May 5, 2016
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ATHENS, Ohio -- The Ohio baseball team (20-23, 5-10 MAC) begins the stretch run of its 2016 Mid-American Conference season as West Division foe Central Michigan (12-32, 6-9 MAC) this weekend at Bob Wren Stadium.
The series opener is scheduled for Friday (May 6) at 6 p.m. ET. The second game is slated for Saturday (May 7) at 3 p.m. ET. The Bobcats will honor their 2016 graduates prior to first pitch of the contest. The finale of the three-game weekend set is Sunday (May 8) at 1 p.m. ET. The game will feature free admission as part of Sunday Funday presented by OhioHealth.
'Voice of the Bobcats' Russ Eisenstein will have the call of all three games on WOUB-AM 1340 and OhioBobcats.com.
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUP
Friday: Ohio Sr. RHP #18 Jake Miller (Westerville, Ohio): 2-7, 4.74 ERA, 12 APP, 10 GS, 62.2 IP, 64 H, 33 ER, 23 BB, 48 SO vs. Central Michigan Sr. RHP #35 Sean Renzi (Plainfield, Ill.): 4-, 5.16 ERA, 15 APP, 7 GS, 52.1 IP, 52 H, 30 ER, 37 BB, 54 SO | Gametracker | Live Audio
Saturday: Ohio Jr. RHP #34 Jake Rudnicki (Toledo, Ohio): 4-2, 4.94 ERA, 11 APP, 11 GS, 62.0 IP, 53 H, 34 ER, 35 BB, 64 SO vs. Central Michigan Jr. LHP #27 Nick Deeg (Lake Orion, Mich.): 2-7, 4.54 ERA, 11 APP, 11 GS, 69.1 IP, 74 H, 35 ER, 25 BB, 54 SO | Gametracker | Live Audio
Sunday: Ohio TBD vs. Central Michigan R-Fr. RHP #17 Pat Leatherman (Plainfield, Ill.): 0-4, 4.24 ERA, 11 APP, 11 GS, 51.0 IP, 54 H, 24 ER, 23 BB, 28 SO | Gametracker | Live Audio
OHIO EXTENDS WINNING STREAK TO THREE WITH WIN OVER MOREHEAD STATE
Ohio ran its winning streak to three straight as junior right fielder Spencer Ibarra (Fort Collins, Colo.) belted two solo home runs and junior second baseman Ty Black (Waynesville, Ohio) came up with the game-winning, two-RBI double in the top of the seventh inning in a 5-3 victory over Morehead State on Tuesday (May 3) at John "Sonny" Allen Field in Morehead, Ky.
The win clinched the season series win over the Eagles for the Bobcats. Ohio blew out Morehead State, 15-3, on April 19 at Bob Wren Stadium in the first meeting of the season between the two squads.
Ohio totaled 10 hits while limiting Morehead State to four. The Bobcats have recorded at least 10 hits 21 times this season -- including each of the last two games. Junior second baseman Conner Callery (Covington, Ky.) posted a game-high three singles. Junior left fielder Mitch Longo (Mayfield, Ohio) went 2-for-4. Black doubled, walked, drove in a pair of runs and scored another.
2015 MAC YEAR-IN-REVIEW
Ohio finished second in the Mid-American Conference East Division standings in 2015 with a league record of 17-10 (.630). The Bobcats took weekend conference series victories from Buffalo, Kent State, Akron, Eastern Michigan and Miami last year.
LONGO RETURNS AS REIGNING MAC PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Junior outfielder Mitch Longo (Mayfield, Ohio) -- the 2015 MAC Player of the Year -- is looking to replicate his production from a season ago. He currently leads the team with a .370 batting average, a .456 on-base percentage, 64 hits and nine stolen bases. He also ranks second in runs scored (30) and walks (23) and slugging percentage (.457) and tied for second in doubles (12). Longo has recorded a team-high 21 multi-hit games this season.
Longo joined Marc Krauss (2009) as the only Bobcats to receive MAC Player of the Year honors.
The 2015 ABCA/Rawlings NCAA Division I Mideast All-Region Second Team and First Team All-MAC pick led the MAC with 86 hits (tied for the seventh-most in a single season in school history) and 120 total bases while ranking second with 49 RBIs and third with a team-best .357 batting average. He ranked fourth with 53 runs scored, ranks fifth with seven home runs, seventh with a .421 on-base percentage and eighth with a .498 slugging percentage.
Longo earned a spot as the designated hitter of the All-Champaign Regional Team. He becomes the first Bobcat to earn All-NCAA Regional Team recognition since Rick Czajkowski was named to the 1991 All-NCAA East Regional Team in Gainesville, Fla. He hit .333 with three hits -- including a double -- to go along with two RBIs and a run scored.
Longo was tabbed by D1Baseball.com as the outlet's pick for MAC Player of the Year and is ranked as their seventh-best prospect in the league.
HE'S A FRESHMAN
Freshman infielder/catcher Rudy Rott (Holmen, Wis.) has been Ohio's top rookie in 2016. He leads the team in doubles (13), is tied for the team lead in RBIs (35), ranks second on the team in on-base percentage (.403) and tied for second in home runs (3) and third in batting average (.321) and hits (54) and fourth in slugging percentage (.452). Rott is third on the team with 15 multi-hit games and is tied for the team lead with 11 multi-RBI games.
Senior infielder John Adryan (Delran, N.J.) has been Ohio's top power hitter in 2016, totaling a team-high 11 home runs and owning a team-best .536 slugging percentage. He is also tied for the team lead in RBIs (35), leads the team in runs scored (39) and total bases (96) is tied for second in doubles (12) and is third in walks (18). Adryan ranks second on the team with 16 multi-hit game and is tied for the team lead with 11 multi-RBI games.
Adryan was named MAC East Division Player of the Week for the second time in his career on April 11. He was also named MAC East Division Player of the Week on May 11, 2015. Adryan helped propel Ohio to three victories in four tries last week. He hit .375 with a team-best .875 slugging percentage and compiled six hits -- including two doubles and a team-high two home runs -- to go along with a team-high seven RBIs in addition to four runs scored. Adryan went 2-for-4 with a double and three RBIs as Ohio topped host Eastern Kentucky, 10-4, last Tuesday (April 5) at Turkey Hughes Field in Richmond, Ky. He then helped the Bobcats pick up their first MAC series victory of the 2016 season as Ohio took two of three games from Buffalo. Adryan doubled and scored a run last Friday in the series opener. He then helped the Bobcats secure a Sunday doubleheader sweep of the Bulls. Adryan smacked the go-ahead two-run home run in the bottom of the sixth inning in the opening game of the twin bill. He then went 2-for-4 with a home run, two RBIs and two runs scored in the second game of the doubleheader.
Adryan enjoyed a career season in his second full year as a starter for the Bobcats in 2015, hitting .297 with a .429 slugging percentage and .374 on-base percentage. He posted 54 hits -- including nine doubles and five home runs.
Adryan earned a place on the 2015 All-Mid-American Conference Championship Team, hitting a team-best .467 over four tournament games and tallying a team-high seven hits. He finished the 2015 MAC Championship with three multi-hit efforts and has totaled 13 multi-hit games in 2015 -- including two with at least three hits.
TOUGH AS STEEL
Redshirt senior catcher Cody Gaertner (Pittsburgh, Pa.) continues to make his impact felt for the Bobcats both on the field as a solid catcher and a strong hitter and in the dugout as leader. His 20-game hitting streak was snapped against Ohio State on March 29, but it marked the longest hitting streak in program history. He ranks second on the team with 61 hits and a .328 batting average, fourth in RBIs (23) and tied for fourth in doubles (7). He has recorded 14 multi-hit efforts and seven multi-RBI games this season, which ranks third on the team.
Gaertner batted .291 for the season in 2015 with a .405 slugging percentage. He posted 66 hits -- including 12 doubles, a triple and four home runs -- to go along with 43 RBIs, 32 runs scored and 18 walks.
Gaertner successfully bounced back from a torn labrum and a torn rotator cuff that kept him off the field in 2014.
MANNY BEING MANNY
Senior outfielder Manny De Jesus (Caguas, Puerto Rico) continues to produce at the top of the order for the Bobcats. He's fourth on the team with 49 hits, leads the squad with three triples and 26 walks and ranks third with 25 RBIs and fifth with a .374 on-base percentage. He is tied for fourth on the team with 14 multi-hit games and ranks fourth with six multi-RBI games.
De Jesus earned a place on the 2015 All-MAC Defensive Team, compiling 134 putouts and three assists with just one error, giving him a fielding percentage of .993.
In his first season with the Bobcats, De Jesus batted .311 to rank third on the team to go along with a .406 on-base percentage, which ranked second on the team. His 69 hits ranked third on the team -- including nine doubles and a triple. He recorded 18 multi-hit games in 2015 as well as six multi-RBIs games. De Jesus led the team with 56 runs scored and has drove in 27 runs. De Jesus also led Ohio with 33 walks. He went 7-for-9 in stolen base attempts.
BOBCATS BOAST THREE MAC EAST DIVISION PITCHER OF THE WEEK WINNERS
Senior righty Jake Miller (Westerville, Ohio), junior righty Jake Rudnicki (Toledo, Ohio) and senior right-hander Connor Sitz (Westerville, Ohio) have all earned MAC Pitcher of the Week honors for the Bobcats in 2016.
All have garnered recognition for the second time in their careers.
Miller was named MAC East Division Pitcher of the Week on Feb. 22. He went 1-0 with a 3.60 ERA and a team-high eight strikeouts out of the bullpen to help Ohio win its 2016 season-opening series at UNC Asheville.
Rudnicki earned MAC East Division Pitcher of the Week on Feb. 29. Ohio defeated host UAB, 2-1, on Feb. 28 behind a strong start from Rudnicki in the third and final game of a three-game weekend series at Regions Field in Birmingham, Ala. Rudnicki earned his first pitching win of the 2016 season as he tossed eight innings, allowing one unearned run on two hits, four walks and two hit batters to go along with a career-high 10 strikeouts in eight innings. He earned the honor again on Monday (March 28) after earning a win against Northern Illinois on Saturday (March 26). He pitched seven innings, allowing two earned runs on two hits, three walks and two strikeouts.
Sitz was named MAC East Division Pitcher of the Week on March 15. He tossed seven shutout innings and allowed just one hit and two walks while striking out two to help push Ohio to a 5-0 victory over IPFW in the second game of a doubleheader on March 12 at Bob Wren Stadium. Sitz picked up his first pitching win of the 2016 season as the Bobcats clinched the weekend series victory over the Mastodons.
Rudnicki is 4-2 in 11 starts for the Bobcats in 2016 and has piled up a team-high 64 strikeouts against 35 walks over a team-high 62.0 innings of work. Miller has pitched 62.2 innings and has struck out 48 to rank second on the team. Sitz is 3-3 with a 3.64 ERA over 10 starts in 2016. He's struck out 26 while allowing 17 earned runs on 37 hits and 21 walks in 42.0 innings of work.
Ohio has received solid contributions out of the bullpen from junior right-hander Tom Colletti (Wheaton, Ill.), redshirt sophomore right-hander Jake Roehn (Sandwich, Ill.) and redshirt sophomore righty Michael Klein (Highlands Ranch, Colo.),
Colletti has a 3.25 ERA in 20 appearances, tallying 40 strikeouts in 44.1 innings. Roehn, who missed all of 2015 with an injury, is 3-3 with a team-best 3.25 ERA. He's tallied 36 strikeouts over 44.1 frames of work with a team-leading six saves. Klein is 2-2 over 16 appearances -- including four starts -- and 40.1 innings, tallying 30 strikeouts.
BOBCATS ENTER YEAR AS REIGNING MAC TOURNAMENT CHAMPS
The Bobcats closed 2015 with 36 victories -- the second-most in a season in program history -- under head coach Rob Smith. The regular season was highlighted by a 10-7 win at Kentucky -- the Bobcats' first over a team out of the Southeastern Conference since recording a 15-4 win at Kentucky in 1997. The Bobcats carried their early season success over into the 2015 MAC slate, winning five of nine series. Ohio took a weekend series at Kent State, marking the Bobcats' first series win over the Golden Flashes since 1998. After winning just 11 games in 2014, the '15 team's 25-win improvement represented the largest turnaround in the NCAA last season.
No. 3-seeded Ohio won the 2015 MAC Championship and earned the conference's automatic bid to the 2015 NCAA Championship with a 6-2 win over No. 5-seeded Ball State in the title game on May 24 at All Pro Freight Stadium in Avon, Ohio. The Bobcats earned their first conference tournament title and NCAA bid since 1997.
The Bobcats drew the No. 4 seed at the 2015 NCAA Championship Champaign Regional. Ohio fell to No. 6 nationally-seeded Illinois, 10-3, in the opening round on Friday (May 29), then fell to No. 3 regionally-seeded Wright State in a rain-delayed elimination game on Sunday (May 31), 8-3, at Illinois Field.
OHIO PICKED SECOND IN MAC EAST
The Bobcats have been picked to finish second in the East Division according to the 2016 MAC Preseason Poll, as announced by the league office on Wednesday (Feb. 17). The preseason poll was voted on by the league's 11 head coaches.
The Bobcats earned two first-place votes and garnered 55 points overall. Kent State was tabbed as the top team in the MAC East Division with nine first-place votes. The Golden Flashes totaled 63 points overall. Bowling Green (43 points), Miami (37) and Buffalo (22) rounded out the MAC East predicted order of finish.
Central Michigan totaled 56 points overall and six first-place votes to earn the distinction of being the predicted winner of the MAC West Division. Ball State (53 points), Western Michigan (42), Toledo (41), Northern Illinois (24) and Eastern Michigan (15) were picked to finish behind the Chippewas. The Cardinals earned three-first place votes while the Broncos and Huskies each received one.
The Golden Flashes garnered four votes to win the 2016 MAC tournament title while Central Michigan earned two. Ball State, Bowling Green, Miami, Northern Illinois and Western Michigan all received a vote to win the league's tournament crown.
The 2016 MAC Championship will be held May 25-29 at All Pro Freight Stadium in Avon, Ohio. The winner receives the league's automatic bid to the 2016 NCAA Championship.
SCOUTING THE CHIPPEWAS
Steve Jaksa is in his 13th season as head coach at Central Michigan.
The Chippewas dropped two of three games to MAC West Division rival Eastern Michigan last weekend in Ypsilanti, Mich. Central Michigan lost by scores of 6-1 and 3-0 on Friday and Saturday, respectively, before preventing a weekend sweep with a 3-2 triumph on Sunday.
The Bobcats went 1-2 against Central Michigan in 2015, losing the weekend series in Mount Pleasant, Mich. Ohio won the series opener on May 20, 2015, 6-4, before losing to the Chippewas the following two days by scores of 9-3 and 4-0.
Ohio plays its final midweek game of the 2016 season next Tuesday (May 10) at Bob Wren Stadium, playing host to rival Marshall in a 6 p.m. ET contest. The Bobcats took down the Thundering Herd, 4-1, March 9 in Huntington, W. Va., in the first meeting of the season between the two squads.