In a must-win game for the Bobcats, one of Ohio’s most unlikely players came up big in an unlikely way.
With the bases loaded in a tied game in the bottom of the 10th inning, relief first baseman Tyler Backstrom took a pitch off his knee to bring in the winning run, giving Ohio the 10-9 victory over rival Miami Saturday.
“I was still kicking myself for that error I had earlier in the game, and I just wanted to do whatever I could to get the seniors out on a win,” Backstrom said.
“We needed a win in any way we could get it.”
Despite the win, the Bobcats did not get the help it needed from Buffalo and did not qualify for the Mid-American Conference tournament.
After falling behind 3-0 in the first inning, the Bobcats (27-27, 11-16 MAC) rallied and held an 8-3 lead heading into the eighth.
But a two-run home run from Miami’s Bryce Redeker followed by another run in the eighth brought the RedHawks (32-24, 18-9 MAC) within two runs.
With one run already scored in the ninth inning, Backstrom allowed a ball to get past him down the first-base line, scoring the tying run for the RedHawks.
Miami would add one more run to take a 9-8 lead heading into the bottom of the ninth.
After Ethan Newton’s two-out RBI tied the game in the ninth, Backstrom made up for his misplay in the tenth by taking the pitch off his knee.
The Bobcat dugout erupted onto the field in celebration as Backstrom winced in pain.
“Usually getting hit by a pitch doesn’t feel too good, but in this case I’ll take it,” Backstrom said.
Jason Moulton’s pitching performance was almost lost in the wild finish. After allowing three runs in the first inning, he pitched six scoreless innings allowing
only five hits.
“I think this was good for his confidence,” said coach Joe Carbone. “He’s had a lot of arm trouble, and he didn’t have his pitches working at first, but he still did a great job today.”
In need of a win and a Bowling Green loss, Carbone said he never gave up on his team despite falling behind.
“You never know in baseball; the game is never over until the last out,” Carbone said. “It’s always nice to beat Miami — in anything.”