Possibly the greatest asset of Ohio coach Rob Smith’s policy of pitching by committee in mid-week games is the fact it takes the pressure off one individual to carry the team for several innings.
This strategy was implemented in Tuesday night’s game against Youngstown State, in which eight different pitchers helped put away the Penguins following the Bobcats’ first game since suffering their worst loss of the season on Sunday.
Ohio bounced back from an early deficit and rallied for four runs in the sixth inning to defeat Youngstown State 6-3 in Youngstown. Sophomore Corey Wells (1-0) earned his first win of the season with two innings pitched, while senior Logan Cozart shut the door to earn his seventh save.
The Bobcats fell 11-1 in the rubber match of its series with Bowling Green on Sunday.
Redshirt senior Evan Geist got the ball first and was able to strand a pair of walks in the opening frame before turning the ball over to freshman Logan Jacik, who pitched a perfect second inning.
Senior Jeremy Cronk appeared to be continuing with that same pace as he retired his first two hitters in the third, but things went south quickly when a single and a walk gave the Penguins a pair of baserunners. Senior lefthander Spencer Sapp then hit a batter and surrendered another two-out single that plated the first two runs of the day for Youngstown State.
The Penguins’ outburst must have woken up what was then a hitless Ohio lineup, as sophomore Mitch Longo and senior Jake Madsen each came up with one-out hits in the following inning. Both players then came around to score on a two-out, two-run single by redshirt junior Cody Gaertner that tied the game.
Youngstown State regained its lead in the bottom of the fifth, when a solo home run off the bat of Josh Fitch pushed the Penguins back in front 3-2. But again, the new number on the home half of the scoreboard breathed life into the Ohio offense.
The Bobcats got a pair of one-out base runners with a single by Madsen and a walk by senior Tyler Wells. That’s when Gaertner again came up big, this time putting a ball just inside the right field foul line and picking up a double, along with his third and fourth RBIs of the evening. Gaertner would go on to score on an RBI double by John Adryan, who would then score on a groundout by redshirt junior Manny DeJesus.
In addition to Gaertner’s performance, Longo finished the game with a 3-for-4 performance at the plate, while Madsen finished 2-for-5 with a pair of runs scored.
Youngstown State recorded just four hits against the Bobcats, making it the fourth game this season Ohio has used the pitch-by-committee strategy.
The ability to limit opposing hits in those games has spoken for itself. Opponents are hitting .194 against the Bobcats in those four games, versus a .277 batting average in the 30 games Ohio did not use the strategy.