Ohio’s season might have just hit a turning point.
The Bobcats earned their first sweep of 2019 after winning three games against Eastern Michigan this weekend in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Ohio (13-24, 8-7 Mid-American Conference) now has a conference record above .500 for the first time all season and remains in the race for a MAC Tournament spot with 12 conference games left.
Here’s what happened in each game:
Ohio didn’t take long to score runs against the worst pitching staff in the MAC.
A three-run first inning that included two bases-loaded walks gave the Bobcats the lead for good Friday in their 6-1 win to open the series. Every batter but Cole Revels and Sebastian Fabik — who both still combined for three walks — recorded a hit and chased EMU starter Scott Granzotto after the fourth inning.
Ohio starter Edward Kutt IV lasted much longer than his opponent. The sophomore pitched eight innings for a second consecutive outing and allowed one earned run on seven hits and two walks while striking out six batters.
Kutt dominated the bottom half of the Eagles’ lineup and didn’t allow a hit from the six-through-nine batters. It was everything coach Rob Smith could have hoped for from Kutt, who has allowed just four earned runs in his last 32 innings and has emerged as one of the toughest pitchers in the conference.
Ohio’s offense further dominated EMU’s pitching Sunday in its Game One 8-2 win; every player in Ohio’s lineup recorded a hit, and a four-run fifth inning gave the Bobcats all they needed to secure another victory.
Jack Liberatore pitched 6 1/3 innings and allowed two earned runs on four hits and four walks. The redshirt freshman pitched his second consecutive quality start, and it was the ninth time he’s allowed three or less earned runs in a start this year.
The Game Two win might be the best victory Ohio had this weekend.
That’s because Kenny Ogg, who has battled consistency issues all season, pitched the Bobcats’ first complete game of the season in their 6-3 series finale win. The senior threw 73 strikes and allowed eight hits and two walks while striking out six batters.
At the plate, the Bobcats hit a season-high four home runs, including a first-inning two-run shot from Aaron Levy that gave Ohio a lead it never lost.
But it was Ogg who shined most. Two weeks ago, his spot in the weekend rotation was at stake if his struggles continued against Toledo and EMU, two of the weakest offensive teams in the MAC.
Ogg held both opponents to three runs, though, and his complete game Sunday likely solidifies his spot in the rotation for the future. With Kutt, Liberatore and a more consistent Ogg, the Bobcats will likely make a solid case for a spot in the MAC Tournament.