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Ohio's Brett Barber pitches during the Bobcats' game against Otterbein at Bob Wren Stadium. From the time junior Brett Barber took to the hill, Ohio settled down and worked its way into a groove, as the Bobcats cruised to a 11-5 victory Wednesday.

Baseball: Ohio slides into home victory over Otterbein after slow start

Just like Wednesday’s weather, where thunderstorms washed away the first portion of the afternoon, the start of Ohio’s game against Otterbein was dreary at best. From the time junior Brett Barber took to the hill, Ohio settled down and worked its way into a groove, as the Bobcats cruised to a 11-5 victory.

Freshman pitcher Nick Plys made the start on the mound for the Bobcats (11-13), but was replaced two runs and one out later. The Cardinals (13-7) cashed in on three hits during his brief outing. 

When Barber (2-0) took the mound, Otterbein’s offense slowed down. Barber allowed only one earned run on five hits through 8 2/3 innings.“Any time you have a good outing it boosts your confidence,” Barber said. “It feels good to go out and hit those pitches consistently and get your breaking ball over the plate.”

Neither team showed much offensive moxie in the second inning, but the Bobcats got the bats moving in the bottom of the third, courtesy of offensive contributions from freshman left fielder Tyler Wells, senior center fielder Ethan Newton and freshman designated hitter Jake Madsen.

The Bobcats’ lead didn’t last long, as the Cardinals struck again in the fifth, scoring two on a Greg Moomaw triple. 

Wells led off the fifth inning with a triple to deep center, over center fielder Bobby Hildebrand’s head. The outfielder’s miscue wasn’t a deciding factor, though, as senior first baseman Jensen Painter blasted his first of two home runs of the game in the next at-bat. He upped his season tally to 10 homers. 

Madsen continued the Bobcat barrage with a double to the left-center field gap and later scored on a Kyle Dean lineout. Freshman second baseman Ian

Mezlak continued the rally with a triple down the right-field line, narrowly avoiding the tag at third. 

In an attempt to squelch the Bobcat’s progress, the Cardinals replaced pitcher Dominic Porretta (2-2) with Matt Frey. 

Frey could not stop the Bobcats, as junior pinch hitter Tyler Backstrom and sophomore shortstop Garrett Black took back-to-back pitches to the outfield to make it a five-run fifth inning. 

Cardinal first baseman Billy Harkenrider pounded a drive over the right-center field fence in the seventh, but that was the last significant offense that Otterbein would muster.

Painter continued his individual offensive onslaught in the eighth inning, knocking his second home run of the evening well beyond the left-field fence.

Ohio coach Joe Carbone said that he saw a more complete team effort against the Cardinals. 

“I thought Brett Barber came in and gave us a great shot in the arm by throwing strikes and doing a good job in relief,” Carbone said. “And Painter’s been swinging the bat well all year and gave us a couple jacks that put us ahead.”

He also mentioned Dean and Wells’ offensive outings. The duo combined for four hits and a pair of RBIs.

Four Ohio starters had multiple hits, while only a pair did not record a base hit in the contest. 

“Anytime you get that big lead, it helps you because you have the leeway to do whatever you want out there on defense,” Barber said.


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