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Photo: Logan Riely
Photo: Logan Riely

Wells the Hero in Win Over Marshall

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Knotted at 8-8 with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning, Tyler Wells took the batters’ box with the bases loaded. With a long swing the Bobcats’ left fielder swatted a pitch to the dead center that bounced off the wall, cleared the bases and gave the Green and White an 11-8 win over the Marshall Thundering Herd on Wednesday.

With runners on the corners, Marshall (7-16) opted to walk Jake Madsen to get to Wells. Ohio’s (13-9, 1-2) hero was nervous to start, but once his nerves calmed down, he made the visitors pay.

“They came at me with a fast ball to start, then they were throwing me some off-speed [pitches],” Wells said about the at bat. “It got to two strikes and they gave me some off-speed … I was sitting fast ball away and he happened to put one right down the middle. I put a good swing on it and I was really happy when the centerfielder didn’t catch it.”

Marshall’s outfield was playing in for the at bat, after playing Wells deep for most of the night. The long run back aided the ball in dropping to the warning track.

Down 8-5 in the fifth, Marshall reliever Kolin Stanley was ejected for throwing behind Adryan. The Herd’s manager, Jeff Waggoner, was ejected for arguing his pitcher’s ejection. The throw and fiery display was a turning point for the ‘Cats.

At that point, “our mindset was we were going to win this game no matter what it took,” Wells said.

“It certainly created a little bit more competitive juices to the game and our guys handled it the right way,” Ohio manager Rob Smith said. “You handle it with your play and [we] definitely answered.”

Ohio looked to be in for a big night after the first two innings. Manny DeJesus set the tone with a leadoff single in the first, and with no outs Wells found himself at the plate with the bases loaded for the first time. He delivered in that spot, too, when he roped a double down the leftfield line to score two. Cody Gaertner gave the Bobcats a 3-0 lead with a sacrifice fly.

Ohio looked in especially good shape with the offense off to a hot start and starter Evan Geist looking strong through the first two frames. He retired the first six batters in order and got through the first inning on seven pitches.

But after just two innings and five runs later, his day was over. The senior lefty’s trouble started with a leadoff single to center. An error and hit batter loaded the bases with no outs. Geist walked in The Herd’s first run, and Sergio Leon knocked out Geist with a grand slam to left center.

Ohio responded quickly in the bottom of the inning with a two spot that tied it up. After a double off the right field wall from Madsen, a Gaertner single scored the Bobcats’ first baseman. John Adryan then grounded into a fielder’s choice to tie the game.

Marshall’s offense kept rolling in the fourth with help from the Bobcats’ defense. The Herd put three more runs on the board, and the Ohio made two defensive miscues.

The leadoff man got aboard with a Tyler Finkler’s high throw to first. With two outs a single scored the first unearned run of the inning. Another high throw – this time from Adryan – scored the second, and Josh King’s RBI double brought in the third.

With runners on the corners in the bottom half of the fourth, Nate Squires grounded out into a double play, but scored Finkler from third.

After Marshall’s ejections, Ohio put together some two-out scoring to cut the deficit to one. After the delay, two walks and Finkler put the ‘Cats behind 8-7.

Mitch Longo hit into a fielder’s choice with the bases loaded to tie the game at 8-8 for Wells.

Two games into the Bobcats’ home stand, Wells has four hits in his nine at bats, to go along with seven RBIs and a homer. This season he’s batting .355, and he leads the team with four homeruns, 24 RBI and a .592 slugging percentage.

Logan Cozart shut the door on Marshall and was the winning pitcher in the last two innings of relief. In his two frames he struck out three batters and allowed just one hit.

After losing three in a row, the Bobcats are feeling good with a big rivalry win as they are set to start a three-game series with the Western Michigan Broncos. Game one of the home series starts Friday at 4 p.m. from Bob Wren Stadium.