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Ohio Baseball Eliminated From MAC Tournament Contention

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The defending Mid-American Conference Champion Ohio Bobcats (22-27) suffered two losses at the hands of the Western Michigan Broncos (17-29) over the weekend in Kalamazoo. With the losses and because of other league results, Ohio did not qualify for the 2016 MAC Championship.

Friday’s game was all Western Michigan. The Broncos outhit the Bobcats 14-5.

Manny De Jesus led the ‘Cats and finished 2-4 with a double.

Michael Klein got the start on the hill for Ohio. He took the loss falling to 3-3 on the year. Klein struck out two while allowing six earned runs on 12 hits over six innings.

Western Michigan received a complete-game effort from starting pitcher Keegan Akin, who struck out eight and allowed five hits over nine scoreless frames of work.

The Broncos got on the board early in the first inning. Following back-to-back singled by Nick Vogelmeier and Connor Smith, Grant Miller drove in both with a triple to right field to give WMU a 2-0 lead.

Akin retired the next 13 Bobcat batters he faced. Western Michigan tacked on a run in the fourth to push the lead to 3-0.

WMU scored three in the sixth inning. A sacrifice fly by Mitchell Ho and then a two-run double to left field by Nate Grys extended the lead to 6-0 and a first game series win.

Game Two started out all Ohio. De Jesus got the game started with a single and Ty Black reached on an error. Reigning MAC Player of the Year, Mitch Longo, came up to bat and hit his second home run of the year to right field. Ohio added two more runs, increasing their lead 5-0 before the Broncos even had a chance to respond.

WMU cut the lead  to four runs with a run in the bottom half of the first. But the big inning was the bottom of the third for the Broncos. They crossed the plate seven times, to take an 8-5 lead and never let it go.

Twelve batters came to the plate and the first seven batters reached base. The Broncos added another run in the fourth and two more in the fifth.

Ohio cut the lead to 9-7 in the fifth. RBI singles from Spencer Ibarra and John Adryan gave the Bobcats a potential chance to even up the series.

However, WMU sealed the win with three more runs in the seventh inning off four hits.

The loss for Ohio not only secured the series win for WMU, but because of Ohio’s losses and Central Michigan’s win over Miami, the Bobcats did not qualify for the 2016 MAC Championship and will not be able to defend their title.

Even if Ohio wins all of their remaining games, Western Michigan, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan and Toledo all hold the tiebreakers over the Bobcats.

In the series finale though, Ohio took care of business and beat the Broncos 7-5.

Rudy Rott got the scoring started for the Bobcats with a single up the middle. The Broncos and Bobcats traded runs in the bottom of the third and top of the fourth. The game was 2-1 Bobcats until the top of the seventh when Ohio crossed the plate twice on Cody Gaertner’s fourth home run of the season.

Ohio sealed the victory with a three run ninth inning.

Mitch Longo launched a solo shot to center field. Third baseman Adryan came to the plate and hit a 2 RBI triple to right field.

WMU countered the Bobcats top of the ninth with three runs of their own, but were unable to tie or retake the lead.

Ohio welcomes rival Miami to Bob Wren for the final series of the regular season. First pitch for game one is set 6 p.m. Thursday night.