MASON, Ohio -- Sophomore first baseman Rudy Rott (Holmen, Wis.) delivered a one-out, walk-off home run in the bottom of the 10th inning to push the Ohio baseball team (17-19) to a thrilling 11-10 victory over longtime rival Marshall (18-19) on Wednesday in a neutral-site matchup at Prasco Park.
The Bobcats evened the season series with the Thundering Herd with the victory. Marshall beat Ohio, 12-9, last Wednesday (April 12) in Huntington, W. Va. The two teams will meet again on May 9 in a 6 p.m. ET matchup at Bob Wren Stadium in Athens.
Ohio and Marshall combined for 27 hits -- including a whopping eight home runs -- in the wild extra-inning affair. The Bobcats belted a season-high five round trippers in the victory and have gone deep 14 times over the last five contests.
The Bobcats took a 9-5 lead into the seventh inning. Marshall cut Ohio's edge down to two when junior third baseman Tyler Ratliff drew a walk to set the stage for a two-run home run to left by senior second baseman Sam Finfer, who smashed his second home run of the game and team-high 11th of the 2017 season to left.
The Thundering Herd evened the score at nine-all in the top of the ninth. Finfer got the rally started with a single to right. Redshirt sophomore center fielder Shane Hanon drew a walk, then sophomore left fielder Andrew Zban legged out a bunt single to load the bases with nobody out for Marshall. Redshirt senior designated hitter Billy Sager then tied the game with a two-RBI single back up the middle, plating Finfer and Hanon.
Ohio put the winning run on in the home half of the ninth as junior left fielder Evan Bourn (Overland Park, Kan,) reached on a fielder's choice and advanced to second on a passed ball. That's as close as he got to scoring though, and the contest moved to extras.
Marshall took the lead, 10-9, in the top of the 10th, when Ratliff sent a one-out triple to left center and then tagged up and scored when Hanon lifted a sacrifice fly to center.
The Thundering Herd's lead was shorted lived, though. Senior center fielder Spencer Ibarra (Fort Collins, Colo.) led off the bottom of the frame with a home run to center to even the score -- his second dinger of the game and team-high ninth of the season. He has now homered in three-straight games and four of the last five contests for the Bobcats. One out later, Rott came through with the game-winning homer -- his seventh round tripper of the year. The reigning Mid-American Conference East Division Player of the Week has gone deep five times in the last three games.
Marshall took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning as junior first baseman Will Ray led off with a single down the left field line and then scored one out later by way of a base hit through the left side by Hanon.
Ohio evened the score in the home half of the opening inning when Ibarra led off with a 370-foot home run to center.
The Bobcats grabbed a 2-1 lead in the second thanks to a two-out solo shot to left by senior catcher Anthony Mrosla (Coon Rapids, Minn.) -- his first career home run with the Green & White.
The Thundering Herd took the lead back in the top of the third. Ratliff was hit by a pitch to lead off the frame, then Finfer followed with his first home run of the game to make it a 3-2 Marshall lead. Marshall tacked on two more runs after Hanon doubled to right center to set the table for Zban to follow with a two-run round tripper to right center.
Ohio battled back with a six-run bottom of the fourth to take an 8-5 lead. Senior third baseman Connor Callery (Covington, Ky.) got things started by drawing a walk, then freshman left fielder Tanner Piechnick (Canonsburg, Pa.) singled to right. One out later, Mrosla delivered his second home of the evening -- a three-run shot to right center to the tie score at five-all. Senior shortstop Tyler Finkler (Olmsted Falls, Ohio) then coaxed a walk, stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error and then scored the go-ahead run on another Marshall miscue that allowed Ibarra to reach base safely. Ibarra moved to second on a wild pitch, then Rott drew a walk. Redshirt junior designated hitter Michael Klein (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) lifted a fly ball to left, but Zban dropped what would have been the third out, allowing both Ibarra and Rott to scamper home and extend the Bobcats' lead to 8-5.
The Bobcats made it a 9-5 lead in the fifth as junior right fielder Tony Giannini (Carmel, Ind.) sent a one-out double to deep center and scored on a two-base throwing error on the play. Ohio took advantage of five errors by the Thundering Herd, but Marshall was able to battle back in the final three frames to send the contest to the 10th.
Mrosla led the Ohio bats with a 3-for-4 effort that included two home runs, a walk and four RBIs. Ibarra finished 2-for-3 with a walk and three RBIs while Rott went 2-for-4 with two walks, an RBI and two runs scored. Ibarra leads the Bobcats with 14 multi-hit games while Rott has tallied 11, which is tied for second on the team.
Fifer put together a big night at the plate for Marshall, going 3-for-5 with a pair of home runs, a walk, four RBIs and three runs scored. Hanon finished 2-for-4 with a double, a walk, two RBIs and two runs scored while Zban went 2-for-4 with a home run, a walk, two RBIs and two runs scored. Redshirt junior right fielder Cory Garrastazu and senior shortstop Leo Valenti each collected a pair of singles.
Redshirt sophomore right-handed reliever Connor McMann (Flower Mound, Texas) picked up first win on the mound of the year, striking out one while giving up one earned run on one hit and two walks. He was one of eight pitchers utilized by Ohio.
Freshman righty Mark Meyer threw five innings of relief for the Thundering Herd, striking out four. He gave up two earned runs on six hits and three walks, though, to suffer the pitching defeat and fall to 0-1. Junior right-handed starting pitcher Brad O'Connor last 4.1 frames, allowing nine runs -- five of which were earned -- on six hits and four walks. He struck out five.
After playing six straight away from home, Ohio makes its return to The Wren this weekend for a three-game series against MAC East Division archrival Miami (15-23, 2-7 MAC). The series opener is scheduled for 6 p.m. ET on Friday (Apri 21). Game two is slated for a 3 p.m. ET start on Saturday (April 22). The Sunday (April 23) series finale is set for a 1 p.m. ET first pitch. The weekend series is being promoted as 'Bark In The Park', which fans being invited to bring their dogs to the games. '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.