The Ohio University baseball team (0-2) returns to action on Friday as it heads to Greenville, N.C. for the start of the 2013 Keith LeClair Classic. The Bobcats will face Illinois (10 a.m.) and New Mexico State (2 p.m.) on Friday. On Saturday, Ohio will meet Boston College (10 a.m.). The 2013 Keith LeClair Classic will be held at Lewis Field at Clark-LeClair Stadium on the campus of East Carolina University.
NOTING THE BOBCATS
-Sophomore Jake Madsen led the Bobcats offensively last weekend as he went 3-for-7 and drove in one run.
-Madsen also hit a team-best .667 with runners in scoring position.
-Senior left-hander Marck Paliotto had a strong first outing as he worked 5.0 innings and struck out a pair in the `Cats matchup against Valparaiso.
-Rob Smith begins his first year as head coach, replacing Joe Carbone, who served on the bench for the past 24 years.
-Ohio returns six starters from last year's squad, which finished the year with a 28-29 record.
-The Bobcats were ranked in the top five of the Mid-American Conference in 12 offensive categories and 11 pitching categories at the end of the 2012 season.
-Ohio finished the year ranked second in the MAC in team ERA 3.73.
-In 2012, Madsen, Tyler Wells and Cody Gaertner all batted over .300 a year ago.
-Ohio lost all three of its starters from a year ago in the form of Jason Moulton, Brent Choban and Seth Streich.
-Ohio's 2013 schedule will feature six teams that qualified for the NCAA Tournament and four conference champions from a year ago.
THE PITCHING MATCHUPS
Friday: Marck Paliotto (Ohio) vs. Kevin Duchene (Illinois)
Friday: Connor Sitz (Ohio) vs. Michael Ormseth (NMSU)
Saturday: Jake Miller (Ohio) vs. Eric Stevens (Boston College)
RECAPPING LAST WEEK
Ohio dropped a pair of games this past Saturday as it opened its 2013 campaign. The `Cats dropped their first game of the season to Belmont 5-1 and then were shutout 1-0 by Valparaiso in game two at E.S. Rose Park in Nashville, Tenn. Freshman Jake Miller suffered the loss to Belmont after he allowed four earned runs on 10 hits. In game two against Valparaiso, Ohio received a strong effort from senior starter Marck Paliotto as he held the Crusaders to just four hits in 5.0 innings of work. He also struck out five in the losing effort. Sophomore Jake Madsen drove in the `Cats lone run of the weekend.
Ohio will faceoff against Illinois for the ninth time in school history on Friday. The Bobcats' meeting with the Fighting Illini will mark its first matchup since 1952. Ohio's meetings with Boston College and New Mexico State will mark the first all-time meeting with the Eagles and Aggies, respectively.
The Fighting Illini enter this weekend's games after it dropped two of three this past weekend at Tennessee Tech. In its season-opening series, Illinois scored 24 runs, averaging 8.0 runs per game. The 24 runs are the most among any teams in the Big Ten. The Illini are also in the top two in nearly every hitting category, as they turned in the most total bases (45), hits (35), RBI (22), walks (19) and stolen bases (7). The Orange and Blue are also second in average (.304) -- behind only Northwestern (.353) -- and slugging (.391), OBP (.412) and home runs (1). The `Cats will face freshman left-handed pitcher Kevin Duchene on Friday. In his first career outing, Duchene gave up five runs in 4.2 innings of work.
SCOUTING BOSTON COLLEGE
The Eagles will enter their matchup with Ohio after it takes part in their annual exhibition Fenway South matchup with the Boston Red Sox. Boston College opened the year by dropping two of three games down in Elon, N.C., falling 4-1 in its season-opener versus VCU. It then defeated Elon (7-6), but then fell 9-3 with Marist. The Eagles were picked 11th in the Preseason ACC standings. Offensively, Boston College is batting .210 as a team. The `Cats will face off against BC junior Eric Stevens. During his sophomore campaign, Stevens went 5-3 with a 5.64 ERA. In his first start this season, Stevens worked 6.0 innings and allowed two earned runs
SCOUTING NEW MEXICO STATE
The Aggies enter the weekend with a 2-2 mark on the year after they split a four-game series with Wisconsin-Milwaukee. New Mexico State is batting .259 as a team. Robert Lecount leads the squad with a .462 batting average. On the mound, Christopher Bradley holds a team-best 1.80 ERA. The Aggies as a team sport a 6.81 ERA.
Ohio returns to North Carolina next week as it travels to Cary, N.C. to take on Virginia Tech (March 1), Rhode Island (March 2) and Virginia Tech (March 3).