Podcast: Ohio Baseball In Must-Win Situation

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The long season continues to wear on the Ohio Bobcats. With 39 games complete, the Bobcats have won just 10, with five coming in conference play.

With the Mid-American Conference Tournament quickly approaching, coach Rob Smith has set the bar at 12 conference wins in order for the Bobcats to be one of the top eight teams to play in the tournament.

However, Ohio’s chances are not looking great. In 15 conference games this season, they have won five. The Bobcats will need to win seven of their next 12 to reach that goal.

There is a bright spot, though. There are four other teams in the MAC that haven’t had solid conference seasons, starting out 6-9. Western Michigan has also struggled, having the same conference record as Ohio of 5-10. The Bobcats need to at least finish with a better record than four teams in the conference in order to qualify for the tournament.

It’s a tough task, but it’s not impossible.

By only taking one-of-three against Northern Illinois last weekend, the Bobcats have yet to win a conference series, and it looks like this upcoming weekend matchup with Ball State might be their last opportunity, as the Cardinals are 17-19 on the season and 6-9 in the conference.

Like most teams, the Cardinals have one dominant pitcher. Scott Baker has a record of 8-1, with his one loss coming in a complete game where he allowed just one earned run and Ball State lost, 1-0. Baker also has a 1.82 ERA. He’s projected to pitch in Friday’s matchup against Jake Miller.

The next two projected pitching matchups are Ohio’s Marck Paliotto (2-6, 5.43 ERA) verses Ball State’s T.J. Weir (2-1, 5.47 ERA) on Saturday and Ohio’s Connor Sitz (1-6, 6.70 ERA) against Ball State’s Chris Marangon (1-3, 4.06 ERA) on Sunday.

Saturday and Sunday are two games the Bobcats can win, but of course, it won’t come easily.

The road doesn’t get any simpler for Ohio. After Ball State, Ohio’s conference schedule is against Buffalo, Bowling Green and Miami, with Bowling Green being the only home series left. Those teams are currently a combined 28-17 in the MAC.

With the MAC Tournament on the line, the Bobcats need to win a series, maybe two or three to at least have a shot at making the tournament.