost the final two games of the weekend set by scores of 4-3 and 3-1.
Miami will play its final non-conference game of the 2016 regular season on Tuesday (May 17), playing host to in-state rival Xavier in a 6 p.m. ET matchup at McKie Field at Hayden Park.
The Bobcats won the 2015 weekend series over Miami, 2-1, on Oxford, Ohio. Ohio took down the RedHawks on May 14, 2015, in the series opener, 9-6, then bounced back from a 7-6 setback the following day with a 17-5 romp in the finale.