[Hailey Hollinger | WOUB]

Ohio Baseball earns first series win over Kent State since 2017

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ATHENS, Ohio (WOUB) —  The final game of Ohio’s series took place Sunday as it hosted Kent State.  The Bobcats (10-7, 4-2 MAC) earned their first series win over the Golden Flashes (6-9, 2-4 MAC) since 2017 by securing an 8-7 victory.

Jack Liberatore got off to a rocky start in the game though as he walked two batters and gave up two home runs in the first inning.

Ohio came back out for the second and scored no runs, while Kent State scored two more runs going up 6-0.

Ohio made its first call to the bullpen to bring on Brenden Roder, and after a wild pitch, Roder got started and didn’t look back, completely stalling the Kent State offense.

Ohio was able to cut the Kent State lead in half in the third with AJ Rausch scoring off a hit up the middle. Xavier Haendiges scored off a wild pitch and Isaiah Peterson scored off a fielder’s choice.

After that strong inning from the Bobcats, the Golden Flashes responded by getting one back, but not for long. Mason Minzey hit a leadoff home run to bring the score back within three runs.

In the bottom of the sixth, Kent State made a pitching change, and in the bottom seventh that pitching change went south quickly as Ohio scored three huge runs in the inning to tie the game.

Ohio's AJ Rausch (7) celebrates with his teammates following a go-ahead homerun in the eighth inning of the Bobcats' game against Kent State on March 20, 2022.
Ohio’s AJ Rausch (7) celebrates with his teammates following a go-ahead homerun in the eighth inning of the Bobcats’ game against Kent State on March 20, 2022.

In the bottom of the eighth inning, AJ Rausch, whose birthday was Sunday, hit the game-winning home run to give the Bobcats their first lead of the game.

Kent State hit a single in the top of the ninth but it was not a factor as the next batter hit into a double play. The Bobcats got one more out from there to win the game.

Ohio won 8-7 after trailing by as many as six runs

Roder had another great performance, giving up no earned runs in over six innings pitched.  Roder also struck out five in his first win of the season.

“Yeah, it’s definitely a tough spot to come into down 6-0,” Roder said. “When you have an offense like ours, six runs is really nothing. So got to keep pounding the zone, keep throwing strikes, find a way to put up zeros which we did today, that’s how we got that win.”

The Bobcats had an impressive weekend at the plate — scoring 40 runs combined in the four games.

Ohio looks to keep the bats going as it is next in action next weekend at Bowling Green (2-14, 0-7 MAC) for a four-game series.