Ohio Baseball: Stellar Pitching Leads Ohio Past Miami in Friday Doubleheader< < Back to sports
ATHENS, Ohio (WOUB) — With just 16 games remaining in the regular season, Ohio is looking to pick up any wins it can to keep pace with the top teams in the MAC. Entering Friday, the Bobcats were fourth in the conference standings and sat seven games back of MAC leader, Central Michigan.
Fresh off a series split at Kent State, the Bobcats returned to Bob Wren Stadium looking to keep the momentum rolling. The Bobcats opened up a four-game series on Friday against rival Miami in the baseball version of “The Battle of the Bricks”.
Thanks to dominant pitching throughout the afternoon, Ohio (24-15, 15-11 MAC) picked up a pair of victories over the RedHawks (19-22, 12-15) to secure at least a series split.
“After the first day, when you can get those two games and kind of get control of the series, it’s huge,” Ohio interim head coach Craig Moore said. “This is a rivalry right here. [Miami] is our university’s rival and we recruit against those guys and they recruit against us. Whenever you can have a little bit of bragging rights, it always goes a long way.”
Game One: Ohio 3, Miami 1
Ohio’s lefty ace Joe Rock got the start in the seven-inning series opener as he looked for his eighth win of the season.
After giving up a lead-off homerun in the first inning, Rock (8-1, 1.99 ERA) settled in nicely, completing six innings with 12 strikeouts while allowing that single run on four hits.
Ohio evened up the score in the second inning thanks to a solo homerun off the bat of Trevor Hafner to left-center field. Sebastian Fabik powered the Bobcats ahead the next inning with a two-run homer to right-center field.
After Rock stymied the RedHawks for six innings, Brett Manis entered the game to the tune of Endor’s “Pump It Up” and a dancing Ohio bullpen — a tradition the Bobcats started doing during the ninth inning.
Manis had no problems in the ninth to earn his sixth save of the season.
Game Two: Ohio 1, Miami 0
Edward Kutt IV got his second start in five days for the Bobcats in game two, which was a traditional nine innings.
Kutt dominated Kent State last Sunday with eight innings of one-run baseball and continued that strong pitching on Friday.
“I’m just happy I’m pitching well,” Kutt said. “It doesn’t matter if I’m in the pen or starting.”
After allowing a single in the first inning, Kutt did not allow a hit for the remainder of his outing.
Kutt (7-3, 3.29 ERA) pitched eight innings and struck out ten batters.
“He’s a competitor,” Moore said of Kutt. “He can throw three different pitches for strikes and he gets hitters off balance with his changeup and his breaking stuff. He just goes out and he throws strikes and he gives our defense a chance to make plays behind him.”
Ohio’s offense has been red-hot recently but faced some issues against Miami starter Grant Hartwig. The Bobcats did not muster a hit against Hartwig through five innings.
“I just kept telling them to stick with the game,” Moore said. “They’ll give us an opportunity and that’s what happened in the seventh.”
Isaiah Peterson broke up the no-hit bid in the sixth with a double to left.
Harry Witwer-Dukes got the Bobcats’ second hit of the game and was later driven in by a Trevor Hafner single up the middle to score the only run of the ballgame.
“When you face good arms like Miami has, when you get an opportunity to have a runner in scoring position, you must take advantage of those opportunities. I thought that was the perfect inning in terms of what we wanted in a game that was that close,” Moore said.
The Bobcats get right back to work on Saturday (May 8) against the RedHawks for another doubleheader. Ohio will be facing RedHawks’ starting pitcher Sam Bachman, the No. 14 MLB Draft prospect according to MLB.com, in the first game of the twin bill.
“It’s a challenge but we talked all week long with our guys about embracing the challenge. Don’t run away from the challenge and our guys will be up for that challenge.”
First pitch of the doubleheader is set for 1 p.m. from Bob Wren Stadium. The second game of the twin bill is scheduled for approximately 4 p.m.