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Ohio's right handed pitcher Braxton Kelly (#21) makes a throw against Milwaukee in the final game with a score of 3-2 on Sunday, March 7, 2021.

Baseball: Ohio picks up sweep after defeating Fort Wayne on Saturday

The Bobcats were able to bust out the brooms Saturday afternoon after defeating Purdue Fort Wayne 9-1 at Bob Wren Stadium. Ohio (20-13, 11-9 Mid-American Conference) now has three series sweeps on the season, each picked up while at home.

The slight drizzle in the last few innings did not rain on the Bobcats’ parade. Ohio hit consistently during the game, spreading out its run production among several innings. Harry Witwer-Dukes led the charge with four RBIs in three different innings. Sebastian Fabik followed him closely with two of his own. 

Fans could not go a single inning without hearing the crack of an Ohio bat. Ohio outhit its opponent 12-5. The eager offense also showed patience and drew five walks off the Mastodons (9-21, 6-14 Horizon League). The combination of walks and hits proved to be efficient for the winning team. 

“(The) offense has been clicking on all cylinders,” Witwer-Dukes said. “It was really nice, helping the pitchers out (and) giving them some run support.”

The pitcher in question was Logan Jones, who started on the mound for the Bobcats. Jones gave up a run in the top of the first after a Trenton Stoner single to center but came out dealing in the following inning. He threw two strikeouts and forced a ground ball to set the tone of the game in the second. Jones went on to end the day with a win and six strikeouts to his name. 

Relievers Chace Harris and Collin Sells combined for three innings of work for the Bobcats before turning over the ball to closer Brett Manis in the top of the ninth. Sells’ appearance was his first since April 4. While it was not a long appearance, Sells’ velocity and command took the forefront, leading him to allow only one walk and one hit in his one inning of work.

Ohio is now well over .500, sitting nicely at .606 overall. The series against the Mastodons was to fill a gap in the conference schedule, but that does not mean the Bobcats are going to succumb to the pressure of a MAC matchup next weekend. Ohio began its four-game winning streak in conference play, and this bye-week trio of games helped elevate it to the next level. 

Part of Ohio’s success has come from the offensive consistency that it has developed as of late. The Bobcats have scored five or more runs in the last six of seven games. Interim head coach Craig Moore had been looking for this from his team all season but no longer has to look any further. 

The Bobcats still have work to do in the MAC to climb the standings before the NCAA tournament representative is chosen. Right now, Ohio is at fifth and has only played one of the top five teams so far this season. Its newfound consistency is going to be key going into the tough part of the season.

But first, Ohio must defeat seventh-ranked Kent State before battling the heavy hitters. The Bobcats will look to better their 5-7 road record as they travel to Olga Mural Field at Schoonover Stadium for a four-game series starting April 30. 

“Kent State is a great program. We’ve had a lot of good games with them,” Moore said. “I’m looking forward to getting up there and competing with them.”


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