In the eighth inning of a two-run ballgame against Eastern Kentucky Wednesday, Tyler Stage allowed a triple to left field after retiring the first two batters with ease. A wild pitch thrown to the next batter allowed what would become the winning run to score.
These signs of inconsistency have become all too common during the Bobcats’ current five-game losing streak.
After the inning, coach Joe Carbone reiterated to Stage the importance of staying focused on the mound.
“He got two quick outs then he went 3-0 on the next hitter,” Carbone said. “Now we’ve got to come in with a fast ball 3-1 and the guy gets a hit.
“Now he becomes frustrated by that and doesn’t show enough poise. On the next hitter he throws a wild pitch, run five scores and that’s the ball game.”
Ohio’s pitching inconsistency is even more evident in their strikeout-to-walk ratio. Ohio is fourth in the Mid-American Conference with 214 strikeouts, but has also allowed the most walks of any team in the conference. The Bobcats’ 160 walks are 17 more than the next-worst team in the conference. The Bobcats are also second in the MAC with 34 wild pitches.
“Pitchers have got to throw more strikes and we can’t walk as many people as we do. They all have real good arms and good stuff but we just can’t keep walking this many people,” Carbone said.
“(Seth) Streich and (Brent) Choban and (Jason) Moulton, they’ve been inconsistent too. They’ll throw strikes for three or four innings then they’ll walk two guys. You can’t do that. You just have to stay consistent all the time. It comes down to mental toughness and physical discipline.”
While the pitchers have struggled with consistency, Carbone said it is a problem for the whole team. Contributing to it, he said, is the amount of the young guys on the team.
With 62 errors committed so far this season, Carbone said the team must be more consistent in the field.
“Three-fourths of our infielders are freshman, and they’re experiencing new things that they didn’t have in high school,” Carbone said. “When guys are juniors or seniors, they’ve heard it from me so many time that they don’t want to hear it so they make sure they get it done.”