Ohio Hosts St. Bonaventure For Home Opener Friday

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On Friday night, the gates to Bob Wren Stadium will unlock for the first time in 2014, as the Ohio Bobcats begin a 4-game series with the St. Bonaventure Bonnies.

Ohio wrapped up its month-long trek throughout the southeast of the United States last weekend, losing three of four to the Longwood Lancers, dropping the ‘Cats to a disappointing 4-9 start.

The Bonnies (1-8) come into Athens on a high note, as they won their first game of the season the last time out, defeating Lehigh by a score of 6-4 on March 3 and ending a streak of eight-consecutive losses to begin the season.

The big issue for the Bonnies this season has been their lack of offense. As of March 13, the Bonnies’ team batting average is an abysmal .218, while scoring an average of just two runs per game. This could bode well for a steadily-improving Ohio pitching staff to build some more consistency against the struggling offense of the Bonnies.

The only consistent part of the Bonnies’ offense has been catcher Dylan Dunn, who leads the team with a .364 batting average and eight RBIs. After Dunn, the highest batting average belongs to designated hitter Joel Rosencrance at .286.

Speaking of Rosencrance, he happens to also one of the Bonnies’ best starting pitchers on top of being a top offensive player. In 2013, Rosencrance led the team in most offensive categories, such as batting average (.305), home runs (4), and RBIs (26), while also sporting a 4-4 record with a 4.09 ERA in nine starts. So far in 2014, Rosencrance is 1-1 with a 3.07 ERA and 16 strikeouts in two starts on the mound.

In the Ohio dugout, the Bobcats will try to jump-start an offense that mustered just three runs in the three losses against Longwood last weekend. The consistent piece for the Bobcats has still been the fantastic freshman, Mitch Longo, who carries a .451 average, 12 RBIs, and has scored seven runs in Ohio’s 13 games.

Freshman starting pitchers Jake Roehn and Jake Rudnicki will look to continue their early success into the weekend, as well. In Roehn’s last two starts, he has given up just two runs on nine hits in 14 1/3 innings pitched, along with 18 strikeouts. Rudnicki has given up just three runs in his three starts this season, and currently leads the pitching staff with two wins so far.

The series begins at 6 p.m. on Friday night, weather permitting, and then the two teams play a doubleheader on Saturday with the first game beginning at 1 p.m. The series wraps up on Sunday at 12 p.m.

Probable Pitchers

Friday: Jake Roehn (1-2, 3.27 ERA) vs. Joel Rosencrance (1-1, 3.07 ERA)

Saturday: Jake Miller (0-1, 11.25 ERA) vs. Steven Klimek (0-2, 3.46 ERA)

Saturday: Jake Rudnicki (2-0, 2.70 ERA) vs. Asa Johnson (0-1, 1.46 ERA)

Sunday: Connor Sitz (0-3, 3.46 ERA) vs. Connor Grey (0-2, 5.79 ERA)