With two outs, one on and Ohio down a run in the bottom of the ninth, Taylor Emody smacked a pitch deep to right field.
Eastern Kentucky right fielder Michael Garcia backed up farther and farther as
he tracked it, until he arrived at the warning track and then the wall. If it carried over, the nine runners Ohio stranded and the 14 hits it allowed to the Colonels would be afterthoughts.
Instead, the ball landed with a thud in Garcia’s glove, and those dour statistics returned to the top of the list of reasons why Ohio had lost its fifth straight game yesterday, 5-4 at Bob Wren Stadium.
“Emody jumped on one,” coach Joe Carbone said. “I thought it might have been out or up against the fence. We gave it a run. We were right there. We were a couple inches away from tying the game up.”
The Bobcats fell to 15-18 with the loss to Eastern Kentucky, which picked up its 11th win of the year.
Clutch pitching was in abundance as the Colonels had 14 hits but left 12 men on base. Ohio had 10 hits and stranded nine, three of which came when reserve catcher J.R. Reynolds grounded out to end the fourth inning.
“We need to drive runners in,” Carbone said. “We need to square at more balls. We need to do a better job with breaking balls.”
The Colonels got on the board early when A.J. Jamison singled in the second at-bat of the game. After stealing second, Jamison scored off a single from Bryan Soloman. Jamison and Soloman both had four hits.
Eastern Kentucky added to the lead in the fifth, when catcher Sean Hagen singled, then advanced to third by way of a stolen base and wild pitch. Two batters later, Jamison doubled him home.
Ohio evened the game in the bottom of the inning when left fielder Jensen Painter doubled to score pinch hitters Bryan Barnes and Seth Streich.
By the bottom of the ninth, however, the Bobcats were down by one. To close the ballgame, the Colonels brought in Ryne Purcell, who started the inning by blowing fastball after fastball by Ohio’s first two hitters. When Painter came to the plate as the Bobcats’ last hope, Purcell had thrown six pitches for two strikeouts.
“He was throwing major-league heat,” Carbone said. “He was above 90 (miles an hour), big time. He’s a real prospect.”
Painter fell to 0-2 in the count before powering the third pitch over the second basemen’s head for a single. Then Emody stepped in and came as close to a home run as any hitter all evening.