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Ohio's Logan Jacik pitches during a game against Ohio State.

Baseball: Big winds, bigger bats doom Ohio pitching in series loss to Ball State

Ohio baseball loses three-game series to Ball State 1-2. 

Heading into the bottom of the fifth inning of Saturday’s game between Ohio and Ball State, the Bobcats held a commanding 13-4 lead and seemed well on their way to a series-clinching win.

Instead, the Cardinals rattled off 13 runs throughout the next four innings, exploded for 20 on Sunday and sent Ohio home more than a little shell-shocked.

The Bobcats won Friday’s season opener 12-6 in 10 innings before falling 17-14 on Saturday and 20-3 on Sunday. They exited the weekend with an 11-16 record, 2-4 inside the Mid-American Conference.

Ohio coach Rob Smith was not available for comment Sunday. 

Though pitching was problematic during the series, but it didn’t start out that way.

Pitcher Jake Miller began the series on the mound for Ohio on Friday and compiled a solid five innings of work, in which he allowed just three runs while scattering seven hits and three walks. He exited the game with a 5-3 lead.

Ball State rallied late to force extra innings, but an offensive explosion by the Bobcats led to a six-run 10th frame that gave them the win. Pitcher Jake Roehn was awarded the win thanks to three innings of relief in which he allowed just one run.

That six-run inning wasn’t the last, or even the biggest explosion of the weekend, though. Strong, 50 mph wind gusts blowing out of the park lent a couple of already powerful lineups a big boost Saturday, as the two teams combined for five homers on the afternoon.

Ohio appeared to bust the game wide open in the fourth inning, scoring nine runs to jump ahead of Ball State, 10-3. The Bobcats continued to pour it on in the fifth inning, adding three more runs and gaining what seemed like an almost insurmountable nine-run lead.

That’s when the Cardinals got their bats going.

Ball State began to chip away at the deficit slowly, getting one run back in the bottom of the fifth before posting run totals of five in the sixth, four in the seventh and three in the eighth. The 14 runs Ohio scored are the most its scored in a loss since a 20-15 defeat against Youngstown State on March 19, 2013.

The Cardinals' offense wasn’t slowed down any Sunday. Unfortunately for Ohio, it just all the momentum stayed with Ball State. The Cardinals were constantly on the base paths thanks to 20 hits and nine walks, along with four errors made by the Bobcats’ defense Sunday. Much like Saturday, Ball State picked the middle-to-late innings to pack its biggest punch, racking up 14 runs in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings combined.

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Ohio third baseman John Adryan was Ohio’s biggest star on offense during the weekend, going 6-for-15 at bat with a pair of home runs and three RBI’s. He now has nine home runs on the season, tied for most in the MAC.

Mitch Longo responded well to a transition to the leadoff spot with a 7-for-13 showing at bat in the series, including five RBI’s. Mateus Vakuda also tallied his first career home run during the weekend.


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