Photo Credit: Nick Ursini/WOUB

Ohio Baseball Defeats MAC Top-Seed Kent State

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The No. 5-seeded Ohio Baseball team (29-26) has earned a spot in the Mid-American Conference Tournament winner’s bracket final after defeating the No. 1-seeded Kent State Golden Flashes (36-17) 5-3 in a late-night matchup at Sprenger Stadium.

Ohio scored four of their five runs in the final three innings of the game, as the bats came alive when the Bobcats needed them the most. Connor “Poke” Callery may have forced the most important error of Ohio’s season in the eighth-inning. A screamer off the end of his bat was too much for the Golden Flashes to handle, bringing in the go-ahead run by Ohio second baseman Ty Black.

Ohio Catcher Nick Bredeson started the late-inning scoring run for Ohio, plating a run on a Tyler Finkler double down the left field line that tied the game at two runs apiece in the top of the seventh inning.

Enter relief pitcher Kenny Ogg.

Head Coach Rob Smith called on the sophomore to relieve Cory Blessing after one inning of work and he showed zero nerves. Back-to-back errors by his teammates didn’t make things easy on the young pitcher but he found a way out of the jam and stranded a couple of Kent State base runners in the process.

“Kenny Ogg. Young player. First time out there, he was just outstanding for us getting three outs in that situation,” Coach Smith said after the game.

Ogg secured six of the Bobcats toughest outs and handed the reins to MAC Reliever of the Year, Jake Roehn. The flamethrower gave up one run but closed the game without much trouble, sealing Ogg’s first postseason victory in the process. Ohio’s ace Michael Klein, pitched five strong innings, giving up just two runs on three hits and four walks.

MAC Pitcher of the Year Joey Murray pitched well in 6.2 innings of work, matching Klein with two runs allowed. Unfortunately for the Golden Flashes, Murray couldn’t stay on the mound all night and Ohio took full advantage.

Ty Black led Ohio at the plate, going 2-for-4 on the night with one run batted in. Meanwhile, only three other Bobcats tallied a hit, one of those coming off the bat of Spencer Ibarra. The right fielder went 5-for-6 at the plate in game one of the tournament but came back down to earth against Kent State with a 1-for-4 performance.

“It feels great you can’t really describe this, we knew we had a shot just getting to the tournament, and that was our main goal.” Ty Black said about advancing this far, “We knew once we were here we could make noise, and we’re definitely making some noise right now.”

The Golden Flashes must now regroup for a 4:30 p.m. matchup tomorrow with their first-round opponent, the Toledo Rockets. The victor will face Ohio Saturday at 1 p.m. in the tournament semi-final.