Photo Cred: Karli Bell

OU Baseball Moves on in MAC Championships

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The No. 5-seeded Ohio baseball team (28-26) came out with a 4-3 win over No. 4-seeded Ball State (30-27) in the 2017 Mid-American Conference Championship opener on Wednesday (May 24) at Sprenger Stadium.

Ohio has improved to 7-1 all-time against the Cardinals in league tournament play and is now 4-0 against Ball State after sweeping them early in the regular season back in April.

Senior right fielder Spencer Ibarra recorded his team-high 23rd multi-hit game of the year and team-high 10th with multiple RBIs. He collected a career-high five singles along with five of Ohio’s seven recorded hits; his final RBI base hit in the top of the ninth inning won the game for the Bobcats.

After overcoming an early deficit in the game as Ball State jumped to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first, Ohio tied it up in the fifth inning and then eventually taking a 2-1 lead in the sixth.

Senior catcher Anthony Mrosla led off with a double down followed with a single from Ibarra and sophomore first baseman Rudy Rott getting walked. Redshirt junior designated hitter Michael Klein tied the game by drawing a walk to send Mrosla home. In the following inning, Mrosla drew a two-out walk, move to second when senior shortstop Tyler Finkler was hit by a pitch, and then score on a RBI single from Ibarra.

Ohio went into the seventh with a 2-1 lead but Ball State did not take long to tie it up after collecting a run with Senior pitcher Jake Rudnicki on the mound.

However, the Bobcats fought back and managed to jump up to a 3-2 lead in the top of the eighth. Ibarra led off with a single then advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by senior second baseman Ty Black. He was then moved to third on a wild pitch after Rott was given an intentional walk and with one out later, Ibarra scored on another wild pitch. However, this lead would soon be tied by the Cardinals in the bottom of the eighth.

The Bobcats continued their fight in the top of the ninth at bat. Junior left filder Evan Bourn and Mrosla drew back-to-back walks. Mrosla was relieved by freshman pinch runner Jack Longo, who scored the go-ahead run on a two-out TBI single from Ibarra, putting Ohio in the lead 4-3.

Redshirt junior left-handed starting pitcher Gerry Salisbury went 6.1 innings on the mound for Ohio, striking out eight to match his career high and only allowing two runs on five hits and two walks.

Redshirt junior right-handed closer Jake Roehn collected the victory on the mound for the Bobcats, striking out three while giving up one hit and a walk over two innings to improve to 4-4 on the season.

Ohio will advance to the winner’s bracket of the MAC Championship to take on No. 1-seeded Kent State on Thursday (May 25) in a night game starting at 8 p.m. at Sprenger Stadium.