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

Ohio Baseball: ‘Cats clinch No. 6 seed in MAC Tournament

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KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Following the Kent State series finale on April 28, Ohio head coach Rob Smith said it was the team’s goal to put itself in a position to where if the Bobcats won their series against Western Michigan, they would be in the MAC Tournament.

After splitting two games against Miami (OH) and getting swept by Ball State on the road, it came down to the final regular season series against the Broncos to decide which team would travel to Avon for the MAC Tournament.

Ohio (18-32, 12-14 MAC) clinched the series and the No. 6 seed in the tournament with an 8-6 victory over Western Michigan (18-31, 11-14 MAC) in the regular season finale Saturday.

Senior Rudy Rott led the way for Ohio, going 2-for-5 with two home runs and four RBI.  Rott’s two homers gave him 284 career hits – only two behind Jake Madsen, the all-time hits leader at Ohio.  In a series that decided the last spot in the conference tournament, Rott hit .538 in the series.

Ohio starter Jack Liberatore (7-5) picked up the win for Ohio.  Liberatore pitched three innings and allowed only one earned run on four hits.

Joe Rock relieved in the fourth inning with a 7-1 lead, but allowed three runs, none earned, on four hits in the fifth inning.

Ohio added a run in the seventh with a passed ball that scored Tanner Piechnick to give the Bobcats an 8-4 lead.

Brett Manis pitched 4 1/3 innings – his longest outing of the season- and allowed two runs in the eighth inning.  Manis struck out seven batters.

Edward Kutt IV, Ohio’s starter in the series opener Thursday, picked up the save for Ohio.  Kutt IV entered the game in the ninth inning with two runners on and one out, but locked up the Ohio victory, series win and a MAC tournament berth.

Ohio will battle Kent State, the No. 3 seed, on Wednesday in the opening game of the MAC Tournament.  First pitch is set for 12:30 p.m. from Sprenger Stadium in Avon, Ohio.  If the Bobcats win, they will face top-seeded Central Michigan on Thursday at 2 p.m.  If they lose, they will play at 10 a.m. on Thursday against the losing team of the Miami (OH) and Northern Illinois game.