PHOTO: Nick Mullens/WOUB

Ohio Baseball: Bobcats Drop MAC Opener to Central Michigan

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ATHENS, Ohio – The Bobcats did not have the best start to the 2019 season.

However, their conference record was 0-0 entering Friday, so it was a fresh start for the Bobcats with opportunities for wins ahead of them.

Despite a strong start from the Bobcats’ bats, Ohio (4-15, 0-1 MAC) dropped the first game of a three-game series at Bob Wren Stadium to Central Michigan (14-6, 1-0 MAC), 5-3.

“I thought we competed,” Ohio head coach Rob Smith said. “Our guys had a good competitor’s spirit. They gave a good effort, so I was pleased with that.”

Central Michigan was paced by a solid start from Pat Leatherman (4-0), who threw seven innings while giving up three runs on six hits and striking out seven.

“I thought we had pretty good swings off him for the most part,” Smith said. “He’s a good pitcher. He’s a great competitor. He’s been in this league forever and that’s what you expect when you see Leatherman. He’s going to compete and do what he has to do to win games.”

Ohio got off to a good start with a Sebastian Fabik solo home run to right field in the second inning. Rudy Rott added a solo shot to right in the fourth inning to put Ohio up 2-0.

However, the Chippewas responded with three runs in the top of the fifth. Griffin Lockwood-Powell singled to left, scoring two runs. Two batters later, Jacob Crum grounded out to shortstop to score the go-ahead run. That was Ohio starting pitcher Kenny Ogg’s final inning of the night.

Ogg (1-4) threw five innings, giving up six hits and three runs, two of them earned while striking out seven batters.

The Bobcats were threatening in the sixth inning with runners on first and second with one out and Dan McCauley at the plate.

Ohio decided to attempt a double-steal, which resulted in a McCauley strikeout and Trevor Lukkes getting thrown out at third base.

“We were just trying to be aggressive, make some things happen,” Smith said. “We had an opportunity to hopefully put a ball in play. We had the right combination on the base paths, a couple of guys that can run pretty well. Unfortunately, it just didn’t work out. (Central Michigan) made a good play.”

Central Michigan added some insurance in the seventh inning when Lockwood-Powell homered off the batter’s eye in center field against Ohio reliever Edward Kutt IV. Lockwood-Powell finished the night with three hits and three RBIs.

The Bobcats responded in the bottom of the inning when Ryan Sargent singled home Michael Richardson to make it a one-run ballgame.

In the final inning, Zach Gilles scored the final run of the ballgame on a throwing error after stealing third base.

Ohio finished the night with seven hits and two errors.

Ohio and Central Michigan will meet again on Saturday for the second game of the three-game series at Bob Wren Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m.