Updated Tue, Apr 22, 2014 10:36 pm
The issues with the Ohio pitching staff is something that has plagued the ‘Cats throughout most of their 30 losses in the 2014 season.
Going into the Tuesday game with Morehead State, the 15-man staff had a collective 6.09 ERA, the worst in the Mid-American Conference. However, it has predominately been the bullpen where the most issues arise, as the 10-man bullpen came in with an 8.92 ERA and had allowed 135 runs from the sixth inning on in the 36 games this season.
The issues continued on Tuesday night, except this time, it was the starting pitching that fell apart.
Ohio’s (6-31, 2-13 MAC) freshman starter Gerry Salisbury allowed nine runs and 10 hits in 4.1 innings on the mound, as Morehead State (22-18, 10-8 Ohio Valley Conference) throttled Ohio with a final score of 12-4 at Bob Wren Stadium in Athens.
“It’s very frustrating,” Ohio coach Rob Smith said. “We had hoped to have these issues with our pitching by this point in the season.”
The back end of the bullpen did have one of its better outings in recent weeks, though, as Logan Cozart, Cory Wells, Christian Botter and Sean Kennedy combined to allow just one run and one hit in their four innings of relief.
Even though the final score suggests a blowout, this game was close through the first few innings. The two teams were locked in a 4-4 tie until the fifth inning, when the Eagles used a strong offensive output behind seven hits to push across seven runs in the inning, shooting the Eagles into an 11-4 lead over Ohio.
As the Eagles’ offense flourished, the Ohio offense scuffled from that point on.
After scoring all four of its runs in the first three innings of the game, Ohio’s offense managed only one hit in the final seven innings and never worked runners past second base. Designated Hitter Taylor Emody produced two hits in the game to lead the team, which raises his batting average over the .200 mark for the first time this season.
A noticeable absence for the Bobcats was leadoff hitter and star centerfielder Mitch Longo. The freshman, who leads Ohio with a .346 average and 16 RBIs, missed his second consecutive game after suffering an ankle injury while sliding into home plate during Ohio’s game against Toledo on Saturday.
In place of Longo at the top of the batting order, shortstop Garrett Black had a solid game for Ohio, reaching base in two of his four plate appearances and scoring two of Ohio’s four runs in the game.
Smith did say after the game that the X-rays taken Sunday on Longo’s ankle came back negative, and that he hopes to be ready and back on the field for Ohio’s upcoming weekend series at home against Eastern Michigan.