When it came to pitching in Ohio’s first game against Morehead State on Friday, the Bobcats were rock solid.
Joe Rock, a leftie, started, won and pitched a no hitter in Ohio’s 6-0 shutout win (seven innings) over the Eagles at Bob Wren Stadium. It was the first of his collegiate career.
“It felt great,“ Rock said about dominating the mound. “ I had a really good summer so I’m just trying to carry that into the season.”
In seven innings pitched, Rock had six strikeouts, walked two batters and threw with pace and precision. He dominated the count and continuously put the defense in positions to succeed. With Rock throwing his best stuff, the Ohio offense was able to cruise.
The Bobcats got on the board in the first inning, and like every run in the game, it was unearned. Five Eagles errors resulted in runs for Spencer Harbert, Mason Minzey, Treyben Funderburg and Harry Witwer Dukes.
By the end of the fourth inning, Ohio was in full control. Rock just had to stay solid.
“The fastball and slider were working good for me,“ Rock said. “ Didn’t really need the changeup. Just felt like I didn’t need to.”
But throwing a no-hitter is way more than just pitch variation. The defense has to show up for their pitcher. And Ohio did. The Bobcats had no errors and made the day even easier for the junior leftie.
Rock, however, didn’t think about his career day until the final inning. At that point there was nothing the Eagles could do to shake him. If anyone was going to ruin his streak, it would be himself.
“I didn’t really want to think about it and jinx myself,“ Rock said. “But going out last inning and seeing ground ball after ground ball was a good feeling.”
Despite starting the afternoon dominant, Ohio (2-3) finished the day on a sour note, losing to the Eagles 3-1 in game two of their doubleheader. Ohio will be back in action on Sunday when they face Morehead State again on the road in another doubleheader. First pitch is set for 1 p.m.