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Ohio's Jake Madsen, 32, connects for a hit against the Cincinnati Bearcats at Bob Wren Stadium. The 'Cats faced the Bearcats on April 3, 2012. (Jason Chow | File)

Baseball: Bobcats head to North Carolina for triple-header

The Rob Smith era of Ohio baseball is only five games old. With such a small sampling size, it’s hard to craft a perspective of the team’s prospects.

Through the first four games, the Bobcats were adjusting to a new offensive philosophy, as the opposition outscored them 24-7. But in their fifth game against Boston College, Ohio’s offense hung eight runs on the scoreboard and every starting position player recorded a hit in an 8-1 win.

This weekend, Ohio heads to Cary, N.C., for games against Virginia Tech, which is ranked No. 25 in the Baseball America Poll, Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

“We started to see some (offensive production) in the game against Illinois,” Smith said. “With Boston College, we pressured them and put some runners in motion.”

Ohio’s new up-tempo style has the potential of creating a feast or famine situation, as Smith said that its game plan would only work as long as the Bobcats consistently put runners on the base paths.

“We play some good teams, and while we might not have much talent as they do, the up-tempo style could be huge for us,” sophomore first baseman Jake Madsen said.

The Bobcats were a fairly sedentary team in terms of using speed to generate offense in 2012. With the exception of senior center fielder Ethan Newton, who finished the year second in the Mid-American Conference with 23 steals, few players received the green light from former skipper Joe Carbone.

The next highest stolen base total was then-freshman second baseman Ian Mezlak, who swiped five bags in nine attempts and is no longer with the program.

“Last season was a more laid-back style,” Madsen said. “It took a while, but we are starting to figure it out.” 

Madsen and junior infielder Garrett Black pace Ohio with six hits apiece. Madsen and sophomore outfielder Brice Nikithser both have one home run.


3/1 — vs. Virginia Tech — 3:30 p.m.

3/2 — vs. Rhode Island — 12 p.m.

3/3 — vs. Massachusetts — 1 p.m.

3/5 — vs. High Point — 4 p.m.

3/6 — vs. High Point — 4 p.m.

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