Rob Smith Wins First Series As Ohio Baseball’s Head Coach

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A single, a hit by pitch, a bunt and error left the bases loaded with no outs for Garrett Black. The ‘Cats shortstop had made wonderful defensive stops all game and came through in the clutch one more time as he roped a walk-off single into left field in the 10th. The run gave Ohio a 7-6 victory over the Eastern Michigan Eagles and back-to-back wins for the first time this season.

It also clinched the first series win for Ohio under head coach Rob Smith.

“This is real big.” Black said after the game. “We’ve been struggling all season and we’ve been doing pretty well at the plate, so this is just a step forward to where we want to be. Hopefully we can continue this along through the rest of the season and hopefully for the future.”

Ohio seemed to have everything going its way early. In the fifth inning John Adryan smoked a three-run triple off of the wall in center, clearing the bases and giving Ohio a 6-1 lead. He finished the game 2 for 4.  

It wasn’t all a cakewalk for the ‘Cats, as they let Eastern Michigan creep back into the game as the Eagles tallied one run in the fourth, two in the sixth, and one in the eighth.

That all led up to the top of the ninth, when the Bobcats led 6-4 with runners on second and third base with two outs. Jake Miller was on the mound for Ohio with the Eagles’ nine-hole hitter coming to the plate. Marquise Gill cranked a single into right field scoring both runners and tying the ball game.

Black’s late-game heroics gave Ohio is a 2-0 record in extra inning affairs this season along with an 8-0 record when leading after seven innings of play.

Jake Rudnicki got the starting nod for Ohio and struggled early and often. Rudnicki allowed 14 base runners in just 5 2/3 innings pitched. Rudnicki was still able to power through any sort of trouble he faced as he only allowed three runners to cross home plate.

Walks were once again an issue for Ohio as they walked 13 total batters.

Jake Madsen hit the ball well as he produced three hits, scored a run, and increased his batting average to .327 on the year.

Not soon lost in the ‘Cats hitting parade is Ty Black who confidently pieced together four hits in five at-bats. Tyler Finkler picked up a hit along with two RBI. He laid down a superb bunt in the 10th inning to load the bases before Black stepped to the plate.

Ohio totaled 14 hits, five of which came from the bottom three spots of the order.