Gerry Salisbury pitches during Ohio’s first game of a doubleheader against Northern Illinois on March 31. (FILE)
Ohio scored a season-high 15 runs Friday against Toledo, but in the final two games of the series, the Bobcats scored a combined three runs.
The Bobcats lost two of three games in their weekend road series against the Rockets, with the lone win coming Friday. The Bobcats have now lost two Mid-American Conference series this season.
The first game of the series was one filled with offense for Ohio. The Bobcats, one of the best hitting teams in the MAC, defeated the Rockets 15-4 behind a six-run fourth inning.
After the third inning, the game was tied 1-1. In the fourth, Tanner Piechnick was on first with out. Then Aaron Levy hit a single.
After Levy’s at-bat, Trevor Hafner drew a walk, loading the bases. Ryan Sargent then hit an RBI single to right field; Piechnick scored. The bases were still loaded after Sargent’s single, and as Dan McCauley drew a walk, scoring Levy.
To finish the rally, Devon Garcia hit a grand slam after McCauley’s walk. Along with a six-run inning in the fourth, Ohio also scored four runs in the sixth. Michael Klein scored off an RBI single from Piechnick, and Levy hit a three-run home run.
The Bobcats tallied 14 hits in the game, the most hits they posted in the series. Aside from the Bobcats’ strong offense, Gerry Salisbury had a solid start. He struck out four and gave up two earned runs in six innings.
Though they had one of their best offensive outings of the season Friday, Ohio’s offense was stifled in the second game of the series.
The Bobcats lost to the Rockets 3-2; they totaled four hits. That’s the fewest number of hits Ohio has had since tallying four against South Carolina Upstate on March 16.
As the first inning began, Ohio seemed as though it would be primed for another quality hitting performance. Rudy Rott hit a two-run home run in the first, bringing in Klein. The Bobcats led 2-1 at the end of the first inning, but after that, neither team scored from the second inning to the end of the seventh. Ohio didn’t have a hit from the fourth inning to the end of the eighth inning. In the bottom of the eighth, Rockets designated hitter AJ Montoya hit a go-ahead two-run home run.
Ohio almost came back in the top of the ninth. It had bases loaded with two outs. Garcia’s flew out to right field, though, to end the game.
The game was a pitching match as neither team gave up double-digit hits. Ohio’s pitchers — Derek Carr, Cory Blessing and Jake Roehn — combined for four strikeouts and four walks.
After losing in a low-scoring pitchers duel Saturday, the Bobcats threw seven pitchers in an 8-1 loss Sunday to end the series. Butch Baird started, and he gave up six hits and three earned runs.
Ohio was down 2-0 through third innings, but its offense started to produce in the fourth. McCauley hit a sacrifice fly to center, and Levy scored Ohio’s lone run of the game.
The Rockets scored two more runs in the bottom of the fifth, so the Bobcats were down 4-1 heading into the sixth. The Rockets increased their lead in the sixth as center fielder Ross Adolph hit a grand slam. Ohio didn’t rebound after that as it had no hits from the seventh inning till the end of the game.
While both team’s pitching was quality Saturday, the Bobcats’ pitching on Sunday was the difference. Aside from Baird, Kenny Ogg and Eddie Kutt allowed a combined five earned runs. Baird accounted for six of the Bobcats’ nine strikeouts.
The Bobcats’ pitching staff didn’t throw well, but their offense wasn’t as productive as it usually is, either. The Bobcats left 10 runners on base, and they tallied eight hits compared to the Rockets’ 13.
Ohio (15-14, 4-5 MAC) will play Ohio State in Columbus on Tuesday at 5 p.m., and it will come back to Athens to host Shawnee State on Wednesday at 6 p.m. The Shawnee State game is a rescheduled game from April 3.