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Ohio University first baseman redshirt junior, Taylor Emody, is tagged out at first by a Western Michigan University player. Ohio University defeated Western Michigan University 5-3 at Bob Wren Stadium on Friday, March 28, 2014. 

Ohio takes undefeated show on road to face Georgia State

Ohio is headed to Georgia for a three-game series against Georgia State this weekend.

No matter the team, no matter the opponent, finding consistency over a span of half a dozen games in baseball is difficult.

A pitcher can break down and have a bad outing. An opposing pitcher can have the game of his life. In a close game, you never know who’s going to come up with the clutch hit that decides the game.

Ohio has overcome all of those variables in all six games its played this season, leading to its first 6-0 start since 1965 and instilling a ton of confidence in a team that seems to be finding its footing much quicker than anyone anticipated.

They’ll continue to try to build on that this weekend, as they once again head on the road, this time to face Georgia State (4-4) in a three-game series in Atlanta.

“They’re going to be a better team than what we’ve seen in our first six games,” coach Rob Smith said. “So it’ll be another opportunity to test ourselves, and see where we’re at.”

Ohio is coming off a second-straight series sweep to start the season, the most recent coming on the road at Longwood, where it won by scores of 6-4, 13-2 and 7-6. The Bobcats have a total of nine games remaining on the season-opening road trip before they can play their first scheduled home series.

A big reason for the strong start to the season has been the Bobcats’ consistent offensive numbers. They have a team batting average of .368 entering the weekend, with three players holding a batting average of .400 or better prior to the weekend’s series in Georgia. As a team, the Bobcats lead the Mid-American Conference in seven major offensive categories.

Those big numbers are supported by the consistent play of individuals in the lineup. Jake Madsen enters the weekend with a .519 batting average and eight RBIs while starting all six games thus far for Ohio, while Mitch Longo and Tyler Wells are coming off a series in which they combined for three home runs.

International transfer, Manny DeJesus, has performed admirably in his first six games as a Bobcat, reaching base in all six games and compiling a .400 batting average.

As the offense already appears to be in midseason form, the Bobcats are still looking for their pitching to have the same consistency. Last weekend’s series saw a big improvement in the staff, as Jake Rudnicki bounced back from a rough opening day start to earn a win, while Connor Sitz provided another strong outing to start his season with a 2-0 record and a 2.45 ERA.

“On the mound, we simply have to keep making teams earn their runs,” Smith said. “We had that couple instances (last) weekend where we gave up runs that didn’t really require a lot of effort on the opposing team, so we just need to continue to improve. Our pitching staff is going to continue to develop as move through the season.”

Georgia State carries a .500 record into the series and most recently split a four-game series with UMass-Lowell.

Rudnicki, Sitz and Evan Geist are the probable starters for the upcoming series.



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