Updated Thu, Mar 27, 2014 2:24 pm
The Ohio Bobcats once again struggled to piece together a complete nine innings, as they committed three errors, walked 10, and gave up 11 hits in an 11-4 losing effort against the Youngstown State Penguins Wednesday afternoon.
The Penguins had 21 total base runners, nearly half of which make it there without having to do much work at the plate. The Bobcats allowed 10 walks, which gave the Penguins a plethora of chances to build an insurmountable lead. Four of the base runners that Youngstown State received through walks ended up crossing home plate.
“Walks, lots of walks. You look on the scoreboard and they have 11 runs on 11 hits. They had one extra base hit today and scored 11 runs,” Ohio head coach Rob Smith said about the pitching struggles. “This losing streak will continue if we continue to walk batters at the rate that we’re doing.”
Both teams struggled to hit with runners in scoring position, but Ohio’s stranded base runners suffocated its offense. In the seventh inning, the ‘Cats trailed 6-2 with Scott White coming in to pinch-hit with the bases loaded and two outs. White grounded out to third, stranding three runners and ending a great opportunity for Ohio to quickly recover from its pitching woes.
“You just hope you have your best, most competitive at-bats in those situations,” Smith said in reference to the amount of runners on base. “When you’ve got men on base, you hope that someone can step up and get a hit and we have just not been able to do that here of late.”
“We’ll break through with that, hopefully we continue to get base runners on, you know somebody will come up with that big hit when we need it and we will put some runs on the board,” Smith said.
Jake Miller got the starting nod for the fourth time this year. Miller looked impressive his first time through the Youngstown State lineup and through the fourth inning, but was pulled in the fifth inning when he loaded the bases on two walks and a double with no outs. The Bobcats ended up using eight pitchers from the bullpen to finish off the final five innings.
Ohio’s leadoff hitters continue to be the majority of the offensive production, as Mitch Longo, Garrett Black, and Jake Madsen combined for seven hits. They also knocked in three of the four runs for Ohio.
The Bobcats also committed three errors extending their streak to 10 consecutive games with an error.
As the Penguins took to the field in the first inning, starting right fielder Kris Moules seemed to roll his ankle. He went down immediately and was replaced by Jason Shirley. Shirley proved his worth early and often as he went 3-for-4 at the plate with three RBIs.
The Penguins also went fairly deep into their pen after starter Brendon Shoemake was pulled following the second inning. Shoemake gave up an unearned run after an error by shortstop Sean Willoughby. Youngstown State never had a pitcher throw for more than two innings.
The loss drops Ohio to 4-17 on the year and extends their losing streak to nine games. The ‘Cats have another three-game home series coming up this weekend against conference rival Western Michigan. The series was originally scheduled to be played in Kalamazoo, but was moved to Bob Wren Stadium due to poor field conditions at Western Michigan’s campus.