Edward Kutt IV has been excellent in each of his starts this season. He is efficient, goes deep into games and, most importantly, he doesn’t give up runs.
Friday night was an exception.
Ohio lost its first of three games against Kent State 12-3 at Bob Wren Stadium after Kutt allowed a season-high six earned runs on 10 hits and four walks in 4 2/3 innings.
“He was competing,” coach Rob Smith said. “Obviously he maybe wasn’t as sharp as he was last weekend, but Kent put some pretty good swings on him.”
After rain delayed the game by a total of an hour and thirty minutes, Kutt never settled into a groove and immediately had to escape trouble.
Getting out of tough situations is something that Kutt had been exceptional at this season. He’s been Ohio’s best pitcher since he was placed into the weekend rotation three weeks ago, and he pitched eight innings in each of his last two starts and allowed just one earned run in his last 16 innings.
But it was obvious something went wrong for Kutt in the fourth and fifth innings Friday. Kent State was hitting balls harder and more consistently than any opponent has against the right-hander this season.
Kutt had only given up three home runs all season in just under 50 innings pitched. All of those were given up when he was pitching in relief, and he had yet to surrender a home run as a starter.
On Friday, he gave up three home runs in two innings, including one that went over the protective netting in left field and sailed into the parking lot — roughly a 400-foot blast.
The rest of the Bobcats offered Kutt little help. Ohio (14-25, 8-8 MAC) didn’t plate its first run until the fifth inning against Connor Wollersheim, who was knocked around for 10 runs in less than three innings in his last start against Northern Illinois.
The lack of run support meant that Kutt was in line for his second loss of the season and first since April 7.
Luckily the Bobcats have another ace, Jack Liberatore, set to pitch Saturday as they look to bounce back in what will be a must-win game in terms of the Mid-American Conference standings.
Ohio will need to be much more effective at the plate, too. Kent State is starting Trevor Pittman, who is 1-0 with a 3.28 ERA this season.
“We better be [more aggressive],” Smith said. “Or the score is going to look the same.”