The Ohio Baseball team watches the action from the dugout during a game. PHOTO: Nick Mullens/WOUB

Ohio Baseball: ‘Cats Split Senior Weekend Series with Miami

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ATHENS, OH — Ohio Baseball players, coaches and players gathered around after a long Sunday afternoon to honor the five Bobcat seniors at the end of their final home series of conference play.

The only problem with that moment?

The game that was scheduled for Sunday afternoon had just been canceled after a lengthy delay, robbing the seniors of a chance to get a final win over rival Miami in their final season in Green and White.

However, that’s not to say the weekend was all bad for the ‘Cats. In the previous two games of what was meant to be a three-game series, Ohio (16-27, 10-10 MAC) split with the RedHawks (33-13, 13-7 MAC) to keep their MAC Tournament hopes alive.

Game one on Friday night was best summarized by missed opportunities for the Bobcats. In a game that was also delayed two hours by inclement weather, Ohio left 9 men on base in a 5-1 loss.

The ‘Cats loaded the bases in both the second and fourth innings but came away with just one run, which was scored by Tanner Piechnick on a throwing error by Miami’s third baseman. Unfortunately for Ohio, both of those bases-loaded chances with two outs and went 0-2 at the plate.

After Rudy Rott’s single to left to lead off the 5th, the Bobcats failed to register another hit in the game and only had one batter reach first when Ryan Sargent was hit by a pitch in the bottom of the sixth.

Ohio starting pitcher Edward Kutt IV pitched a solid 7 ⅓ innings in the loss, striking out seven RedHawks and giving up just six hits.

Saturday afternoon’s matchup between the two teams saw the Bobcats able to convert in the same situations that cost them on Friday night.

After falling behind 1-0, Ohio finally was able to get a couple of hits with runners in scoring position. In the bottom of the fourth, Nathan Mallott singled to left to score Rott and Trevor Hafner scored Michael Richardson in the very next at-bat to give the ‘Cats their first lead of the series, 2-1.

The Bobcats added two more runs in the bottom of the fifth to extend their lead to 4-1. Aaron Levy doubled home Treyben Funderburg for the first run and two batters later, Richardson hit a line drive off the leg of Miami pitcher Spencer Mraz that caromed into shallow right, scoring Levy from second.

Miami drew within a run in the top of the sixth on a Mackay Williams 2-run home run to right, but Brett Manis shut the RedHawks down for the final three innings to earn his seventh save of the year.

Ohio starting pitcher Jack Liberatore picked up the win, his sixth of the season, on the back of nine strikeouts over his six innings pitched. Nine strikeouts set a new season and career high for the redshirt freshman.

Following the series, the Bobcats sit sixth in the MAC, right on the cutoff line for the conference tournament.

The ‘Cats will have a few days off before they travel to Muncie, Indiana for a three-game series against Ball State, who sits at second place in the conference. First pitch on Friday is set for 3 p.m.