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Ohio's Jake Miller pitches during a game against Western Michigan on March 29, 2016. The Bobcats defeated Shawnee State 9-1 in their season opener Thursday. (FILE)

Baseball: Stranded runners bite Ohio in series loss at Bowling Green

Coming into the weekend, coach Rob Smith’s main concern with his offense wasn’t about its production, but its timeliness.

Coming into the weekend, coach Rob Smith’s main concern with his offense wasn’t about its production, but its timeliness.

Exiting the weekend, it’s difficult to imagine that’s changed.

Ohio fell to Bowling Green in two out of three games on the road over the weekend, claiming a 10-5 victory Sunday, but falling by scores of 5-4 and 6-2 Friday and Saturday.

The Bobcats record fell to 16-19 on the season and 5-7 in the Mid-American Conference with the series loss.

The series began with a one-run loss Friday that some timely Ohio hitting could have turned around considerably.

The Bobcats got runners into scoring position in each of the first four innings of the game, but scored just one run. Ohio grounded into double plays in two of those innings, and hit into a third in the seventh inning.

Coincidentally, Bowling Green (13-23, 4-8 MAC) did all of its damage for the game in the early going, scoring off of senior Jake Miller (2-6), who took the loss after giving up five runs, four earned, in six innings pitched.

Saturday’s game was more of the same, but could have turned into a victory if not for more missed chances by Ohio.

The Bobcats scored just two runs despite recording 11 hits and reaching base four other times total via hit batsmen and errors by the Falcons.

Ohio stranded 13 baserunners on the afternoon, with the ninth inning being the only one that ended without runners on base for the Bobcats.

All of those runners left on base victimized redshirt junior Jake Rudnicki (4-1) the most, who took his first loss of the season despite a quality start of six innings and three runs allowed.

Ohio continued to rack up baserunners Sunday, but this time, it paid off.

A large part of that was the Bobcats hitting the long ball for the first time in the series, with freshman first baseman Rudy Rott connecting on a three-run home run and junior second baseman Ty Black adding a solo shot for his first home run of the season.

Rott drove in a total of four runs out of the second spot in the lineup.

Junior Tom Colletti earned the weekend’s lone win for Ohio, thanks to five innings of terrific relief pitching in which he surrendered just two runs.

Senior Connor Sitz lasted just three innings in his start on the day, as he gave up three runs on four hits, including three walks.

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Junior left fielder Mitch Longo put together a strong series for the Bobcats, going 5-for-13 with one RBI. Black also served as a fine tablesetter, going 3-for-11 and scoring five runs on the weekend.

Ohio will return home to take on Morehead State on Tuesday at 6:00 p.m.

@_TonyWolfe_

aw987712@ohio.edu

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