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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 secures series split with Northern Illinois

Ohio started and finished the weekend strong, but things got bumpy in the middle. 

After winning Friday’s game at Northern Illinois, the Bobcats dropped both games during Saturday’s doubleheader, but stole a series stalemate from the Huskies after a 10-6 win on Sunday. 

Ohio (17-13, 11-9 Mid-American Conference) now sits in fifth place in the MAC standings after its weekend battle. The Bobcats get a break from the MAC gauntlet next week when Ohio faces Purdue Fort Wayne in a three-game series starting Friday. 

But first, let’s recap the Bobcats’ up, down and then up again weekend:

GAME 1: Ohio 19, NIU 5 

Ohio’s bats were physical Friday, but I don’t think anyone saw the beatdown coming. 

The Bobcats scored 19 runs off 17 hits, both season highs during its 14-run blowout victory. Isaiah Peterson led the Bobcats, going 3-for-5 with a triple, a walk, five RBIs and four runs scored. But the score in a way was a bit deceiving. 

Ohio trailed the Huskies 4-1 up until the fourth inning. Bobcats’ ace Joe Rock won his sixth straight start, but it didn’t come easy. The offense had his back after a six-run inning and never let up. 

GAME 2: Ohio 1, NIU 9

The Huskies went to bed with a salty taste in their mouth Friday, but woke up for Saturday’s doubleheader with an edge. 

Ohio was lit up in game one after Northern Illinois led wire to wire, jumping out to a two-run lead in the first inning. 

Northern Illinois scored one run in the fourth inning with a double and added a run in the fifth by way of a home run. The Huskies killed all hope the sixth with a grand slam. 

Braxton Kelly took the loss for Ohio after allowing four earned runs (two strikeouts) in 4.0 innings. 

Game 3: Ohio 9, NIU 10 

Ohio woke up for a more competitive game three Saturday, but still couldn’t take a series advantage after falling 10-9. 

The Bobcats nearly pulled out the win after rallying with three runs in the sixth inning to take a 7-4 lead. Unfortunately for the Bobcats, the Huskies would respond with six runs of their own. 

The Bobcats bats eventually ran out of magic after pulling within one run in the final inning. The game-tying run was stranded on second. 

Game 4: Ohio 10, NIU 6

Seven runs in the final four innings was all Ohio needed to pull off the series finale win on Sunday. 

Once again, the Huskies jumped out to an early lead against Brett Mannis (4.0 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 4 E), but the Bobcats stayed the course. Interim head coach Craig Moore made the switch to Chace Harris in the fifth inning, and the right-handed senior earned his second win of the season. 

Behind Harris, the Bobcats cooled off the Huskies’ offense up until two desperate runs in the ninth inning before Edward Kutt IV finished Northern Illinois off with two final strikeouts. 


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