The Bobcats celebrate a home run during their game against Ohio State on April 9, 2019. PHOTO: Ben Wielgopolski/WOUB

Ohio Baseball: Solid Pitching, Patient Hitting Spur Bobcats’ Rout of Toledo

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ATHENS, OH — After Tuesday night’s heartbreaking loss to Ohio State, the Bobcats had no time to dwell on their disappointment with Toledo coming to town three days later.

The Rockets, it turns out, were just what the Bobcats needed.

The ‘Cats (9-22, 4-6 MAC) drew 14 walks and racked up 10 hits on their way to their biggest offensive output of the season, blowing out Toledo (10-20, 1-7 MAC) 16-5 at Bob Wren Stadium.

“Offense is contagious,” Bobcats catcher Nathan Mallott said. “It’s a lot of momentum into the weekend.”

The Bobcats fell behind early, giving up an unearned run with two outs in the top of the first. They were able to tie the game in the bottom of the third when Rudy Rott hit his seventh home run of the season.

The senior’s moonshot traveled well beyond the 360-foot wall in right field and onto the outfield of the Ohio Softball Field next door.

Following the home run, the ‘Cats used a pair of hits and a walk to load the bases for Trevor Hafner. After fouling off a handful of pitches, Hafner drew a walk of his own to put Ohio on top 2-1.

The next batter, Mallott, didn’t draw a walk. He did one, or should I say three, better.

The junior catcher hit the ball off the wall in deep left-center field to clear the bases and give the Bobcats a 5-1 lead.

“(Having runners on base) helps out a lot,” Mallott said. “It puts a lot of pressure on the defense, and the pitcher too. You get a lot of fastballs because they can’t afford to walk you.”

Mallot picked up right where he left off in the fifth inning when he doubled for a second time to drive in two more runs for Ohio. He went on to score two batters later on a wild pitch to put the ‘Cats up 8-1 in the fifth.

“Nate had a couple big hits that changed the game,” Smith said. “When you get opportunities with what you call ‘game-changing moments’, and somebody delivers, it can flip the script, and he delivered twice.”

Rott also delivered in that same inning, rocketing a hit down the right field line and into the corner for an RBI double to put Ohio ahead 9-1 after five innings.

But the Bobcats weren’t close to done scoring. In the sixth, Ohio sent 10 batters to the plate. Four of the first five of those batters drew walks, leading to the second RBI via the walk of the game, this time going to Sebastian Fabik.

With two outs in the inning, Aaron Levy came through with a game-changing moment of his own when he crushed a ball to left field for a grand slam to put the Bobcats way out of reach for Toledo, up 14-1.

Due to all of the free bases, the Bobcats were able to score five runs in the sixth despite registering just one hit in the inning.

Ohio drew two more bases-loaded walks in the bottom of the eighth to pad their lead even more and lead 16-1 heading to the final frame.

Not to be outshined by the offense, the Bobcats got a great game from starting pitcher Edward Kutt IV. The sophomore, in just his second start of the season, went eight innings while giving up just one unearned run. He struck out six Rockets, walked only one and gave up only four hits. Kutt IV earned his first win as a starter of his Bobcat career.

“(Kutt IV) was outstanding,” Smith said.

The Bobcats will have two chances to win this series against Toledo tomorrow. The teams will play a doubleheader at Bob Wren Stadium due to the likelihood of rain on Sunday.

“(Saturday) is a big day,” Smith said. “We have to win this series. If we play well tomorrow, we’ll put ourselves in a good position to do that.”

First pitch of game one tomorrow is set for 1 p.m. with game two due to start shortly after the completion of the first game.