Ohio’s Logan Jacik (#15) pitches during the Bobcats’ game against Shawnee State on Wednesday. (FILE)
Before Wednesday night, Ohio had scored a combined three runs in its previous three games. The offense needed a boost, and it got one against Shawnee State.
The Bobcats defeated the Bears 6-5 in 10 innings at Bob Wren Stadium as Rudy Rott hit a walk-off home run. As the Bobcats come off a solid offensive performance, here are five takeaways from Ohio’s game against the Bears.
1. When freshman pitcher Eddie Kutt entered in the top of the tenth, he needed to stop the Bears’ momentum. Ohio was up 5-3 heading into the top of the ninth, but redshirt senior closer Jake Roehn couldn’t complete the save. He gave up two runs in the top of the ninth as the Bears tied the game.
Kutt came in and pitched well, though. He struck three out and allowed one hit as he earned the win.
“He got the momentum back in our dugout,” coach Rob Smith said. “They had all the momentum after obviously coming back and tying it up on our closer, and they were excited.”
2. Rudy Rott leads Ohio in home runs this season, so his walk-off home run against Shawnee State isn’t surprising.
But as Rott rounded the bases and his team greeted him at home plate, the Bobcats’ offense got the jolt it needed. Before the home run, Ohio hadn’t scored since the sixth. The Bears outscored the Bobcats 4-0 from the seventh inning through the ninth inning.
Kutt helped stymie the Bears’ momentum, but Rott’s home run gave Ohio’s offense the tenth inning it needed.
3. Roehn is Ohio’s all-time saves leader, and he leads Ohio with five saves this season. Roehn didn’t complete the save in this game, but Smith knows that not completing saves is part of being a closer.
“If you’re going to let a couple of bad outings at the end of the game affect you, then you’re not a closer,” Smith said. “You have to have a short memory, and you have to understand that you’re always pitching with the game on the line.”
Roehn is perhaps the Bobcats’ best closer in program history. Though he didn’t complete the save against the Bears, his team still knows what he’s capable of.
“We have all the confidence in the world in Jake that he’s going to come out on Friday night and slam the door when we have a lead in the ninth, so we’re not worried about him at all,” Rott said.
4. Tony Giannini hadn’t had a hit in four games before Ohio played Shawnee State. Giannini ended that streak as he hit a season-high four hits against the Bears.
Giannini’s first hit came in the bottom of the fourth, when he hit a single to the left side. The Bobcats clapped for Giannini as he got his first hit since April 1, which was the last game of the Northern Illinois series.
“It was really good,” Giannini said. “Because they all knew that I was struggling. And they knew that it was really getting to me.”
5. The Bobcats’ offense hasn’t been doing well recently, but Smith knows that it’s hard to hit well consistently. That’s why he stresses having quality, consistent pitching.
If Ohio’s offense isn’t doing well for a few games, Smith wants his pitching to remain level. This season, Ohio’s pitching staff has an ERA of 4.09 and it has allowed 277 hits.
Smith said that in some games the Bobcats might not swing well, and they might have to win a 2-1 game on their pitching. But he also said some games could have the offense providing support for the pitching staff.
Ohio will play its next series against Eastern Michigan this weekend at home. First pitch on Friday is set for 6 p.m. Saturday’s game is set for 3 p.m., and the series finale Sunday is slated for 1 p.m.