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Ohio's Harry Witwer-Dukes strikes out Milwaukee's Ty Olejnik's return back to first base on Sunday, March 7, 2021.

Baseball: Ohio's offense continues to sputter in crunch time

Ohio’s hitters were productive at the plate in its series against Bowing Green this past weekend, but not when it truly mattered most. 

The Bobcats dropped three of their last four games against the Falcons despite outhitting Bowling Green in two of those losses. Leaving runners on base hurt Ohio and was the difference between wins and losses for its opening weekend of Mid-American Conference play. 

The series started off strong Saturday. The Bobcats were led by pitcher Joe Rock, who gave up two hits and one run in six innings. Edward Kutt IV and Brett Manis each gave up a hit in their combined three innings of work, allowing the Falcons four on the day. This total would be two under the Bobcats’ six. Ohio came out on top in the runs column as well, outscoring the Falcons 2-1 for a win. 

The tides would soon shift for the battling Bobcats. Ohio dropped both games of a Sunday doubleheader where the runs were slowly crossing the plate. Bowling Green put up six runs off nine hits compared to Ohio’s two off eight. The run deficit was expanded by two of Bowling Green’s hits being home runs from Kyle Gurney. Despite this, Ohio had enough runners on base to cut down the lead and left six on base that day. 

Game two had a similar fate, as the Bobcats lost 5-2, but this time, the Bobcats outhit the Falcons eight to seven. Ohio left six on base in the second game, and Bowling Green only left two. Both of the Bobcats’ runs in this game came off a Trevor Lukkes home run in the bottom of the seventh, and nothing ever came of the other seven hits from other innings. 

Monday’s game was eye-opening for the offense. Ohio got down quickly in the first after several big hits from Bowling Green. At the end of the day, Ohio picked up its biggest loss of the season to the tune of 11-5. 

What went wrong for the Bobcats is they went 4-for-16 with runners in scoring position. They had 12 hits over Bowling Green’s nine, but they could not make something come of it. The Bobcats left 13 on base that night. 

It all boils down to the inability to produce when it mattered most. Bowling Green knew how to make something work whenever they needed runs or thought there was a chance Ohio could come back. Also, it took advantage of miscues created by the Bobcats’ defense to move more runners across the base paths, something Ohio was not doing on the offensive side. 

Ohio also was continuously getting off to a slow start. It did not put a run up until the bottom of the seventh inning in three of the four games this past weekend. Getting an early jump not only helps a team offensively but defensively as well because it gives the pitcher more run support and room to breathe. 

“We call it game situations,” Moore said. “That’s where the momentum can change drastically if you get a big hit in those situations.”

Bowling Green perfectly represented the game situations throughout the series. Each time the Falcons got a big hit, the momentum swung their way and would stay there for the majority of the game. Ohio was never able to capture the lead or the momentum the same way its opponent was. 

“We need to get better at it in terms of the offensive side of things,” Moore said.

Ohio has very little time to fix these issues, as its next series begins Friday at home at Bob Wren Stadium against the Central Michigan Chippewas. 

@ashleybeachy_ 

ab026319@ohio.edu

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