Ohio Baseball Ends Skid Against Toledo

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The Ohio Bobcats baseball team’s bats came alive Saturday afternoon in the first game of a double header with Toledo, giving the ‘Cats a 9-3 win. The victory, the Bobcats’ fourth on the season, ended Ohio’s eight game losing streak.

Toledo led 3-0 in the bottom of the fifth and starter Kyle Slack (1-2) had only given up one hit heading into the inning when Ohio third baseman Ben Otto came up to bat to lead off. Otto led off the inning with a double to left field to spark a five-run inning that gave Ohio the lead.

Dan Schmidt was hit by a pitch and Nate Squires followed up with a single to right to load the bases. Nick Squires lined a ball into right field driving in Otto and knocking Slack out of the game. Toledo turned to right-hander Cameron Palmer for relief, but he walked three batters and gave up a single before finally getting out of the inning. By then the damage was done and Ohio never relinquished the lead and starter Marck Paliotto picked up his first win on the season (1-4).

The ‘Cats struggled defensively early in the game leading to three runs in the first four innings for the Rockets. Tyler Grogg led off the game for Toledo, getting on after an error by Dan Schmidt, his first of two in the game. Matt Delewiski followed it up with a liner to left field advancing Grogg to third. Rockets centerfielder Ben Hammer then drove Grogg in on a sacrifice fly to center, giving them a 1-0 lead.

The struggles continued in the second as Rockets right fielder Andy Mix reached base on an error by Ben Otto. Despite the less than stellar defense, Paliatto got out of the inning unscathed. In the third inning Toledo added another run to the board giving them the 2-0 lead. With the bases loaded, designated hitter Anthony Smith drove in Delewiski on a sacrifice fly to center field. Paliotto worked his way out of the jam, though, only giving up the one run.

The Rockets tacked on a third run in the fourth after Grogg was walked and made it to second on a throwing error by Ohio catcher Cody Gaertner, his first of the season. Hammer drove in Grogg two batters later putting Toledo up 3-0 on the team’s second unearned run of the game.

The ‘Cats failed to do anything offensively in the first four innings but the pitching was much better for the team. Paliotto went five strong, giving up just one earned run and lowering his ERA to 4.58 on the season. He was pulled for reliever Sean Kennedy (2-2, 5.06 ERA) after Ohio’s monster fifth inning. He gave up an infield single to second baseman Deion Tansel to lead off the inning, but picked him off at first moments later. Grogg popped out and Delewiski lined a hard earned double to left field but Kennedy forced a Hammer groundout to end the inning.

The ‘Cats tacked on three more runs to take an 8-3 lead in the sixth on an RBI double by Jake Madsen and two-run slam to leftfield by leftfielder Scott White. White finished the game going 2-for-4 with two RBI’s. Madsen improved his already impressive batting average to .357 going 2-for-3 with two RBI’s and two walks.

Kennedy was a force for Ohio, shutting out the Rockets in the final four innings. He struck out Smith in the seventh on a wicked curve that had the crowd aweing. The ‘Cats scored their final run of the game in the bottom of the ninth on a sacrifice fly by Tyler Wells bringing in Madsen. Wells went 1-for-3 on the night with two RBI’s, making it the 13th straight game he’s reached base safely for Ohio

In the ninth the Rockets had one final shot to get the win and with the top of the order up to bat they had a decent shot. Grogg led off, reaching first on a fielding error by Schmidt. Delewiski lined out to center field, and Hammer then hit a single to left advancing Grogg to second. With two on and one out, Kennedy induced a 5-4-3 double play to end the game giving Ohio the win in the first part of a double header.