For more details on the Bobcats' doubleheader with Central Michigan, check out the video above by WOUB Sports Director Bryan Kurp.

Ohio Baseball: Bobcats Split Doubleheader Against Central Michigan

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ATHENS, Ohio (WOUB) — It only takes a few swings for a close game to get away from a ballclub. In fact, sometimes it only takes one. Such was the case Saturday at Bob Wren Stadium, as the Bobcats (9-8, 3-4) split a doubleheader against the Central Michigan Chippewas (9-8, 1-2). Ohio pulled out a 4-3 victory to start the day, but decisively lost the second 12-2 after a game-changing grand slam from Jakob Marsee.

Game One

Junior Braxton Kelly made his first start of the season Saturday, going up against Andrew Taylor for the Chippewas. Taylor looked impressive early, striking out the side to start his day, and going the distance for a complete game with 11 strikeouts. Taylor has been a workhorse for the Chippewas this year, and despite the loss, still sports a 3-2 record with a 1.78 ERA on the season.

Kelly also put together an effective start, although a few dodgy innings limited his day to 3.2 innings in the seven-inning game. Central Michigan got out to a 2-0 lead in the second after Colton Coca placed a single into left field, scoring two Chippewas. The fourth also spelled trouble for Kelly, who walked two batters before Edward Kutt III came in relief.

The Bobcats only put up two hits in the first outing, but they came at just the right time for Ohio to do some damage. A throwing error and single from Joe Weisenseel brought center fielder Isaiah Peterson to the plate in the third inning, and the senior swung the lead to the Bobcats with a homerun over the right field wall.  It was the second homerun of the season for Peterson, who is hitting .350 on the season. Peterson ascribed his three-RBI bomb to simply seeing the pitch he wanted.

“I was looking for a fastball, got the opportunity to see one over the plate, and took advantage,” Peterson said of his home run postgame.

(Bryan Kurp/WOUB)
(Photo: Bryan Kurp/WOUB)
(Bryan Kurp/WOUB)
(Bryan Kurp/WOUB)

More pitching hiccups threatened to give Central Michigan the lead once again after Kutt III entered the game, as the senior walked his first two batters, which got in a run and tied the game 3-3. Kutt was able to settle down and end the inning, stopping the high-leverage situation from getting out of control. Making his club-high eighth appearance, Kutt struck out four and allowed a single hit in 2.1 innings which netted him his third win on the year.

In need of more offense to regain the lead on a day where the bats were far from on fire, Trevor Hafner delivered a run in the fifth while displaying heads-up baserunning. Hafner got on base by balls, got to second on a wild pitch, took third on a ground-out, and finally made it back to the plate after another wild pitch.

Ohio would not relinquish the lead after Brett Manis took the mound for the Bobcats in the seventh, Central Michigan going down in order as the senior struck out two of three in his only inning of work. It was the fourth appearance of the year for Manis, who picked up his second save a night after Kutt III recorded his own third save.

While the Bobcats’ pitching held down the victory in the first half of the doubleheader, the same could not be said of the second.

Game Two

The back end of the clubs’ two meetings did not start off with a bang, although the Chippewas were able to plate a run in the first and third innings off sacrifice flies from Zach Gilles and Drew Lechnic, respectively.

Ohio and Mason Minzey answered back in the fourth, the junior catcher singling down the left field line and bringing in Aaron Levy and Sebastian Fabik. Ohio was not able to capitalize further, with the next two batters going down swinging. The Bobcats struck out seven times in the second game, as a Chippewa starter once again recorded a complete game, Cameron Brown going the distance this time.

Seven total hits for Ohio over their two games on Saturday, the offense was able to score opportunistically enough to win one game of the doubleheader- but not both, as Isaiah Peterson expressed his thoughts on the Bobcat’s bats going forward to the last game in their series against Central Michigan.

“We got guys who are putting together good at bats,” Peterson said. “There’s plenty of dudes right now that are having opportunities to play and they’re taking advantage, if we can do that enough tomorrow we will hopefully put ourselves in a situation to get a win.”

Joe Weisenseel was a bright spot for the Bobcats in the second half of the doubleheader, going 2-2. The redshirt senior has recorded a hit every game in Ohio’s series against the Chippewas.

Edward Kutt III throws a pitch against Central Michigan on Saturday, March 27, 2021. (Bryan Kurp/WOUB)
(Bryan Kurp/WOUB)
Ohio's Edward Kutt IV throws a pitch in Ohio's game against Central Michigan on March 27, 2021. (PHOTO: Bryan Kurp/WOUB)
(Bryan Kurp/WOUB)

The score remained stagnant until Central Michigan exploded onto the scene in the sixth, putting up six runs in the frame. Two walks forced Bobcats starter Logan Jones’ day to end after 5.1 innings. The true freshman allowed four runs, walked three and struck out four in the game. Collin Sells was thrust into the contest with runners on, and the situation went from bad to worse for his team. The Chippewas manufactured two runs highlighted by a HBP, a bunt, and a fielder’s choice, before Jakob Marsee came up to the plate with bases loaded to send one over right field for the first home run of his career, a grand slam that brought the score to 8-2.

Sells’ outing would end after the sixth, being replaced by Patrick Straub who did not fare any better. Straub gave up four runs of his own, as Central Michigan sealed the 12-2 victory with RBI’s from Justin Simpson and Nick Dardas, and two from Mario Camilletti.

Giving up 12 earned runs, Bobcats Interim Head Coach Craig Moore pointed to a combination of reasons for the struggle.

“Our pitchers weren’t getting ahead of the count,” Moore said after the doubleheader. “When you don’t get ahead in the count it’s easy to hit because you’re pretty much sitting on a fastball- because that’s what they’ll have to throw typically. So I think it was a little bit of some missed locations, and then Central Michigan’s got a good offense.Their bats came to life the last two innings, we’re hoping that tomorrow maybe they don’t bring those same at bats to the park.”

Ohio still leads the series over Central Michigan 2-1, and the two clubs will conclude the series on Sunday, March 28 at 1 p.m. from Bob Wren Stadium.