[Payton Brooker | WOUB]

Lug, Kelly proved pivotal in Ohio’s 13-10 comeback win over Miami

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ATHENS, Ohio (WOUB) — Wes Lug’s batting and Braxton Kelly’s right arm were the difference in Ohio’s colossal comeback victory against Miami on Friday.  

The Bobcats looked to right some wrongs in front of their home fans after an 8-6 defeat to the Marshall Thundering Herd on Tuesday.  

Luke Olson started at the mound for Ohio and made his ninth start of the season.  

Neither team could get anything going for the first couple of innings.  

RedHawks offense takes control 

Things started to unravel for Ohio in the third inning. RedHawks sophomore David Novak broke the deadlock with a rocket to center field – and over the gates of Bob Wren Stadium. 

Miami’s Cooper Weiss then stepped to the plate with Benji Brokemond on first. Weiss drilled a home run into left field to triple-up the advantage. Ryland Zaborowski put the cherry on top with one more run off Evan Appelwick’s single.  

The fourth inning was not much kinder to the Bobcats. Once again, it was Weiss who did the damage. He smashed a double to left field to get Brokemond his second and Dillon Baker’s first runs of the evening, respectively. Miami headed into the fifth inning with a commanding 6-0 edge.  

Miami errors gave Ohio life 

It did not look hopeful for the fans who made the trip to Bob Wren Stadium. That hope only diminished further after Weiss picked up his second run of the night to make it a seven-run ball game in the top of the inning. Two more scores gave the RedHawks what seemed like an insurmountable 9-1 lead.  

And then came the bottom of the seventh. 

Miami substituted redshirt sophomore Patrick Mastrian IV at the mound. Redshirt sophomore A.J. Rausch picked up Ohio’s second run after Colin Kasperbauer walked on a fielder’s choice.  

Mason Minzey was on second base when Mastrian IV faced off against Ohio senior Alex Finney. Both Finney and junior Cole Williams were hit on consecutive pitches – leading to Minzey crossing home plate.  

The Bobcats were down by six, 9-3.  

Eighth inning magic 

Ohio assigned redshirt freshman Patrick DeMarco to pitch for the eighth inning. Despite conceding another run to Weiss, DeMarco held his own. He threw two strikeouts and gave the Bobcats a puncher’s chance heading into the bottom of the frame.  

It started off with a Nick Dolan double to right field. From there, A.J. Rausch tripled to send Dolan home. The energy from fans at Bob Wren Stadium began to rise.  

Miami looked to shift the momentum with another pitching change. This time it sent first year Nick Vardavas to the mound in hopes of stopping the bleeding.  

But Ohio’s elite batting proved to be too much. Alec Patino doubled to send Rausch home. Patino picked up another run after a Minzey single. The Bobcats had cut the deficit to three, 10-7.  

And then the unbelievable happened.  

Ohio took advantage after another Miami pitching change, this time with Lawson Blackmore in the contest. Blackmore’s first stint saw Kasperbauer single to left field. Two errors then led to Finney and Williams getting on base.  

With the bases loaded, down 10-7, sophomore Wes Lug had the chance to give the Bobcats something they never had at that point – the lead. And that he did.  

Lug smashed a home run into left field. All four runners glided past home plate – and Ohio found itself with an 11–10 lead. Bob Wren Stadium was the loudest it had ever been that night.  

“[It was a] surreal experience,” Lug said. “(I) can’t believe that happened.”

Dolan and Patino tacked on two more runs to give the home team a more comfortable 13-10 advantage.  

It was now up to one inning of elite pitching to complete the comeback. 

Three “Ks” for Kelly 

Fifth year Braxton Kelly was chosen as Ohio’s closer. 

Kelly’s first matchup was against Tommy Harrison, who struck out swinging. One out. Up next, David Novak – who faced that same fate. Two outs. It was then up to Dillon Baker to keep Miami’s hopes alive. He struck out looking. And that was it. 

The Bobcats had officially pulled off the unthinkable, defeating their arch-rival 13-10. 

“Coach (Craig) Moore always preaches to us you know stick with it, it’ll reward you and tonight we did that,” Kelly said. 

Kelly earned his three strikeouts in only 13 pitches. 

What’s next? 

With the victory, Ohio sits with a 12-4 record in Mid-American Conference play. It sits in the third spot in the conference.  

The Bobcats and RedHawks clash once again in a doubleheader on Saturday. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.