For two weekends in a row, the team taking on Ohio has entered the series at No. 1 in the Mid-American Conference East division.
And with five wins in six games during those two weekends, the Bobcats have certainly proven themselves more than capable of taking on anyone in the conference.
Ohio (26-15, 11-7) will need to prove itself yet again this weekend, although this time, it’s the one who will go in with the top spot to lose. The Bobcats will host Toledo (18-26, 10-8) at Bob Wren Stadium for a three game set this weekend. Toledo enters the weekend as the second-ranked team in the MAC West.
Ohio began the in-conference season with a pair of series losses, but have since won three out of its last four series, including a pair of sweeps. The Bobcats took two out of three games from Kent State on the road two weekends ago, before returning home last week and defeating Eastern Kentucky last Tuesday before earning a sweep against Akron.
One of the biggest reasons for the turnaround within the MAC for Ohio has been the establishment of its starting pitching, and that has started with the re-insertion of Jake Miller into the Bobcats’ rotation. Miller began the season as a closer, but made his first start of the season in the series opener against Buffalo over Easter weekend.
Since then, Miller has been Ohio’s ace. He’s thrown a team-high 23 innings since his move to the rotation, striking out 21 while allowing just seven walks and 24 hits, and holding a 2.35 ERA. The Bobcats have also gotten a turnaround from Jake Rudnicki who, after falling from first to third in the rotation, has a current streak of four straight starts of at least five innings pitched, with a 4.95 ERA in those four starts.
Toledo will have its work cut out for it against Ohio’s revitalized pitching staff, as it enters as the MAC’s worst offense. The Rockets rank last in the conference in batting, slugging and runs scored. Meanwhile, Toledo’s pitching staff ranks just ahead of Ohio’s in ERA, ranking fourth in the MAC while the Bobcats hold the fifth spot.
The series will start on Friday with a 6:00p.m. start time, with Saturday’s game starting at 7:00p.m. and Sunday’s game starting at 1:00p.m.