PHOTO: Ben Wielgopolski/WOUB

Ohio Baseball: ‘Cats Overpowered by Dayton

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ATHENS, OH — When Ohio and Dayton met on the baseball diamond last week in Dayton, RJ Wagner started for the Flyers and Eamon Horwedel started for the Bobcats. Dayton jumped out to a 13-2 lead in the first five innings on their way to a 15-5 victory.

The Bobcats had a chance to rectify that loss and show improvement Tuesday afternoon on their home turf, even down to the Horwedel vs. Wagner pitching matchup, but the outcome was nearly the same.

Dayton (7-10-1) jumped on Ohio early, scoring six runs in the first three innings, on their way to a 12-5 rout of the Bobcats (4-14) at Bob Wren Stadium.

“This was not improvement, not whatsoever. It was actually a step backward,” Ohio head coach Rob Smith said. “We just have to reset ourselves and get refocused.”

The problems started early for Ohio. Horwedel (0-4) got the start and hit three batters, a walk and an RBI single in the top half of the first inning. Despite that, the freshman limited the damage to just three runs by getting out of a bases-loaded jam to end the Flyers’ half of the first.

However, after appearing to settle into a groove in the second, setting down the first two batters, he ultimately was pulled from the game after 1 and ⅔ after giving up a two-run homer to Dayton’s Alex Brickman. The home run put the Flyers up 5-0 with 2 down in the top of the second.

Horwedel exited having given up five runs, three earned, on five hits.

Offensively, the Bobcats were unable to get much of anything going until the third inning when they already were trailing by 6 runs. With two outs, Jake Longo drew a walk, Sebastian Fabik followed that up with a single that put runners on second and third for Rudy Rott.

Rott answered the call, clearing the bases with a single to right center, cutting the Dayton lead to 6-2.

The senior first baseman drew Ohio closer with another RBI single to left in the fifth, bringing the Bobcats within three, 6-3.

The Flyers quelled any notion of a comeback in the seventh, however. After Takahiro Yamada had already plated a run in the top half of the seventh to push the Dayton lead back out to four, Connor Echols cleared the loaded bases to put the Flyers on top 10-3.

Despite the high run total, Dayton registered just seven hits for the game. A major part of the Dayton offense was actually provided by the Bobcats. Ohio pitchers hit six batters and issued nine walks during the game for a total of 15 extra base runners.

“We’ve got to play cleaner baseball, for sure. We gave up too many free bases tonight,” Smith said. “When you do that, it becomes routine for other teams to score.”

Ohio won’t have much time to try to fix the problems that have plagued them during non-conference play. MAC play starts this Friday when Central Michigan comes to Athens for a three-game series.

“As poorly as we’ve played in the last handful of games, none of that really matters,” Smith said. “We’re 0-0 in conference.”

First pitch on Friday is set for 6 p.m. at Bob Wren Stadium.