ATHENS, Ohio – The Ohio Baseball team (4-14) will open Mid-American Conference play against Central Michigan (13-6) on Friday, March 22 at 6 p.m. at Bob Wren Stadium. Play will resume on Saturday, March 23 at 3 p.m. and the series will conclude on Sunday, March 24 at 1 p.m.
PROBABLE STARTERS AND LINKS
FRIDAY: RHP Kenny Ogg (1-3, 5.06 ERA) vs RHP Pat Leatherman (3-0, 2.08 ERA)
SATURDAY: LHP Joe Rock (1-3, 7.77 ERA) vs RHP Cam Brown (4-0, 3.68 ERA)
SUNDAY: RHP Jack Liberatore (2-2, 2.88 ERA) vs LHP Tyler Hankins (3-0, 4.29)
Sophomore LHP Brett Manis (Port Huron, Mich.) has been phenomenal this season out of the bullpen. Manis has a save in every Ohio win this season, and has not allowed just two earned runs in 10.1 innings pitched this season. Manis has fanned 13 batters and has an .200 opponent batting average.
GOOD WAY TO GET YOUR FIRST WIN
Redshirt freshman Jack Liberatore (Greensburg, Pa.) was phenomenal in the second game of the doubleheader against USC Upstate where Ohio earned its second win of the season in a 2-1 win over the Spartans. Liberatore tossed 7.0 innings of shutout baseball allowed just five runners to reach base. Liberatore earned his first win of his collegiate career and improved to 1-1 this season. Liberatore's season ERA is an impressive 1.15 ERA, the best among Bobcat starters. The Greensburg, Pa. native has allowed just two runs in 15.2 innings and allowed just 18 runners to reach base while striking out 14 batters this season.
NO EARNED RUNS AND A WIN
Ohio took down Dayton, 4-2, behind a quality start from senior RHP Kenny Ogg. He arned his first win of the season after not allowing an earned run over 6.0 innings as the starter. Ogg struck out three batters in the win and allowed just six batters to reach base after allowing one walk and five hits. Two runs crossed the plate while Ogg was on the mound, both unearned.
LAST TIME OUT
Ohio hosted Dayton in a mid-week game on Tuesday, March 19. Dayton pulled ahead quickly, scoring six runs in the first three innings before Rudy Rott smacked a two RBI single to put that Bobcats on the board in the bottom of the third. Ohio was able to tack on three more runs, but it wasn't enough to defeat Dayton; the Bobcats fell 12-5.
Rob Smith enters his seventh season as the head coach of the Ohio baseball program in 2019. The Bobcats have won two Mid-American Conference tournament titles and have made two NCAA Championship appearances during his time at Ohio. Ohio had made just two NCAA tournament appearance in the 43 seasons prior to the 2015 campaign.
Senior first baseman Rudy Rott (Holmen, Wis.) was named to the 2019 Collegiate Baeball All-America Third team in December. Rott was the 2018 Mid-American Conference Player of the Year, an All-MAC First Team member and made the All-MAC Defensive Team. In 2016, Rott was a Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American.
Rott led the Bobcats in batting average (.355), slugging percentage (.654), on-base percentage (.440), hits (76), doubles (15), home runs (15), walks (30), RBIs (50) and runs scored (48) last season, setting or tying career highs in every category. He also tied for the team lead with two triples. Rott tied for the MAC lead in hits and home runs and ranked second in slugging percentage and RBIs, third in batting average and fifth in runs scored. His 140 total bases were good for a conference-high, ranked 17th in the nation and tied him for the 10th-most in a single season in Ohio history. He led Ohio with 24 multi-hit games – including a team-high eight with at least three hits – and also led the Bobcats with 15 multi-RBI games.
In conference play, Rott sported a team-best .333 batting average, a team-best .620 slugging percentage and a team-best .498 on-base percentage. He tallied a team-high 36 hits -- including a team-high eight doubles and seven home runs -- to go along with a team-high 27 RBIs and 24 runs scored.
RUDY THIS SEASON
So far this season for Rott is hitting a team best .314 (22-of-70) with seven doubles and two home runs so far this season with a team-high of 13 RBI. Rott has scored seven runs and has a .351 on-base percentage. Rott has swiped four bases season.
DON'T FORGET TANNER
Ohio returns senior DH Tanner Piechnick (Canonsburg, Pa.) to the lineup, who earned All-MAC Second Team recognition last season. Last season's honors were the first in his career. Piechnick ranked second on the team in slugging percentage (.484), doubles (12), home runs (8) and runs scored (48) behind Rott while ranking third in hits (51) and RBIs (28), setting career highs in every category. Piechnick ranked second on the squad with 15 multi-hit games.
In conference play, Piechnick ranked second on the squad in batting average (.305), slugging percentage (.533), on-base percentage (.373), hits (36), doubles (7), home runs (5), RBIs (20) and runs scored (22).
The Bobcats have hit four home runs this season. Rott had one against USC Upstate, and Ohio hit three home runs in the Bobcats' series with Cal Baptist. Freshman Zyon Avery (Indianapolis, Ind.) hit his first career home run, while Rott and redshirt sophomore Dan McCauley (Pittsburgh, Pa.) also hit one home run each.
OHIO PICKED SIXTH IN MAC
Ohio Baseball team has been selected sixth in the 2019 Mid-American Conference Baseball Preseason Poll, the league announced on Wednesday (Feb. 13). The poll was voted on by the league's 10 head coaches.
The Bobcats earned 49 votes and was selected in front of Eastern Michigan (45), Western Michigan (42), Northern Illinois (29) and Bowling Green. NIU received one vote to win the conference this season.
Selected in front of Ohio was Kent State (98), Ball State (88), Miami (78), Central Michigan (53) and Toledo (51). Kent State received eight votes to win the league, while Miami received one vote for first place.
FIRST WIN OF THE SEASON
Ohio earned the first win of the season during game two of the three game series with Wofford. Ohio won the game, 6-2, and freshman LHP Joe Rock (Aliquippa, Pa.) earned his first win of his collegiate career after coming in during the fourth inning and tossing 2.2 innings. Rock gave up two earned runs while striking out three batters. Rock faced 13 batters and walked just one.
SCOUTING CENTRAL MICHIGAN
Central Michigan is currently 13-6 overall with a team batting average of .307. Collectively, they have scored 169 runs, hit 51 doubles, nine triples, nine homeruns and 149 RBI. With 108 walks, the Chippewas have a .416 on-base percentage.
Leading the team is junior Zach Gilles, who is batting .431 with 31 hits, three doubles, one triple and 10 RBI. Just behind him is senior Jacob Crum with a .373 batting average, eight doubles, five triples, two homeruns and a team-leading .731 slugging percentage.
MORE ON THE PROBABLE STARTERS
OGG: Senior RHP Kenny Ogg is 1-3 with a 5.06 ERA this season. Ogg grabbed a win against Dayton last week, where he tossed 6.0 innings and did not allow an earned run while striking out three batters. Ogg has a season-high of eight strikeouts in Ohio's 3-2 loss to Cal Baptist earlier this season. Against Army, he pitched five innigns and allowed eight earned runs.
ROCK: Freshman LHP Joe Rock is 1-3 with an ERA of 7.77 this season. Rock earned his win at Wofford when he tossed 2.2 innings in relief and allowed two earned runs while striking out three batters. Rock had a season-high five strikeouts in a start against USC upstate. Against Army, he pitched for five innings, striking out four and allowing six earned runs.
LIBERATORE: Redshirt freshman Jack Liberatore is 2-2 with a 2.88 ERA. Liberatore was phenomenal in his win over USC Upstate, tossing 7.0 innings and striking out six batters without allowing an earned run. Liberatore allowed just five batters to reach base in the win. Against Army, he pitched 6.1 innings, striking out 6 batters and recorded his second win of the season.
WELCOME TO OHIO
Ohio is welcoming 10 to the team this season. Ohio has eight true freshman - RHP Matt Brosky (Strongsville, Ohio) INF Ryan Strittmather (Vermillion, Ohio), C/INF Zyon Avery (Indianapolis, Ind.), RHP Braxton Kelly (Ulysses, Ky.), LHP Joe Rock (Aliquippa, Pa.), INF Evan Fromwiller (Aurora, Ohio), INF/RHP Colin Sells (Lancaster, Ohio), INF Xavier Haendiges (Salem, Ind.) and RHP Eamon Horwedel (Ann Arbor, Mich.) Ohio has one Junior college transfer, redshirt sophomore Michael Richardson (Cambridge, Maryland/Harford Community College). The Bobcats have one transfer from a four-year school, junior INF Joe Weisenseel (Strongsville, Ohio/Penn State).
The Bobcats will host Marshall on Tuesday, March 26 at 6 p.m.