Ohio was one win away from picking up its first sweep of a Mid-American Conference opponent this season against Eastern Michigan.
The Bobcats had defeated the Eagles by four runs or more in each of the first three games of the series. In those three games, the Bobcats struck fast and rarely slowed down.
But Ohio came to a screeching halt in game four. Eastern Michigan sneaked away with a 3-1 win and shut down Ohio’s chance to secure a sweep.
Here is how the weekend went for the Bobcats:
Ohio hit a groove on Friday. It scored first after a triple by Colin Kasperbauer and a single by Mason Minzey. By the end of the eighth, Ohio had tacked on another seven runs.
The eighth inning was the Bobcats’ best. Cael Baker hit his first home run of the season, and Nick Dolan notched his second of the year to give the Bobcats a boost. But by the end of the eighth inning, the Eagles were within one run of the Bobcats.
Ohio set itself apart in the top of the ninth inning, however. Minzey hit a double to right center to bring a run home, and two sacrifice plays tacked on two more runs. The late push earned Ohio a 12-8 win.
Brett Manis earned a save for his efforts in the eighth and ninth innings. Manis was the only Ohio pitcher to not allow a run or walk a batter on Friday. Manis struck out three over one and one-thirds innings.
Ohio worked through Saturday’s doubleheader with ease. It scored seven runs in the fifth inning to secure a 12-4 win in game one.
The Bobcats showcased their versatility at the plate in the fifth. After Kasperbauer hit a triple, the Bobcats pieced together a flurry of singles and doubles to grant themselves a substantial lead.
Jake Tate had his second-best performance of the season during game one. Tate allowed only one run and five hits over four and one-thirds innings of work. The last time Tate threw that clean was against Eastern Kentucky in late February, when he allowed four hits and no runs.
Nothing changed for Ohio’s offense between games one and two. Ohio stayed red-hot and knocked 15 hits to earn a 14-8 win. Six of those hits came from Minzey alone. He led the way with two doubles, a triple and four RBIs.
The offense backed freshman Hudson Boncal, who earned his third start of the season Saturday. Boncal was knocked around by the Eagles and was subsequently replaced by another freshman, Adam Beery. Beery was also shaken by the Eagles, allowing three runs in just one inning.
Eamon Horwedel earned his first win of the season after coming in to relieve Beery. Horwedel produced a stellar two-inning performance where he struck out three of the 10 batters he faced to help Ohio sweep the doubleheader.
Sunday’s game played host to a pitcher’s duel. Both Ohio and Eastern Michigan’s starters went six innings before being pulled. However, Brenden Roder allowed Eastern Michigan more wiggle room than Luke Russo gave Ohio.
The Eagles did some damage in the bottom of the first inning when they scored on a sacrifice fly to right field. The single run stood alone until Ohio tied the game in the sixth on a fielder’s choice.
But just as Ohio thought it had a chance, Gabe Denton hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the sixth to give Eastern Michigan a clear path to victory. The Eagles went on to win 3-1.
Even though Ohio did not get the sweep, it still earned the series win. The last time Ohio won a series was when it took three of four games against Kent State in mid-March.
The Bobcats now stand in fourth place in the MAC. They’ve played all but one of the teams in the top half of the standings, and they have a chance to sneak into the MAC Tournament. It’ll take a strong push in the last stretch of the season to get there, though.