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Ohio closer Chace Harris (6) pitches the last two innings against Canisius on Saturday, April 23, 2022 during the second game of the double header at Bob Wren Stadium.

Baseball: Ohio earns series win over Western Michigan, Mid-American Conference Tournament bid

Ohio bucked Western Michigan this weekend for its fourth Mid-American Conference series win of the season. It was the first time Ohio had snagged a series win against Western Michigan since 2019. 

The Bobcats pieced together three impressive outings to defeat the Broncos. Once again, the bats were booming throughout Bob Wren Stadium as the Bobcats collected 37 hits over the weekend. The Bobcats arms were also strong, as they had to only use a handful of pitchers out of the bullpen against the Broncos. 

Here’s how the weekend went:

Thursday

Ohio fell behind by the fourth inning of Thursday’s 8-5 win. However, a guiding light came its way when Isaiah Peterson tied the game with a two-run home run in the fifth inning. Mason Minzey then tipped the scales in Ohio’s favor on an RBI groundout later in the inning. 

Cael Baker and Nick Dolan continued the rally with back-to-back home runs in the sixth inning. At that point, the Bobcats were strides ahead of the Broncos. However, that did not stop the Bobcats from adding another run on a single by Colin Kasperbauer. 

The run support was essential for Edward Kutt IV, who spent eight innings on the mound to ensure a win. Kutt allowed five runs on ten hits and struck out six of the batters he faced. Kutt turned the ball over to Brett Manis for the final inning of the game. Manis earned the save, keeping the Broncos scoreless in the ninth. 

Friday 

The Bobcats entered Friday’s doubleheader with a weight lifted off of their shoulders. Before the starters for game one were announced, it was made known that the Bobcats had secured a spot in the MAC Tournament. 

However, with that announcement fresh on its mind, Ohio played its worst game of the series. 

Ohio was defeated 10-1 in game one of Friday’s doubleheader, only totaling two hits — tied for the least it has had in a game this season. Only Kasperbauer and Spencer Harbert knocked base hits in the seven-inning bout. 

Western Michigan’s pitcher, Easton Sikorski, tossed a complete game. He struck out four and only walked a single batter. Ohio’s pitching did not fare as well. 

After the loss, the Bobcats took the field for game two with a different mindset. They had to rope in the Broncos, but it was going to be a tall task. The Bobcats were in need of a boost. 

Ohio got the shot in the arm it needed in game two from Will Sturek. 

Sturek hit a three-run home run in the fourth to place the Bobcats well above the Broncos, but he wasn’t done. He later cut down the Broncos’ comeback with a solo knock in the sixth and twisted the knife with another in the eighth. 

Sturek’s several long balls paved the way for Hudson Boncal and Braxton Kelly to pitch freely on the mound. Kelly collected his sixth win of the season Friday despite being the relief pitcher. Kelly cleaned up after Boncal was ran out of the game in the fifth and only allowed one run. 

Saturday 

Ohio took the lessons it learned Friday into consideration Saturday. If it wanted the series win, Ohio was going to need to hit the ball. 

The Bobcats leaned into the front half of their batting order for support in the mission. Luckily, it delivered just what the Bobcats needed. 

Two-hole hitter Alex Finney scored a run and produced three RBIs to lead the charge. He was backed by the third hitter, Kasperbauer, and the clean up hitter, Minzey, who had two RBIs each. 

The three packed an irrecoverable punch to the Broncos’ gut. After Finney tied the game in the third, the Bobcats pushed ahead of the Broncos and laid the groundwork for the 9-3 victory. 

Now, Ohio has been presented with a new challenge: the MAC Tournament. Four teams made the Tournament, but only one will earn a berth to the College World Series. Ohio has a chance to earn the MAC nod, however, it has to survive and advance in Muncie, Indiana first. 

@ashleybeachy_

ab026319@ohio.edu 



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