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@Ohio_Baseball Plays Host To Morehead State

@Ohio_Baseball Plays Host To Morehead State

March 20, 2017


ATHENS, Ohio -- The Ohio baseball team (11-7) plays host to Morehead State (13-6) in a midweek matchup on Tuesday (March 21) as the eight-game homestand rolls on at Bob Wren Stadium. First pitch has been pushed up to 5 p.m. ET from its originally scheduled time of 6 p.m. ET.

The first 300 students in attendance at Tuesday's tilt between the Bobcats and the Eagles will receive free McDonald's.

Tuesday: Ohio TBD vs. Morehead State Sr. RHP #38 Luke Humphreys | Gametracker

The Bobcats are coming off of a weekend series win over visiting Siena at The Wren, with Ohio taking two of three games from the Saints.

The Bobcats split a Saturday (March 18) doubleheader with the Saints. Siena took the opening game, 4-2, but bounced back with a 7-4 victory in the second contest of the twin bill. In the Sunday (March 19) finale, the Bobcats logged a 6-4 triumph to clinch the weekend series win.

Ohio baseball senior outfielder Spencer Ibarra (Fort Collins, Colo.) was named the Mid-American Conference East Division Player of the Week, as announced by the league office on Monday (March 20).

Ibarra earned weekly conference honors for the first time in his Ohio career.

Ibarra put together a monster week at the plate to help Ohio secure three victories at Bob Wren Stadium. Ibarra batted .467 with a 1.133 slugging percentage and a .500 on-base percentage over four games and 15 at-bats. He collected a team-high seven hits and homered in three of the Bobcats' four games last week. He also tallied a team-high five RBIs and six runs scored. Ibarra belted his second home run of the season last Thursday (March 16) in a 9-1 win over Shanwnee State in Ohio's 2017 home opener. He then belted a pair of home runs in a Saturday doubleheader split with Siena to bring his season total to four. Ibarra went 2-for-4 with a round tripper in game one, then crushed a two-out shot in the eighth inning of the Bobcats' triumph in the second game of the twin bill. Ibarra capped off his big weekend by helping Ohio take the weekend series from Siena with a win in the Sunday rubber match, going 3-for-3 with a double, an RBI, a walk and three runs scored.

Through 18 games in 2017, Ibarra leads the team with 14 runs scored, is tied for the team lead with four home runs, ranks second on the squad in batting average (.319), slugging percentage (.522) and hits (22), is tied for second in RBIs (11) and ranks fourth in on-base percentage (.368). He is tied for the team lead with six multi-hit games and is tied for second on the squad with three multi-RBI games.

Ohio has established itself as one of the top pitching staffs in the MAC through five weeks of the 2017 season.

Ohio's pitching staff has recorded three shutout victories in 18 games in 2017 after posting just one in 52 games in '16.

The tone for the Bobcats' success on the mound has been set up by the starting pitchers. Redshirt junior right-handed pitcher Michael Klein (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) is 2-0 with a team-best 1.37 ERA and is second on the team with 23 strikeouts over 19.2 innings. He has given up just three earned runs on 14 hits and six walks. Junior left-hander Butch Baird (Big Prairie, Ohio) sports a 2.48 ERA and a 3-0 record, fanning 22 over a team-high 29.0 innings while giving up eight earned runs on 23 hits and 10 walks. He was named MAC East Division Pitcher of the Week on March 6 after helping Ohio come away with a weekend series win at Western Kentucky thanks to his performance on the mound on March 4 in a 3-0 shutout victory at Nick Denes Field in Bowling Green, Ky. He improved to 2-0 on the bump this year, tossing 6.2 frames and striking out two while allowing four hits and two walks in his third start as the Bobcats blanked the Hilltoppers. Redshirt junior left-hander Gerry Salisbury (Brunswick, Ohio) is 1-2 with a 3.00 ERA. He leads the team with 28 strikeouts in 27.0 innings on the mound. He's allowed nine earned runs on 25 hits and 10 walks.

Redshirt junior right-handed closer Jake Roehn (Sandwich, Ill.) has made nine appearances out of the bullpen, fanning 18 in just 13.2 innings while allowing just one earned run. He has notched four saves this season, bringing his career total to 11. Roehn was named MAC East Division Pitcher of the Week for the first time in his career on Feb. 27 after picking up both wins on the mound out of the bullpen in a 6-4 win over SIU Edwardsville on Feb. 25 and a 2-1 win in 13 innings over the Cougars the following day. He did not allow a run in five innings of relief and struck out eight while giving up just three hits and one walk over the two victories. Senior right-hander Tom Colletti (Wheaton, Ill.) has made a team-high 10 appearances out of the bullpen for the Bobcats and owns a 3.07 ERA with 13 strikeouts over 14.2 frames. Senior lefty Matt Mikolajczak (New Lenox, Ill.) owns a 0.00 ERA, making seven appearances and tossing 7.0 innings, tallying five strikeouts. He earned his first career save 2-1 win over SIU Edwardsville in 13 innings on Feb. 26 in Emerson, Ga. Redshirt sophomore right-handed pitcher Nick Kamrada (Grand Ledge, Mich.) owns a 1.35 ERA over four appearances and 6.2 frames of work. Moving to the bullpen after spending the last three seasons as a starting pitcher, senior right-hander Jake Rudnicki (Toledo, Ohio) is tied for third on the squad with 22 strikeouts over 13.1 innings of relief and owns an 1.35 ERA. Redshirt junior right-hander Cory Blessing (Mayfield, Ohio) has also performed well out of the bullpen, fanning 17 in six appearances and 11.0 innings. He sports a 2.45 ERA.

In addition to serving as the No. 3 pitcher in Ohio's weekend rotation, Klein is batting a team-best .333 and .609 slugging percentage and a team-high 23 hits -- including five doubles and four home runs, which are both tied for the team lead. He's tallied 11 RBIs, which is tied for second on the squad. Klein is tied for the team lead with six multi-hit performances in 2017.

On Feb. 20, Klein was named MAC East Division Player of the Week. He put together a huge weekend for Ohio to help the Bobcats come away victorious in three of four games in Lexington, S.C., on the first weekend of the 2017 regular season. Klein led the team in batting average (.400), slugging percentage (.867), hits (6), home runs (2), RBIs (5) and total bases (13).

In last Sunday's series-clinching win over Siena, Klein recorded a single and a triple while striking out eight.

Senior infielder Tyler Finkler (Olmsted Falls, Ohio) has stolen eight bases in 2017 to set a new career high.

Finkler is batting .258 with a .348 slugging percentage and a .338 on-base percentage. He is fourth on the team with 16 hits and leads the squad with 12 RBIs. Finkler is tied for the team lead with six multi-hit performances and leads the Bobcats with three multi-RBI games in 2017.

Smith is in his fifth season at the helm of the Bobcats. Ohio won 23 games during 2016 season. Smith has won 95 games at Ohio and led the Bobcats to a MAC tournament title and an NCAA Championship berth in 2015.

Ohio was picked to finish third in the East Division according to the 2017 MAC Preseason Poll, as announced by the league office on Feb. 16. The preseason poll was voted on by the league's 11 head coaches.

The Bobcats garnered 44 points overall. Kent State was tabbed as the top team in the MAC East Division with nine first-place votes. The Golden Flashes totaled 61 points overall. Miami was picked to finish second in the East Division, tallying 56 points and receiving one first-place vote. Bowling Green (32 points; one first-place vote) and Buffalo (27 points) rounded out the MAC East predicted order of finish.

Ball State totaled 57 points overall and five first-place votes to earn the distinction of being the predicted winner of the MAC West Division. Central Michigan (49 points; two first-place votes), Toledo (36 points; one first-place vote), Northern Illinois (32 points; two first-place votes), Western Michigan (31 points; one first-place vote) and Eastern Michigan (26 points) were picked to finish behind the Cardinals.

The Golden Flashes garnered four votes to win the 2016 MAC tournament title while Ball State, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Miami, Northern Illinois, Toledo and Western Michigan all received a vote to win the league's tournament crown.

Roehn sported a team-best 2.18 ERA and led the Bobcats with seven saves in 2016 after missing the 2015 campaign due to an injury. He fanned 43 over 23 appearances and 45.1 innings of work while surrendering just 11 earned runs on 42 hits and nine walks. His seven saves in 2016 tie him with Doug Stackhouse (1983) for the fourth-most in a single season in program history.

On Feb. 13, Roehn was named to the 2017 Stopper of the Year Preseason Watch List, as announced by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association

Sophomore infielder/catcher Rudy Rott (Holmen, Wis.) returns after a stellar freshmen season. Rott was one of just four Bobcat position players to play in all 52 of Ohio's games during the 2016 season, starting 51 of them.

Rott excelled at the plate for the Bobcats, ranking second on the team in RBIs (39), on-base percentage (.406) and doubles (13) and third in batting average (.319) and home runs (3). He tied for the team lead with 14 multi-RBI games -- including a team-high four outings with at least three RBIs. He also tied for second with 12 multi-hit games

Rott complemented his offensive prowess with quality defense. In 484 defensive chances, he committed just three errors, accumulating a fielding percentage of .940, which tied for the best on the team among players with more than 50 chances. Rott also helped the Bobcats turn two more than any other player on the squad, contributing on 39 double plays.

Rott was named to the 2016 Louisville Slugger All-Freshman Team for his efforts.

Rott currently ranks third on the team with 18 hits -- including five doubles, which is tied for the team lead. He also ranks fourth on the squad with nine runs scored and is fifth with a .329 slugging percentage.

Senior infielder Connor Callery (Covington, Ky.) and redshirt junior catcher Nick Bredeson (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) are both taking advantage of increased playing time for the Bobcats in 2017.

Callery has started 16 of the 17 games he's played in this year, ranking third on the squad with a .302 batting average. Bredeson has made nine starts in 12 games played, ranking fourth on the team with a .263 batting average. His three doubles are good for third on the team.

Mike McGuire is in his fifth year as head coach of the Eagles. Morehead State was picked to finish fifth in the 2017 Ohio Valley Conference Preseason Poll.

The Eagles took two of three games against OVC foe Belmont last weekend in Nashville, running their conference record to 5-1. Morehead State claimed a 4-3 victory on Friday (March 17) and a 6-5 victory Saturday. The Eagles fell in the series finale, 4-2.

Senior outfielder Will Schneider -- a 2017 Preseason All-OVC Team pick -- is leading Morehead State with a .432 batting average over 19 games. He has collected a team-high 32 hits. Junior infielder Braxton Morris has driven in a team-high 20 runs and sports a team-best .721 slugging percentage. Sophomore outfielder Niko Hulsizer has belted a team-high four home runs and is second on the team with 17 RBIs. Morris and Hulsizer are tied with Schneider for the team lead with seven doubles.

Ohio will face senior right-hander Luke Humphreys on the mound. Humphreys is 1-1 in three appearances and claims an ERA of 8.22 in 7.2 innings of work. He has allowed seven earned runs on five hits and has struck out six and walked eight batters.

Ohio and Morehead State meet for the fifth time since Smith took over as head coach of the Bobcats, with Ohio coming away with three wins in the previous four matchups. The Bobcats swept the 2016 season series from the Eagles, recording a 15-3 victory at The Wren on April 19, then posting a 5-3 win at Morehead State on May 3. The two squads are scheduled to meet again on May 2 at Allen Field in Bowling Green, Ky.

Ohio wraps up the current homestand with a three-game series against Butler this weekend at The Wren. The series opener is scheduled for Friday (March 24) at 6 p.m. ET. The Saturday (March 25) matchup is slated for a 3 p.m. ET start while the Sunday (March 26) series finale is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. ET. The Bobcats and the Bulldogs met on the opening weekend of the 2017 season in Lexington, S.C. Butler posted a 15-4 win on Feb. 18, but Ohio responded with a 4-0 victory the following day.