Ohio’s revolving door of problems took another spin after its doubleheader against Northern Illinois. This time, the issue wasn’t with the Bobcats’ bats, but with their heads.
Coach Joe Carbone was relatively pleased with the offense following a 7-5 win and 19-10 loss to the Huskies Sunday at Bob Wren Stadium. After all, in one day, the Bobcats had equaled their total run output of their five-game losing streak that preceded the win in game one.
“We did a better job of pitch selection and swinging the bat (Sunday),” Carbone said. “Of course, I’m never totally happy about anything.”
Specifically, Carbone wasn’t ecstatic about the Bobcats’ lack of control on the mound, especially in game two.
Starter Jason Moulton, who Carbone called one of Ohio’s best pitchers, walked six batters and hit two more in 4 2/3 innings of work in the second game.
Both hit batters came in the fifth inning, when the Bobcats blew a 9-4 lead. The first time, Moulton nailed the Huskies’ Alex Beckmann with the bases loaded to score one of Northern Illinois’ 10 runs in the inning.
But Carbone said there isn’t much the coaches can do to help pitchers’ control. This was evident when he left Moulton in the game well after he’d given up his 10th run.
“That comes from within them,” Carbone said. “Part of throwing strikes is a little bit emotional. You have to control your emotions, control yourself.”
Carbone compared the pitchers’ problem to a student who prepares efficiently for a test but then freezes up when it comes time to take it.
“It’s because you didn’t know your material well enough,” Carbone said. “That’s what a freeze-up is.”
Carbone said that in some cases, pitchers overthrow the ball trying to do too much.
“Most of the problem with our guys throwing strikes is they’re overthrowing the ball instead of staying within themselves. … You have to control your emotions, control your fundamentals.”
The coaches’ solution is to get players more repetitions. Carbone said the pitchers need to practice until they approach game situations confident and loose.