May 18, 2007
BOWLING GREEN, Ohio -
The Ohio baseball team put six runs on the board in the top of the first inning Friday afternoon at Bowling Green, but could not make the early advantage stand as it fell 8-6 in the next-to-last game of the season.
After totaling just five hits in Thursday's series-opening 14-4 loss at Bowling Green, the `Cats offense surpassed that effort in the first inning alone on Friday as they rattled the bats for six runs on eight hits. But a combination of ineffective Ohio (22-31) starting pitching and productive BGSU (22-31) relief pitching soon turned the tables as the Falcons eventually battled back for the 8-6 decision.
Matt Stiffler (Bellbrook, Ohio) led off the game with his team-leading eighth triple of the season down the right field line. J.T. Osburn (Warrenton, Va.) immediately brought the first run of the game home on a single up the middle. After Marc Krauss (Deshler, Ohio) flied out, five-straight Bobcats registered singles, which scored three more runs and chased BGSU starting pitcher Dusty Hawk.
Nick Cantrell then came on in relief of Hawk with just one out and the bases loaded and was promptly greeted by consecutive RBI singles as Ohio went ahead 6-0. Up for the second time in the inning, Stiffler grounded into a double play, but the damage was done as Ohio had given its hurler Kevin Mementowski (Parma, Ohio) a six-run cushion before he had even toed the rubber.
Although the bottom of the first was not quite as explosive as the top half, the Falcons wasted little time starting their comeback as their first three batters recorded hits off Mementowski, but the Bobcat righty limited BGSU to two runs in the frame as Ohio maintained a 6-2 lead.
After surrendering three-straight hits to begin his eighth start of the season, Mementowski retired five of the next seven batters he faced, but opened the flood gates himself in the third inning. The Falcons used a walk, four singles and two doubles in the frame to take their first lead of the game, 7-6. All of the damage was done before Ohio could get the second out of the inning.
Falcon emergency reliever Cantrell carried the reversal of fortunes over to the defensive side as well as he allowed just five Ohio batters to reach base in the second though fifth innings, and none crossed home plate. The Bobcats were able to break Cantrell's rhythm in the top of the sixth as Krauss and Brandon Besl (Cincinnati, Ohio) got consecutive one-out singles. Adam Gumpf then came on in relief of Cantrell, got Willie Walker (Marysville, Ohio) to fly out, and struck out Chris Klimko (McKeesport, Pa.), but Klimko reached on the wild pitch third strike to load the bases. The attempted rally ended when Jared Willis (Logan, W.Va.) hit into a fielder's choice.
John Angelicchi (Woodmere, Ohio) came on in relief of Mementowski to start the fourth and kept BGSU from adding to its lead the next three innings, and even retired the side in order in the fifth and sixth. The Falcons were able to extend to a two-run cushion following the seventh inning stretch, however, thanks to a two-out single that made it 8-6.
After getting out of the bases-loaded jam in the sixth, Gumpf held Ohio hitless in the last three innings to close out the game and assure Ohio its first MAC series loss since the last week of April at Kent State.
Ohio finished with six runs on 14 hits with one error while BGSU tallied eight runs on 14 hits without a miscue in the field.
Besl, Klimko, Krauss and Willis each went 2-for-5 at the plate for Ohio while Zach Hartle (Toledo, Ohio) was 2-for-2.
Mementowski (3-3) took the loss for Ohio. He allowed a season-high seven earned runs on nine hits in three innings of work. Angelicchi allowed one run on five hits with five strikeouts in five innings of relief.
Ryan Shay led the Falcon offensive effort with a 4-for-5 performance at the dish while Andrew Foster drove in a pair of runs.
In relief for BGSU, Cantrell (4-8) earned the victory after tossing five scoreless innings while Gump recorded his team-leading third save of the season.
The Bobcats will close out the 2007 campaign on Saturday in the series finale against the Falcons. First pitch at Warren E. Steller Field is slated for 1 p.m. The game can be heard on WATH 970 AM or online at ohiobobcats.com.
GAME NOTES: Stiffler's triple in the first inning was his eighth of the year, tying him with Dirk Harper's 1991 total for the second-most in a single season in Ohio history ... Stiffler's run scored in the first inning tied him with Ryan Kyes' 2000 total of 56 for the fifth-most in a season in Ohio history ... Walker's RBI single in the first inning extended his season-best hit streak to 12 games, the second-longest for an Ohio batter this year ... Krauss was the only player in the Bobcat starting line-up to not get a hit in the first inning, but he recorded a one-out single in the second ... That hit by Krauss marked his second double-digit hit streak this year following an 11-game run in April ... With identical records (22-31) entering Saturday's season finale between Ohio and Bowling Green, the loser will finish last in the overall MAC East Division standings.