At first glance, the 2010 Bobcats look superior to the current version.
They had pre-season All-American Gauntlett Eldemire and Third-Team All-American Robert Maddox. The Philadelphia Phillies selected Eldemire in the sixth round of last June’s MLB Draft and the Cincinnati Reds took Maddox in the 18th round.
Advantage: 2010 Bobcats.
The 2011 Bobcats are a squad without what coach Joe Carbone calls any clear-cut guys, such as Eldemire, Maddox or 2009 draftee Marc Krauss. Carbone also said the current team is the youngest he’s coached in 23 seasons at Ohio.
Yet strangely enough, the Bobcats entered Mid-American Conference play this year at 11-9, the best record they’ve held at that point in the season since 2007.
The success is no mystery to Carbone. He pointed out that this year’s team has one thing the 2010 Bobcats didn’t this time last season — pitching.
Advantage: 2011 Bobcats.
Ohio’s 11-9 mark entering a three-game series against Ball State last week was a vast improvement over the 2-15 record it took into the opener with the Cardinals last season.
The Bobcats’ team ERA improved from a cringe-worthy 6.67 last year to 4.26 this season. And when batting average is taken into account — the team dropped from .303 to .247 — Ohio’s success seems like even more of a testament to the pitching staff.
“They’ve done a great job,” Carbone said of the pitchers, “they really have. (Seth) Streich, (Brent) Choban and (Jason) Moulton have been throwing the ball very well. They’re great quality (MAC) starters. And none of them are seniors. They’re all underclassmen.
"It’s a young team that’s performing pretty well right now.”
Carbone said he plans to give guys who didn’t receive playing time against Ball State over the weekend some at-bats against Pittsburgh today.
He said he would start catcher J.R. Reynolds and infielder Wes O’Neil to give the normal starters a rest. Carbone also said he planned to send six or seven pitchers to the mound against Pittsburgh to make sure the team’s best starters are ready when MAC play resumes against Central Michigan Friday.