[Payton Brooker | WOUB]

Bobcats earn first midweek win of season and break three game skid with team baseball

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ATHENS, Ohio (WOUB) – The Ohio Bobcats are fresh off dropping three games to Big 10 opponent, Indiana. They are back at Bob Wren for a midweek. The midweek Tuesday and Wednesday games have been the Ohio Bobcats kryptonite this season. In five attempts, the Bobcats failed to win a single game. They lost 9-2 to Kentucky on a Wednesday and lost two to Morehead State, allowing a combined 34 runs in the two games. 

Ohio Pitcher Tyler Peck throws a pitch against Shawnee State
Ohio Pitcher Tyler Peck throws a pitch against Shawnee State [Alex Eicher | WOUB]
They broke through, picking up a 7-2 win on Tuesday against Shawnee State. It was great team baseball that got the job done. 

Ohio Head Coach Craig Moore feels like a weight has been lifted, “The monkey is off our back, that’s what I told the guys. It’s good to get a midweek win this time of year.” 

The Bears hail from the Mid-State Conference of the NAIA ranks. They’ve struggled this season, only having eight wins out of 43 games this season. It was a gloomy evening with lots of cloud cover and chilling wind for a nonconference, midweek game. The Bobcats had every excuse to come out flat and Coach Moore was worried about that. 

“It took a while for our dugout to get some energy going,” he said. “Sometimes when you face an opponent that’s a lower level you can sleepwalk, and I think that’s what we were doing for a little at the beginning of the game.” 

The juice the Bobcats needed came from the bat of Cole Williams. He smacked a two-RBI single in the bottom of the second inning to get the scoring started. Williams batted cleanup, a little higher than usual. 

“I keep the same approach, no matter where I’m hitting,” Williams said. “I’m comfortable hitting up there, I’ve been up there before. I don’t really mind where I hit, I just like hitting with guys on base.” 

He took advantage again of runners on base in the fifth, adding another RBI on a double that crashed off the wall. It probably should have been two, but it was tough to get a read on the ball. As the ball caromed off the wall there was a logjam with all three guys being within 20 feet of each other on the base path. This was part of a four run fifth inning that broke the game wide open. Colin Kasperbauer added two more runs with a double down the first base line. 

Ohio Infielder Colin Kasperbauer slides into second base against Shawnee State
Ohio infielder Colin Kasperbauer slides into second base against Shawnee State [Alex Eicher | WOUB]
It wasn’t the offensive explosion you’d expect, in terms of runs, but the at-bats were really competitive. The Bobcats only struck out once the entire game, while working four walks and drawing four hit by pitches. 

On the defensive side, the pitching was phenomenal. Mitchell Hemmen, a usual starter, entered in the second inning after Braxton Key threw the first – Coach Moore wanted to let Key throw an inning after not being able to throw at all during the weekend. He gave up a two-run homerun on the fourth batter he faced, but settled in after that, throwing three more frames of scoreless baseball. He was testing out new grips on his slider and it worked as the Bears struck out three times but whiffed on a lot of pitches.  

Tyler Peck and Hudson Boncal were phenomenal, splitting the final four innings of work, and allowing just a combined two base runners.  

Hemmen thinks this win is great momentum for their upcoming series against Kent State. 

“After a rough weekend last week, to come out here and get a big team win builds momentum for this weekend and also next weekend,” he said. “Just keeping the ball rolling in the right direction.” 

The Bobcats move to 16-20 on the season and remain tied atop the conference with a .722 win percentage.