Ohio split a doubleheader at Bob Wren Stadium on Saturday with Toledo.
The Bobcats won the first game and lost the second. The win in the early game gave Ohio the series win.
“We knew coming in we had to (win the series),” coach Rob Smith said. “Obviously, it would have been nice to get a sweep.”
Jack Liberatore continued his strong season in the first of Saturday’s games. He threw 7 2/3 scoreless innings, struck out eight and led Ohio to a 5-2 win.
“(That gives us) a lot of confidence going into next weekend,” Liberatore said.
His effort saved the Ohio bullpen from exerting too much effort in the early game. Brett Manis recorded the last two outs despite giving up two runs on two hits.
Ohio found ways to manufacture runs. Nate Mallott scored the first of Ohio’s runs on a wild pitch after he was moved around the bases with a sacrifice bunt and a grounder to the right side.
Aaron Levy scored on a fielder’s choice, and Trevor Hafner scored from a Sebastian Fabik safety squeeze. Mallott reached home on another wild pitch, and Hafner had a sacrifice fly in the seventh.
“We did a good job from an execution standpoint,” Smith said.
Ohio only had to use two pitchers — Liberatore and Manis — in Game One but had to cycle through six arms in the second game. Kenny Ogg got the start and pitched into the fifth, but Ohio’s bullpen faltered after.
Joe Rock gave up four runs and didn’t record an out; he took the loss. Every other bullpen pitcher for Ohio gave up a run except Chace Harris, who secured the final two outs in the ninth.
The bullpen struggles led to a 12-8 loss for Ohio.
There were two passed balls and a wild pitch that scored runs for the Rockets.
The Bobcats defense also faltered multiple times in the second game, committing three errors in the game. Only one error led to a run, but Ohio’s defense kept giving Toledo bases, giving them more opportunities to push runs across.
“I think we broke down in a lot of areas,” Smith said. “We broke down defensively. We had some wild pitch, passed ball issues, walks, hit by pitches. It just wasn’t a very clean game.”
Toledo pushed three across in the second inning against Ogg, but that was the only damage he allowed. Ohio scored four in the second and third innings, highlighted by a two-run single from Hafner.
Ogg kept the scoresheet clean until the sixth when he was pulled in favor of Rock, who allowed his four runs on two hits, a walk and a hit batter. Nick Kamrada also gave up a run in the Rocket’s five-run sixth. He only recorded one out before Braxton Kelly came in to shut the door.
Ohio cut the Toledo lead to one in the sixth, but four insurance runs ensured that Toledo would steal a game in the series.
Ohio will travel to Huntington, West Virginia, for a mid-week game against Marshall. First pitch is set for 3 p.m.