There’s nothing sweeter than a series sweep.
Ohio picked up its first sweep of the season this past weekend when it took a four-game series from Akron. It was also Ohio’s first conference sweep since last season.
The Bobcats dug in both in the field and in the batter’s box. All weekend, the pitching was clean and the ball flew off the Bobcats’ bats. The Bobcats continued their trend of out-hitting their opponents and outhit the Zips in three of the four games.
The sweep was an enormous confidence boost for Ohio as it nears the end of its conference schedule. Here’s how the weekend went:
Ohio started the weekend off with a statement. It defeated Akron 12-4 and played one of its best games of the season.
Edward Kutt IV was instrumental in the win. He tossed eight innings and only gave up three earned runs. Also, Kutt struck out eight of the 32 batters he faced. In comparison, Akron’s starter — Taed Heydinger — struck out four of the 31 batters he faced over five and one-third innings.
Kutt was able to stay in the game so long because he was backed by the bats. The Bobcats collected four runs in the first inning, and it put them in a comfortable position for the rest of the night.
Akron tied the game in the top of the sixth, but Ohio shattered the tie in the bottom of the inning. Harrison Johnson and Nick Dolan both hit home runs to put Ohio ahead of Akron. From then on, it was Ohio’s game, and Akron did not put up another run.
The Bobcats’ energy from Saturday carried into the double header Sunday.
Ohio came out of the gates full-throttle in game one for a 5-2 win. It took the lead on a single by Mason Minzey in the first and kept building from there. Cael Baker led the way for Ohio in the box, collecting one hit, one walk and two RBIs.
However, the Bobcats could not have succeeded without Braxton Kelly. Kelly came in to relieve in the fourth inning, and eventually picked up his fourth win of the season. He allowed one run and struck out nine over his four innings on the mound. The outing was Kelly’s best of the season.
Game two tested Ohio more than any other game in the series. Akron scored six runs in the eighth and ninth innings to close in on its opponent, but Ohio was able to stand its ground for a 8-6 win.
Hudson Boncal kept Akron off the board in an impressive start. The freshman threw six scoreless innings despite allowing six hits. Boncal worked hand-in-hand with the defense to ensure short innings that led to better chances at the plate.
Ohio got a jump start in the fourth inning. Baker hit a sacrifice fly that scored one run and advanced Spencer Harbert to third. Harbert then scored when Dolan stole second and the throw was not on line. Isaiah Peterson capped the inning off with a three-run home run to give Ohio plenty of cushion.
Brett Manis came in for two-thirds of an inning to complete the game and earn a save. Manis collected his fourth save of the season in his short stint on Sunday.
The Bobcats had one thing on their mind during Monday's game: complete the sweep. And after another explosive fourth inning, the Bobcats did just that with a 11-5 victory.
Ohio collected the majority of its runs from the trio of Peterson, A.J. Rausch and Colin Kasperbauer. Rausch and Peterson scored five runs, which were all RBIs from Kasperbauer — who led Ohio with three hits Monday. Kasperbauer and Peterson are also tied for the team lead in hits this season, with 57.
Brenden Roder had one of his best starts this season in terms of longevity. Roder gave up four earned runs and struck out one batter over seven innings on the mound. Zach Weber and Manis came in to complete the eighth and ninth innings respectively and finish off the victory for the Bobcats.
With two weeks left in the regular season, Ohio stands third in the Mid-American Conference. That means there is a good chance Ohio could sneak into the MAC Tournament. However, it will have to face the No. 1 seed before the season is over.
But, if Ohio stays the course, there’s a chance it could snag one of the final spots.