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Ohio Heads South for UNC-Wilmington Tournament

Scott White

Feb. 20, 2014

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The Ohio University baseball team returns to action on Friday at Noon for the start of the four-game set at the Buffalo Wild Wings Battle at the Beach Tournament on the campus of UNC-Wilmington. During the four-game tournament, Ohio will play a pair of games against Liberty and versus UNCW inside Brooks Field.

-Ohio enters its second week of the season following a doubleheader split with Murray State in Columbia, Tenn. this past Sunday.
-The Bobcats were orginially scheduled to play Western Carolina to open the season, but the series was cancelled because of poor weather conditions in the North Carolina area. -Ohio's .394 batting average and .987 fielding percentage during its first series of the year was the best among any Mid-American Conference team.
-After one weekend of play, freshman centerfielder Mitch Longo leads the MAC in four offensive categories.
-Rob Smith begins his second season as head coach of the Bobcats.
-Ohio returns eight position starters from last year's squad, however four of those players were lost in the preseason to season-ending injuries in the form of Cody Gaertner, Nick Squires, Nate Squires and Brice Nikithser.
-Despite the preseason injuries, the Bobcats welcome 20 newcomers to the squad that Smith hopes can contribute immediately.
-Junior Jake Madsen returns to the lineup after he led the team in batting average for the second-consecutive season. In 2013, Madsen posted an average of .326.
-Starting pitcher Jake Miller also returns to the pitching rotation following a freshman campaign that saw him throw 77.0 innings and post a team-best 55 strike outs.
-Sophomore Connor Sitz also returns to the mound following a freshman campaign where he logged 71.0 innings. Sitz rebounded strong to post a team-best 2.58 ERA over his final six starts.
-Freshman Jake Roehn will get the start for the Bobcats in game one of the tournament. Roehn earned the start in game one of its 2014 campaign.

Friday: (Ohio) Jake Roehn vs. (LU) Parker Bean
Saturday - GM 1: (Ohio) Jake Miller vs. (LU) Carson Herndon
Saturday - GM 2: (Ohio) Connor Sitz vs. (UNCW) Jordan Ramsey
Sunday: (Ohio) TBD vs. (UNCW) Evan Phillps

The Bobcats' matchup with Liberty marks Ohio's first all-time meeting with the Flames. Ohio's meeting with UNCW marks the 18th all-time meeting with the Seahawks. UNCW holds a 13-5 all-time series lead against Ohio. The two teams met for a three-games series in 2012 with UNCW taking two of three from the `Cats.

LIberty University enters this weekend tournament with a 1-3, having lost matchups against North Florida, South Florida and Old Dominion in its season-opener. The Flames were picked to win the Big South's North Division in the preseason. In 2013, Liberty captured its first league title since 2000, posting a 36-29 overall mark. Junior Ryan Seiz leads the team with a .500 batting average, while junior Jared Lyons leads the squad with a 1.59 team ERA.

UNC-Wilmington has opened 2014 with a 1-2 record. The Seahawks dropped games to Kentucky (10-4) and preseason No. 1 Virginia. Its lone victory came in its season-opener against VMI (5-3). The home win was also UNCW's fourth straight in season openers. UNCW placed seven players on the preseason All-CAA squad, including reigning CAA Pitcher of the Year Mat Batts. Although Batts didn't figure in the decision, he did strike out nine in his season debut against VMI. Preseason all-league selection Corey Dick led the Seahawks offensively in the opening week as he went 4-for-11 with five RBI.