Tyler Finkler cracked a deep fly ball to right field for a fairly routine flyout. He jogged back to the dugout as the crowd applauded and his teammates stood up to greet him.
With the bases loaded, Finkler’s sac fly was an example of effective situational hitting used by Ohio on Sunday in its 6-4 win against Siena at Bob Wren Stadium.
“The hit-and-run that (junior catcher Nick) Bredeson executed was good,” Ohio coach Rob Smith said. “We had a couple sac flies when we had a runner at third base and less than two outs. I thought the offensive execution was good and it was encouraging to see that.”
The Bobcats (11-7) won two of three weekend games against Siena to take their first home series of the year.
The Bobcats split a pair of close games Saturday afternoon, first a 4-2 loss and then a 7-4 win.
In game one, Ohio starter Gerry Salisbury left after five quality innings with a 1-0 lead, having struck out six while allowing just four walks and three hits.
But sophomore right-hander Kenny Ogg, in Salisbury’s place, lasted just two batters. Ogg yielded a double and a single before Smith made another pitching change.
In came senior Tom Colletti, who walked a batter to load the bases and later allowed another walk and hit to bring in three Siena runners.
Smith said the decision to take his starter out was due in part to a high pitch count and the fact that he trusts the bullpen, which entered the game with seven relievers sporting ERAs under 3.00.
“We trust our bullpen,” Smith said. “So, if we’ve got an opportunity, a starter gives us five, maybe six innings and we’ve got a chance to get to those guys, we’re going to.”
In game two, the Bobcats’ offense provided its pitching staff with enough support, particularly in a pivotal fourth inning at-bat with Ohio trailing 3-2.
After the Bobcats loaded the bases with two hits and a walk, Tanner Piechnick walked in a run. Connor Callery followed with an RBI infield single, and then a throwing error on Spencer Ibarra’s groundout brought scored another to give Ohio a 5-3 lead.
In the eighth, the Bobcat bullpen found itself in trouble again. This time, the relievers stiffened.
Jake Rudnicki walked two and allowed a single to load the bases with one out. In came Jake Roehn, who allowed an RBI single but followed with a popup and flyout to strand the bases loaded.
“All in all, those guys have been really good,” Smith said. “If this is their down days, we’re going to be totally fine.”
The Bobcats were led offensively this weekend by sophomore first baseman Rudy Rott and Ibarra.
Rott batted 6-for-11 with three doubles, two runs scored, an RBI and a walk. Ibarra was 6-for-12 with two home runs, a double, five runs scored and three RBIs.
On the mound, Jake Roehn earned two saves in 2 2/3 innings of work with two hits and one run allowed. Salisbury and Butch Baird both turned in quality starts on Saturday, striking out six and seven respectively.
Michael Klein shined in a combined offensive and pitching effort. He hit 5-for-11 with a home run, a triple, two RBIs and two walks. In his start on Sunday, he earned the win in 5 2/3 innings with eight strikeouts, allowing two runs on six hits and two walks.