May 12, 2016
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ATHENS, Ohio -- The Ohio baseball team (21-25, 6-12 MAC) is in must-win mode as it visits West Division foe Western Michigan (15-28, 8-10 MAC) this weekend (May 13-15) for its final Mid-American Conference road series of the 2016 regular season at Robert J. Bobb Stadium at Hyames Field in Kalamazoo, Mich.
The series opener is set for Friday (May 13) with first pitch coming at 2 p.m. ET. Game two of the weekend set is slated for 1 p.m. ET start time on Saturday (May 14). The Sunday (May 15) series finale is scheduled to get underway at 1:05 p.m. ET.
'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 R-So. RHP #25 Michael Klein (Highlands Ranch, Colo.): 3-2, 4.57 ERA, 17 APP, 4 GS, 43.1 IP, 40 H, 22 ER, 20 BB, 32 SO vs. Western Michigan Jr. LHP #9 Keegan Akin (Midland, Mich.): 4-3, 1.98 ERA, 12 APP, 12 GS, 77.1 IP, 54 H, 17 ER, 22 BB, 99 SO | Live Stats | Live Audio
Saturday: Ohio Jr. RHP #34 Jake Rudnicki (Toledo, Ohio): 4-2, 4.79 ERA, 12 APP, 12 GS, 67.2 IP, 59 H, 36 ER, 38 BB, 68 SO vs. Western Michigan Sr. RHP #24 Pat Haynes (Chicago, Ill.): 0-1, 8.48 ERA, 13 APP, 5 GS, 28.2 IP, 39 H, 27 ER, 17 BB, 16 SO | Live Stats | Live Audio
Sunday: Ohio TBD vs. Western Michigan Sr. LHP #14 Derek Schneider (Portage, Mich.): 0-5, 8.46 ERA, 18 APP, 10 GS, 50.0 IP, 76 H, 47 ER, 38 BB, 40 SO | Live Stats | Live Audio
Redshirt sophomore right-hander Michael Klein (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) moves into the role of Friday starter for Ohio and will face Western Michigan junior southpaw Keegan Akin, who is 4-3 with a team-best 1.98 ERA and a team-high 99 strikeouts over 12 starts and a team-high 77.1 innnings on the mound. Ohio junior righty Jake Rudnicki (Toledo, Ohio) remains the Saturday starter for the Bobcats. He was earned a team-high four wins and has struck out a team-high 68 batters. Rudnick will oppose Western Michigan senior right-hander Pat Haynes. Ohio's Sunday starter has yet to be determined. The Broncos will send senior lefty Derek Schneider to the hill for the series finale.
A LOOK AT THE RACE FOR A 2016 MAC TOURNAMENT BERTH
The Bobcats are currently on the outside looking in at a spot in the 2016 MAC Championship, which will which be held May 25-29 at All Pro Freight Stadium in Avon, Ohio. Ohio is currently 10th in the overall MAC standings. The top eight teams in the league standings qualify for a spot in the conference tournament and a chance to play for the MAC's automatic bid to the 2016 NCAA Championship.
1. Kent State, 17-4 (.810)
2. Ball State, 14-7 (.667)
3. Northern Illinois, 12-9 (.571)
4. Miami, 11-7 (.611)
5. Eastern Michigan, 9-9 (.500)
6. Central Michigan, 8-10 (.444)
7. Western Michigan, 8-10 (.444)
8. Toledo, 8-10 (.444)
9. Bowling Green, 6-12 (.333)
10. Ohio, 6-12 (.333)
11. Buffalo 6-15 (.286)
FINAL MIDWEEK GAME OF 2016 RAINED OUT
Ohio's Tuesday (May 10) non-conference game against rival Marshall was cancelled due to thunderstorms in Athens. The contest will not be rescheduled. The Bobcats took down the Thundering Herd, 4-1, on March 9 in Huntington, W. Va., in the lone meeting of the season between the two squads.
OHIO EDGED BY CENTRAL MICHIGAN IN SIXTH MAC SERIES OF 2016
The Bobcats dropped two of three games to Mid-American Conference West Division foe Central Michigan last weekend at Bob Wren Stadium.
The Chippewas limited the Bobcats to one hit and posed an 8-2 victory in the series opener last Friday (May 6). Ohio bounced back with a 5-4 triumph in 14 innings on Saturday (May 7) as senior third baseman John Adryan (Delran, N.J.) hit a one-out single to left center field to plate junior left fielder Mitch Longo (Mayfield, Ohio) and push the 'Cats to a walk-off win. Unfortunately for Ohio, Central Michigan avenged the defeat with a 13-11 triumph in 13 innings on Sunday (May 8) in the series rubber match. The loss spoiled a huge game by redshirt senior catcher Cody Gaertner (Pittsburgh, Pa.), who went 5-for-7 with a pair of home runs and four runs scored.
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 .374 batting average, a .453 on-base percentage, 71 hits and 10 stolen bases. He also ranks second in runs scored (33), walks (24) and slugging percentage (.453) and tied for second in doubles (12). Longo has recorded a team-high 22 multi-hit games this season -- including a team-high seven with at least three hits.
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) and RBIs (38), ranks second on the team in on-base percentage (.403) and tied for second in home runs (3) and third in batting average (.397), hits (57) and slugging percentage (.432). Rott is tied for second on the team with 16 multi-hit games and leads the squad with 12 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 .503 slugging percentage. He also leads the team in runs scored (39) and total bases (98), ranks second in RBIs (36), is tied for second in doubles (12) and is third in walks (19). Adryan is tied for second on the team with 16 multi-hit game and is second 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
Gaertner 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 66 hits and a .330 batting average, third in RBIs (26) and tied for fourth in doubles (7). He has recorded 15 multi-hit efforts and eight 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 55 hits, leads the squad with three triples and 30 walks, is tied for third with 28 runs scored and ranks fourth with 25 RBIs and fifth with a .387 on-base percentage. He is tied second on the team with 15 multi-hit games. He has posted at least three hits in a game six times. He also 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.
SOLID UP THE MIDDLE
The Bobcats sport a pair of strong junior middle infielders in Black and Tyler Finkler (Olmsted Falls, Ohio). Black is tied for third on the team in both runs scored (28) and walks (19) and ranks fifth in RBIs (20) while Finkler is having a career season despite battling injury throughout the year, ranking fifth on the team with a .273 batting average.
SHARING TIME IN RIGHT
Sophomore Tony Giannini (Carmel, Ind.) and Ibarra have shared time patrolling right field for Ohio in 2016. After playing in only 10 games as a freshman, Giannini has started 31 of the 35 games he's played in, hitting .256 with 30 hits -- including five doubles and a home run -- to go along with 18 RBIs and 13 runs scored. A transfer from Neosho County Community College, Ibarra is batting .271 with 26 hits -- including six doubles and three home runs -- to go along with 10 RBIs and 14 runs scored in his first season in Athens.
BOBCATS BOAST THREE MAC EAST DIVISION PITCHER OF THE WEEK WINNERS
Senior righty Jake Miller (Westerville, Ohio), Rudnicki 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 12 starts for the Bobcats in 2016 and has piled up a team-high 68 strikeouts against 38 walks over a team-high 67.2 innings of work. Miller has pitched 67.2 innings and has struck out 52 to rank second on the team. Sitz is 3-3 with a 4.24 ERA over 11 starts in 2016. He's struck out 28 while allowing 22 earned runs on 42 hits and 23 walks in 46.2 innings of work.
Ohio has received solid contributions out of the bullpen from redshirt sophomore right-hander Jake Roehn (Sandwich, Ill.), junior right-hander Tom Colletti (Wheaton, Ill.) and redshirt sophomore righty Michael Klein (Highlands Ranch, Colo.),
Roehn, who missed all of 2015 with an injury, is 3-3 with a team-best 1.74 ERA. He's tallied 40 strikeouts over 41.1 frames of work with a team-leading six saves. Colletti has a 4.11 ERA in 22 appearances, tallying 36 strikeouts in 46.0 innings. Klein is 3-2 over 17 appearances -- including four starts -- and 43.1 innings, tallying 32 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 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 BRONCOS
Billy Gernon is wrapping up his sixth year as head coach at Western Michigan.
The Broncos took two of three games from MAC East Division foe Miami in Oxford, Ohio, last weekend. Western Michigan took the Friday opener, 5-3, lost on Saturday by a score of 11-6, then bounced back with a 4-2 Sunday win to claim the weekend series.
Western Michigan was scheduled to host Big Ten Conference for Michigan State on Tuesday, but the contest was cancelled due to inclement weather. The Broncos droped a 9-4 decison to Horizon League opponent Oakland on Wednesday (May 11) in Rochester, Mich.
The Bobcats lost two of three games to Western Michigan in 2015 at Bob Wren Stadium, dropping the series opener on March 27, 12-9, bouncing back with a 7-5 triumph the following day but losing the finale on March 29, 7-4. Ohio avenged the regular season series defeat in the 2015 MAC Championship by posting a 4-1 win in 11 innings in the winner's bracket of the tournament on May 21 in Avon, Ohio.
Ohio concludes the 2016 regular season by welcoming MAC East Division archrival Miami to Bob Wren Stadium next weekend. The series opens next 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.