ATHENS, Ohio -- Behind a career-high three hits from freshman catcher Tanner Piechnick (Canonsburg, Pa.) and seven pitchers combining to toss a three-hitter, the Ohio baseball team (15-12) extended its win streak to four games with a 5-2 win over in-state rival Dayton (9-17) on Tuesday (April 4) at Bob Wren Stadium.
The Bobcats beat the Flyers for the second year in a row. Ohio has won four-straight games for the first time since 2015.
"There was a lot of positive momentum coming in," said fifth-year head coach Rob Smith. "Obviously, we played extremely well on the weekend, and we carried that out tonight. We hung with the game. We got the runs when we needed to get them. We got the hits when we needed to get them. It was a good all-around effort."
Piechnick collected his first career double and triple in the victory.
"I've been focusing more on just tracking the ball in batting practice," said Piechnick. "I think that translated well to the game, just seeing balls deep and swinging at pitches that are in the zone."
The Bobcats struck first in the bottom of the second inning. Senior third baseman Connor Callery (Covington, Ky.) drew a leadoff walk, then advanced to second base on a wild pitch and moved up to third when Piechnick singled to left field. Junior left fielder Evan Bourn (Overland Park, Kan.) grounded into a double play, but Callery was able to cross the plate to give Ohio a 1-0 lead.
Dayton didn't answer until the top of the fifth when senior catcher Matt Poland drew a one-out walk to set the table for sophomore shortstop Pat Meehan to hit a two-run homer to right center, giving the Flyers a 2-1 advantage.
The Dayton lead was short lived, though, as the Bobcats added two runs to their tally in the bottom half of the inning to take a 3-2 lead. The comeback started when sophomore center fielder Devon Garcia (Bowling Green, Ohio) hit a leadoff bunt single. He then advanced to third base off of a single through the right side from senior right fielder Spencer Ibarra (Fort Collins, Colo.) and scored the tying run when sophomore first baseman Rudy Rott (Holmen, Wis.) served up a sacrifice fly to left. Ibarra gave the Bobcats a one-run lead when senior second baseman Ty Black (Waynesville, Ohio) doubled to left field.
The Bobcats iced the win in the bottom of the eighth with two more runs. Senior shortstop Tyler Finkler (Olmstead Falls, Ohio) drew a one-out walk, stole both second and third and then scored on a passed ball. Piechnick then tripled to right center on a ball the Dayton outfielders lost in the Bob Wren Stadium lights and scored on a pinch-hit RBI single by redshirt junior Nick Bredeson (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.).
Redshirt junior right-hander Cory Blessing (Mayfield, Ohio) pitched 2.1 relief frames, striking out two and allowing two earned runs. He picked up the win, improving to 3-1 on the year. Redshirt junior closer Jake Roehn (Sandwich, Ill.) came on in the ninth to nail down the victory for the Bobcats. He struck out two and gave up a walk en route to his sixth save of the year, bringing his career total to 13, which ranks as the third most in school history.
Redshirt sophomore right-handed starting pitcher Nick Kamrada (Grand Ledge, Mich.), senior left-hander Matt Mikolajczak (New Lenox, Ill.), junior right-hander Logan Jacik (Omaha, Neb.), sophomore right-hander Kenny Ogg (Indianapolis, Ind.), senior right-hander Tom Colletti (Wheaton, Ill.) and Roehn combined for 6.2 scoreless innings, allowing a hit and two walks and striking out five.
"Midweeks are always good to get our pitchers going and get them ready for the weekend," said Ogg. "It's good to get our work in. I can throw two innings, and the rest of the guys can get their work in."
In addition to Piechnick's big night at the plate, Ibarra -- the reigning Mid-American Conference East Division Player of the Week -- went 2-for-4 with a run scored.
Freshman right-handed starting pitcher R.J. Wagner suffered his first loss on the mound of the year for Dayton, falling to 2-1. He tossed five innings, allowing three earned runs on five hits and three walks. He struck out two.
Ohio hosts its first MAC series of the 2017 season when it welcomes West Division foe Central Michigan to The Wren for a three-game weekend set. The series begins on Friday (April 7) with a 6 p.m. ET first pitch. The Saturday (April 8) matchup is slated to get underway at 3 p.m. ET while the Sunday (April 9) finale is scheduled for a 1 p.m. ET start time. 'Voice of the Bobcats' Russ Eisenstein will have the call of all three games on WOUB 1340 AM and online on OhioBobcats.com via Stretch Internet.