Updated Thu, Apr 10, 2014 9:42 pm
On March 28, the Ohio Bobcats ended a season-high nine-game losing streak with a 5-3 victory over the Western Michigan Broncos. After that victory, the schedule has been littered with the letter “L” ever since, as the Bobcats currently find themselves in the middle of a seven-game losing streak.
The Bobcats had a good chance to end their slide on Wednesday with their game at Marshall, but the Herd stunned the ‘Cats with a walk-off win in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Ohio (5-24, 1-8) will get three chances to end its streak this weekend, when it travels to Akron for a three-game series with the No. 2 team in the MAC East, the Akron Zips (16-14, 6-3 MAC), who have won nine of their last 13 games.
The Zips offense is a solid group that averages just over five runs per game and currently has a collective .268 batting average, which ranks towards the top of the MAC in those categories.
Two players to watch on the Zips offense are the outfielder tandem of Devan Ahart and Joey Havrilak, who both carry .300-plus batting averages this season. Havrilak leads the team with a .315 average and 18 RBIs and is tied for the team lead in home runs (3) and runs scored (21). Ahart isn’t far behind with a .313 average, three home runs, 15 RBIs, and leads the team with 15 stolen bases.
Much like the Bobcats, the Zips pitching staff is young and features nine freshmen and sophomores, including three of the five starting pitchers. However, unlike the Bobcats, the Zips staff has put up good numbers from top to bottom.
Collectively, the Zips have a 4.24 ERA, and average around five and a half strikeouts per contest.
In the Ohio dugout, the Bobcats will simply be looking for steps in the right direction if they want to break their losing streak. The ‘Cats were swept the previous weekend by Kent State, losing the three games by a total of 34-6. It was a series that saw every aspect of the team struggle, from the starting pitching to the offense.
Two positives for the Bobcats have been the increased production from both first baseman Jake Madsen and catcher Nick Bredeson, who have found their rhythm at the plate. Madsen has posted a .432 average and five RBI over the Bobcats’ last 10 games, while Bredeson has posted a .303 average over the same period to raise his season average over the Mendoza line (.213).
The series features all day games during the weekend, as Friday’s game begins at 3 p.m., and then follows up with both Saturday and Sunday’s games scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. each at Lee R. Jackson field in Akron.
Projected Pitching Matchup:
Friday: LHP John Valek (2-2, 2.76 ERA) vs. RHP Jake Roehn (2-4, 4.73 ERA)
Saturday: RHP JT Brubaker (2-2, 4.41 ERA) vs. RHP Jake Rudnicki (2-1, 4.03 ERA)
Sunday: RHP Myles McVeigh (1-1, 1.77 ERA) vs. RHP Connor Sitz (0-7, 6.12 ERA)