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ATHENS, Ohio -- The Ohio baseball team (25-25, 11-10 MAC) closes out the regular season with a three-game home series at Bob Wren Stadium against Mid-American Conference East Division Rival Kent State (34-14, 17-4). Game one is set for Thursday (May 18) with first pitch scheduled for 6 p.m. The final two games are scheduled for Friday (May 19) with first pitch scheduled for 3 p.m. and closing it out on Saturday (May 20) with Senior Day, first pitch scheduled for 1 p.m.
'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.
Saturday (May 20) will be Senior Day for the Ohio baseball team. The team will honor 11 seniors, Christian Botter, Ty Black, Connor Callery, Tom Colletti, Tyler Finkler, Spencer Ibarra, Matt Mikolajczak, Anthony Mrosla, Jake Rudnicki, Brian Schiemann, and Mateus Vaduka, in a pregame ceremony.
Thursday (May 18) will be Fan Appreciation Raffle Night, with the t-shirt Friday (May 19) seeing its last iteration of the season. On Saturday (May 20) there will be an equipment surplus sale from 10-2.
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS
Thursday: Ohio TBD vs. Kent State Jr. LHP #31 Eli Kraus | Gametracker
Friday: Ohio TBD vs. Kent State TBD | Gametracker
Saturday: Ohio TBD vs Kent State So. RHP #30 Joey Murray | Gametracker
BOBCATS RETURN TO MAC CHAMPIONSHIP
With the sweep of the Bulls, the Bobcats have clinched their spot in the 2017 MAC Championship. The top eight teams will qualify for the double elimination 2017 MAC Championship, which is set to be held May 24-28 at Sprenger Stadium in Avon, Ohio.
COLLETTI NAMED MAC EAST DIVISION PITCHER OF THE WEEK
Ohio baseball senior right-handed starting pitcher Tom Colletti (Wheaton, Ill.) has been named the Mid-American Conference East Division Pitcher of the Week, as announced by the league office on Monday (May 8).
Colletti earns weekly conference honors for the first time in his career. Ohio has received four MAC East Division Pitcher of the Week nods this season. Colletti put together a masterful performance on the mound to help the Ohio baseball team (25-25, 11-10 MAC) secure a 3-0 shutout of Mid-American Conference East Division rival Buffalo (16-31, 8-13 MAC) on Sunday (May 14) at Audubon Field in Amherst, N.Y. The Bobcats achieved their second conference series sweep of the 2017 season with the win. Ohio took the Friday (May 12) series opener from the Bulls, 5-3, and clinched their fourth MAC series win of the 2017 season thanks to a 12-1 rout on Saturday (May 13). With the sweep of Buffalo, Ohio also clinched a berth in the double elimination 2017 MAC Championship, which will be held May 24-28 at Sprenger Stadium in Avon, Ohio. Colletti tossed six scoreless frames in Sunday's shutout, fanning six while allowing just three hits and two walks. He earned the win on the mound to improve to 3-2 on the year. Colletti has made 24 appearances on the mound in 2017, which is tied for the team lead, and has struck out 42 over 47.0 innings of work.
OHIO DROPS FINAL MIDWEEK GAME OF 2017 TO MARSHALL
Ohio was defeated by longtime rival Marshall, 5-2, in its final midweek game of the 2017 season on Tuesday (May 9) at Bob Wren Stadium.
The Thundering Herd took the season series from the Bobcats with the win. Marshall posted a 12-9 victory in Huntington, W. Va., on April 12, but the Bobcats pulled out an 11-10 win in 10 innings on April 19 in Mason, Ohio, to even the season series.
Senior second baseman Ty Black (Waynesville, Ohio) went 2-for-4 with a double, a walk and two RBIs. He has now reached base in a team season-high 23-straight games and has tallied 15 multi-hit games, which ranks fourth on the squad.
Senior third baseman Connor Callery (Covington, Ky.) extended his team season-high hitting streak to 19-straight games by going 3-for-4 with a walk.
Sophomore first baseman Rudy Rott (Holmen, Wis.) tallied a pair of singles, giving him 16 multi-hit games this year, which ranks third on the team.
BOBCATS SWEEP BULLS IN WEEKEND SERIES
Ohio earned its fourth Mid-American Conference series win of the year as it swept a three-game set from Buffalo at Audubon Park in Amherst, N.Y. The sweep of the Bulls marked the second series sweep of the season for the Bobcats. Ohio outscored Buffalo 20-4 in the series.
The Bobcats took the opening game 5-3 on Friday (May 12). Redshirt junior southpaw Gerry Salsbury (Brunswick, Ohio) led the with a quality start allowing just three runs across seven innings pitched while giving up just six hits and two free passes and striking out five Buffalo batters. Redshirt junior designated hitter Michael Klein (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) knocked in runs on a hit while Callery knocked in another run to give Ohio a 4-3 lead in the top of the third. Catcher Anthony Mrsola hit a solo bomb the next inning to give the Bobcats a 5-3 lead. The combination of redshirt junior right-handed reliever Cory Blessing (Mayfield, Ohio) and redshirt junior right-handed pitcher Jake Roehn (Sandwich, Ill.) out of the bullpen shutdown the Bulls in the final two frames seeing the duo give up no hits and Rohen picking up his 11th save of the season.
The second game (May 13) of the three-game series saw Ohio go on an offensive outburst scoring 12 runs on 18 hits in the 12-1 victory over the Bulls. The Bobcats had seven batters with multi-hit efforts, including Finkler and junior right fielder Tony Giannini (Carmel, Ind.) each having a three-hit game. Callery extended his hitting streak to a program record 21-straight games. Klein led the pitching staff giving up just one run in six innings on the hill while striking out seven.
Ohio completed the sweep with a 3-0 shutout on Sunday (May 14). The Bobcat staff combined to give up just four hits, including a solid six innings from Colletti, who struck out six batters in his six innings of work. Ohio capitalized on a pair of Buffalo errors in the top of the seventh to help cement the lead. Callery saw his program leading 21-game hit streak come to an end in the final game of the set.
ROEHN NAMED TO NCBWA 2017 STOPPER OF THE YEAR MIDSEASON WATCH LIST
Redshirt junior right-handed closer Jake Roehn (Sandwich, Ill.) has been honored as one of 40 of the top relief pitchers in college baseball to be named to the Midseason Watch List for the 13th annual National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Stopper of the Year Award, as announced by members of the association on April 26.
Roehn is one of 16 of the 40 players who were on the preseason watch list released on Feb. 13 and is the lone representative from the MAC.
Roehn has made 22 appearances out of the bullpen in 2017, sporting a 3-4 record with a 2.06 ERA and 38 strikeouts over 35.0 innings of work. He has allowed just eight earned runs on 31 hits and 12 walks.
Roehn threw the final three frames for Ohio to secure a 17-13 victory at Western Michigan for the Bobcats and nail down his career-high 10th save of the season, which currently leads the MAC, ranks 25th in the NCAA and ranks as the second-most in a single season in program history. He struck out three while allowing one earned run on three hits. His 17 career saves are tied for the second-most in program history.
In MAC play, Roehn sports a 1.26 ERA with four saves and has struck out 11 while giving up just two earned runs on 14 hits and four walks over 14.1 innings.
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.
Texas hurler J. Brent Cox won the inaugural Stopper of the Year Award in 2005, with Don Czyz of Kansas claiming the honor in 2006 and Luke Prihoda of Sam Houston State winning it in 2007. Georgia's Joshua Fields topped the field in 2008, San Diego State's Addison Reed grabbed the honor in 2009 and Texas' Chance Ruffin earned the honor in 2010. The Longhorns' Corey Knebel won in 2011, with Southeastern Louisiana's Stefan Lopez picking up the honor in 2012. UCLA's David Berg was crowned the winner in 2013, Louisville's Nick Burdi took home the 2014 honor and Berg became the award's first two-time winner in 2015. Miami (Fla.)'s Bryan Garcia was honored as the 2016 recipient.
The NCBWA, founded in 1962, presents the Dick Howser Trophy to the nation's top player. It also selects All-America Teams for all Divisions, a Division I Freshman All-American team, Division I, II and III Players of the Week and Division I, II and III Players of the Year.
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.
IBARRA OFF TO STRONG START
Through 50 games in 2017, Ibarra leads the Bobcats with a .580 slugging percentage (fourth-best in the MAC), a .407 on-base percentage, 68 hits, a tied for the MAC-lead with 12 home runs and 41 runs scored. He is also tied for second with 19 walks and leads the team with a .332 batting average He has tallied a team-high 22 multi-hit games and has totaled eight multi-RBI contests, which is tied for the team lead.
In MAC play, Ibarra is hitting .345 with a .609 slugging percentage and a .449 on-base percentage and has tallied 30 hits (leads the team) -- including nine doubles (first on the team), a triple and four home runs (second on the team). He has driven 14 runs while scoring a team-high 20 in league play.
Ibarra has been named MAC East Division Player of the Week twice in 2017, with his most recent honor coming on April 4. He helped Ohio start MAC play 3-0 for the first time since 1997 with his effort at the plate, leading the Bobcats in batting average (.462), slugging percentage (.615), hits (6), doubles (2) and runs scored (4). He also drove in three runs. Ibarra opened the week by going 3-for-4 in a 3-0 loss at Ohio State on March 28 in Columbus. He then went 2-for-3 with two doubles, an RBI and a run scored in the 6-4 win over Ball State in the opening game of a doubleheader on April 1. Ibarra finished the series by going 1-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored in a 7-4 win in the second game of the twin bill, then going 1-for-2 with a pair of stolen bases in the 10-0 blowout of the Cardinals in the finale on April 2 that clinched the series sweep for the Bobcats.
Ohio's 0.966 team fielding percentage ranks eighth in the nation entering this weekend's series. The Bobcats have committed just 34 errors in 50 games.
STRENGTH IN ARMS
Ohio has established itself as one of the top pitching staffs in the MAC in 2017. The Bobcats own a 4.37 team ERA, which is third-best in the league. Ohio also ranks second in walks allowed per nine innings (4.03), third in strikeouts per nine innings (8.2) and fourth in hits allowed per nine innings (9.02).
Ohio's pitching staff has recorded five shutout victories 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. Klein is 4-2 with a 3.38 ERA and is tied for third on the team with 49 strikeouts over 53.1 innings. He has given up just 20 earned runs and 20 walks. Junior left-hander Butch Baird (Big Prairie, Ohio) sports a 4-3 record, fanning a team-high 55 batters over 63.1 innings, which ranks second on the squad. 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, 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. Salisbury is tied with Baird for the team lead 53 strikeouts and has thrown a team-high 67.2 innings on the mound.
Moving to the bullpen after spending the last three seasons as a starting pitcher, senior right-hander Jake Rudnicki (Toledo, Ohio) is fifth on the squad with 47 strikeouts over 36.0 innings of relief. He was named MAC East Division Pitcher of the Week for the first time in 2017 and second time in his career on April 24. He helped Ohio finish with three victories in four games two weeks ago with his performance out of the bullpen, going 2-0 with four strikeouts while allowing just six hits, four walks and no runs over three appearances and 4.2 innings of work. Rudnicki threw one scoreless inning of relief on April 19 in an 11-10 win in 10 innings over longtime rival Marshall at Prasco Park in Mason, Ohio, fanning two while giving up a hit and a walk. On April 21, he picked up his first victory on the mound of the 2017 season in a 9-5 triumph over MAC East Division archrival Miami at Bob Wren Stadium, striking out one while surrendering just three hits and two walks in 1.2 frames. Rudnicki improved to 2-3 on the year by earning the win on the mound in the Sunday (April 23) series finale -- a 3-2 win that allowed the Bobcats to clinch the weekend series from the RedHawks. He struck out one while giving up two hits and a walk in two scoreless frames of relief. Blessing has fanned 49 in 22 appearances and 38.1 innings, ranking tied for third on the team in strikeouts. Mikolajczak has made 23 relief appearances and sports a 2.82 ERA. Sophomore right-hander Kenny Ogg (Indianapolis, Ind.) is tied for the conference lead with 24 appearances out of the bullpen while senior righty Tom Colletti (Wheaton, Ill.) has made 24 appearances, which is tied for second in the league. Colletti has notched 42 strikeouts in 47.0 innings of work.
KLEIN DOES IT ALL
In addition to serving one of the three arms in Ohio's weekend rotation, Klein ranks third on the team in slugging percentage (.486), home runs (6) and RBIs (30), fourh in batting average (.302), tied for third in doubles (9), tied for fourth in runs scored (28) and fifth hits (54).
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).
RU-DY, RU-DY, RU-DY
Rott 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.
Through 50 games in 2017, Rott leads the leads the Bobcats in RBIs (44; fifth in the MAC) and doubles (14), is tied for the team lead in walks (21), ranks second in slugging percentage (.525), on-base percentage (.391), hits (61), home runs (10) and runs scored (35) and third in batting average (.305). He ranks third on the team with 16 multi-hit games and is tied for the team lead with eight multi-RBI games.
In MAC play, Rott is hitting at a .310 clip with a .598 slugging percentage and a .390 on base percentage. He ranks third on the squad with 27 hits -- including a team-high six home runs -- and has drive in a team-high 32 runs while scoring 17.
Rott was named MAC East Division Player of the Week for the first time in his career on April 17 after putting together a monster week at the plate for Ohio, batting .429 with a team-best 1.190 slugging percentage and recording a team-high nine hits -- including a team-high five home runs -- to go along with a team-high 13 RBIs and seven runs scored, which tied for the team lead. Rott opened the week by going 2-for-4 with a walk and a run scored on April 11 in a 6-5 victory at Youngstown State. The following day at Marshall, he tallied his second home run of the season. Rott then came up with two huge performances in the final two games of a three-game set at MAC West Division foe Eastern Michigan. On April 15, he went 3-for-5 with a pair of home runs and six RBIs. Rott closed the week out by providing the Bobcats with three hits -- including a pair of home runs -- and driving in six runs for the second game in a row in the April 16 series finale.
Rott was named MAC East Division Player of the Week for a second time on Monday (May 8) after putting together another strong week at the plate to help Ohio take the series from Bowling Green last weekend. He tied for the team lead with nine hits -- including a team-high three doubles and three home runs -- and drove in a team-high 12 runs. He posted a whopping 1.105 slugging percentage to go along with a .474 batting average and a .500 on-base percentage.
LOOKING TO FINISH STRONG
A four-year starter for the Bobcats, Black is looking to finish his career at Ohio on a high note. He is fourth on the squad with 53 hits -- including nine doubles, which ranks tied for fourth on the team and three home runs, which ranks tied for fourth on the team. He is also third on the team with 30 runs scored, tied for second with 19 walks, ranks fifth with a .371 slugging percentage and a .356 on-base percentage and fifth with a .273 batting average and 23 RBIs.
In conference play, Black is batting .295 with a .455 slugging percentage and a .392 on-base percentage. He has logged 26 hits in MAC play -- including six doubles (third on the team), a triple and two home runs. He ranks tied for fourth with 11 RBIs and second with 19 runs scored.
TAKING ADVANTAGE OF THEIR OPPORTUNITIES
Callery 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 45 of the 46 games he's played in this year, leading the team with a .339 batting average (eighth in the MAC) and ranking third with a .389 on-base percentage and 57 hits and fifth with a .375 slugging percentage. He has hit safely in each of the last 19 games, which currently leads the team, and has tallied 16 multi-hit efforts, which ranks second on the squad. If Callery hits safely in his next game, he will match the program record of 20-straight games with a hit set by then-redshirt senior catcher Cody Gaertner in 2016. Moving into the role of starting third baseman this year, Callery has committed just six errors at the hot corner and owns a .942 fielding percentage. In conference play, Callery is batting a team-best .361 with a team-high 26 hits. Bredeson has made 24 starts in 35 games played, ranking fifth in doubles (7).
Three other Bobcats were called upon to step up in the absence of other players due to injuries during the month of April -- senior catcher Anthony Mrosla (Coon Rapids, Minn.), junior outfielder Evan Bourn (Overland Park, Kan.) and freshman catcher Tanner Piechnick (Canonsburg, Pa.). Mrosla made 10 starts in April, tallying 11 hits. Bourn started six games, totaling six hits. Piechnick logged 15 hits -- including four doubles and a triple -- in seven starts.
THREAT TO STEAL
Senior infielder Tyler Finkler (Olmsted Falls, Ohio) has stolen 15 bases in 17 attempts in 2017 to set a new career high.
Finkler ranks fourth on the team in both RBIs (25) and tied for fourth in runs scored (28). Defensively, he owns a .976 fielding percentage and has logged a team-high 158 assists.
Rob Smith is in his fifth season at the helm of the Bobcats. Ohio won 23 games during 2016 season. Smith has won 106 games at Ohio and led the Bobcats to a MAC tournament title and an NCAA Championship berth in 2015.
The Bobcats have totaled 52 MAC victories during Smith's tenure as head coach.
OHIO PICKED THIRD IN MAC EAST
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.
SCOUTING KENT STATE
The Bobcats have taken two of the last six games from the Golden Flashes and
Ohio dropped its three tilts against Kent State last season. The Bobcats were held scoreless in a double header on April 23, 5-0 and 6-0, and fell in a one run ballgame 6-5 in the final game of the series on April 24.
Kent State has only lost four conference games this season and have won 8 of its last 10 games.
Jeff Duncan is wrapping up his 3rd season as head coach of the Golden Flashes.
Redshirt senior outfielder Luke Burch leads Kent State in batting average (.368), hits (71) and on-base percentage (.452) while being second in slugging percentage (.503). Junior infielder Dylan Rosa leads the Golden Flash offense leading the team with 38 runs batted in and nine homeruns. Kraus, who is the probable starter for the opening game, is 7-2 with a 2.49 earned-run average in 12 starts with 61 strikeouts.
Ohio turns its sights on the 2017 MAC Championship in Avon, Ohio, which is set to take place May 24-28.