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Ohio right-handed pitcher Jake Miller pitches during the Ohio vs. Bowling Green game Friday at Bob Wren Stadium. Ohio lost 4-2. 

Ohio to begin nine-game homestand with Eastern Kentucky on Tuesday

The Bobcats start a nine-game home stand against Eastern Kentucky on Tuesday and continue it against Rio Grande on Wednesday. 

 

It’s not typical for a team to be entering a late-season homestand searching to correct its play on its home diamond.

Then again, this hasn’t been a typical season for Ohio.

As Ohio prepares for two weeks of play at Bob Wren Stadium, its home field, the Bobcats will look to put on a different face than what they have shown home crowds so far this season. Ohio is 3-5 at home this season, and its first chance at reconciling that record will be in a game against Eastern Kentucky on Tuesday.

“I’m looking forward to seeing us play better at home,” coach Rob Smith said. “So far this season, we’ve played much better on the road than we have at our home park. So I’m excited for the chance to put some wins together and start playing better at Wren Stadium.”

The nine-game homestand begins with a pair of midweek games this week against Eastern Kentucky and Rio Grande, followed by back-to-back home weekends against Akron and Toledo, then a final mid-week game against Dayton. The Bobcats won’t play another road game until May 8. Ohio is 12-8 on the road this season and 7-2 on neutral sites.

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The three wins the Bobcats have collected at home this season haven’t come without their share of drama.

Ohio trailed 5-0 in its lone victory against Western Michigan, won 11-8 in its victory against Marshall, and was down 7-5 entering its final inning against Bowling Green before stringing together a three-run walk-off effort.

The eight home games the Bobcats have played are indeed a small sample size, but the difference in numbers versus their away and neutral site games isn’t exactly negligible. The Bobcats have been outscored by precisely two runs a game at home, while they have outscored their opponents by one run a game in their other 29 contests.

None of this is to say Ohio doesn’t have momentum on its side entering this latest slate of games. It’s coming off a series win against Kent State, who entered the weekend as the Mid-American Conference East division’s best team.

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It will begin this home stand with single midweek games against Eastern Kentucky (14-21) and Rio Grande (26-20). The Bobcats began facing Eastern Kentucky annually in the spring of 2009, and won their first matchup between the two teams, but have since dropped four of their last five meetings.

Rio Grande is a NAIA team that was added to Ohio’s schedule just last week. Despite not competing at the same collegiate level as the Bobcats, Rio Grande should not be taken lightly as the RedStorm knocked off the Bobcats 2-0 at Wren Stadium last season.

Ohio looks a lot different this season than it has in years past, and, as on paper, these next two games are soft spots on the Bobcats’ schedule. Ohio could look to take advantage of that by allowing an unproven pitcher a chance to pace the team from the start, or it can continue its philosophy of pitching by committee during midweek games.

aw987712@ohio.edu

@_tonywolfe_

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