ATHENS, Ohio -- The Ohio baseball team (11-11) fell in both games of Saturdayâs (March 25) doubleheader against visiting Butler (16-7) at Bob Wren Stadium. The Bobcats mounted a comeback after falling behind by five runs but came up a run short, 7-6, in the first game. In game two, Ohio jumped out to a 3-0 lead but fell by a final of 5-4.
Butler swept the weekend series after posting a 4-3 win in 11 innings in the opener on Friday (March 24).
"There are a lot of positives we can draw from the weekend," said fifth-year head coach Rob Smith. "I know our guys are incredibly disappointed that we weren't able to come up with a win, but there were a lot of good things, and we've got to find the positives in that."
Game 1 â Butler 7, Ohio 6
Despite a four-run rally in the bottom of the eighth inning that saw the Bobcats make it a one-run game, Ohio fell to Butler in game one of the doubleheader.
Butler built a 5-0 lead over the first six frames of the game. Junior center fielder Tyler Houston hit a solo shot to left field in the top of the third, and freshman catcher Duncan Hewitt followed with a home run in the fourth. Houston added another round tripper in the fifth when he hit a solo shot to left center. In the sixth inning, Houston smacked a two-RBI single to center to make it a 5-0 lead for the Bulldogs.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, Ohio got on the scoreboard and cut Butler's lead to three runs when senior second baseman Ty Black (Waynesville, Ohio) singled and advanced to second on a Butler throwing error, allowing junior left fielder Evan Bourn (Overland Park, Kan.) and freshman catcher Tanner Piechnick (Canonsburg, Pa.), who had both drawn one-out walks, to score.
The Bulldogs got both runs back in the ensuing inning, though, as junior designated hitter Cole Malloy singled back to the mound to set the table for a two-run homer to left by Houston. Houston finished the contest 5-for-5 with three home runs and six RBIs.
In the eighth inning, the Bobcats closed the gap to 7-6. The rally started when senior shortstop Tyler Finkler (Olmstead Falls, Ohio) reached on a fielder's choice and scored off of a single from redshirt junior pinch hitter Nick Bredson (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.). Sophomore center fielder Devon Garcia (Bowling Green, Ohio) then doubled to right field, which scored senior third baseman Connor Callery (Covington, Ky.) from third base and junior left fielder Evan Bourn (Overland Park, Kan.) from second. Freshman pinch runner Jack Longo (Mayfield, Ohio) scored the final run of the frame on an RBI ground out by sophomore first baseman Rudy Rott (Holmen, Wis.).
Unfortunately for the Bobcats, senior right-handed pitcher Ottavio Dattolo shut the door in the bottom of the ninth to pick up his first save of the season.
Freshman right-handed pitcher Ryan Pepiot improved to 2-0 on the year for the Bulldogs, striking out eight over 6.1 innings while giving up just two runs -- one of them earned -- on two hits and five walks. Junior righty Josh Walker surrenered four runs -- two of which were earned -- on four hits and a walk in one inning of relief. He struck out one.
Redshirt junior right-handed starting pitcher Michael Klein (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) was tagged with his first defeat of the season, falling to 2-1 on the year. He gave up three earned runs on eight hits. He struck out four over five innings.
Garcia led the Bobcats at the plate, going 2-for-2 with a double and driving in two runs.
Game 2 â Butler 4, Ohio 3
Despite a seven-inning, five-strikeout effort from junior southpaw starting pitcher Butch Baird (Big Prairie, Ohio), the Bobcats fell in game two of the doubleheader.
Ohio struck first in the bottom of the first inning. Bredeson reached on a throwing error to lead off, then Rott legged out an infield single. Both moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by senior left fielder Spencer Ibarra (Fort Collins, Colo.), then came home on a two-RBI single down the left field line by Klein.
The Bobcats stretched their lead to 3-0 in the bottom of the fourth when Finkler drew a one-out walk, moved to second on a passed ball and then stole third base and scored on a Butler throwing error.
Butler used the long ball in both the sixth and seventh innings to even the score at three-all, though. Houston smacked his fourth home run of the doubleheader and fifth of the weekend series with two outs in the sixth, then Hewitt smacked a two-out, two-run blast to left in the seventh after first baseman Jordan Lucio reached base safely by way of a one-out single.
The Bobcats grabbed the lead back at 4-3 in the home half of the seventh. Finkler started it off with a single up the middle, then moved up to second on a sacrifice bunt by junior right fielder Tony Giannini (Carmel, Ind.). One out later, senior third baseman Connor Callery (Covington, Ky.) singled up the middle to plate Finkler and put Ohio back in front.
Butler rallied in the ninth inning, though, scoring two runs to take a 5-4 lead. Junior third baseman Garrett Christman was hit by a pitch, and senior shortstop Michael Hartnagel and Lucio hit back-to-back singles to fill the bases with nobody out. Hewitt coaxed a walk, which forced freshman pinch runner Zach Jarosz across home plate and tied the score. Hartnagel then scored the go-ahead run off an RBI fielder's choice that allowed sophomore second baseman Connor Dall to reach base.
Ohio put two runners on with two out after Giannini and Callery beat out infield singles, but the Bobcats weren't able to cash in as Dattolo earned his second save of the doubleheader.
Hewitt went 1-for-3 at the plate and tallied three RBIs to lead the Bulldogs. Christman and Lucio each posted a pair of singles.
Junior right-handed reliever Luke Johnson was credited with the pitching victory for Butler -- his first win of the season.
Callery went 2-for-4 win an RBI to lead Ohio's bats.
"Late in the games, we toughed it out. It just didn't go our way in the end," said Callery.
Redshirt junior right-handed closer Jake Roehn (Sandwich, Ill.) was saddled with his first loss on the mound of the season, dropping to 3-1. He struck out two but allowed two earned runs on two hits and a walk.
The Bobcats return to action on Tuesday (March 28), making the drive to Columbus to take on in-state rival Ohio State (9-14). First pitch is set for 6:35 p.m. ET at Bill Davis Stadium.