Ohio traveled to Bowling Green, Kentucky, this weekend to take on one of 36 undefeated teams in Division I: Western Kentucky.
The Bobcats had a rough start to their weekend. They took a tough loss to the chin on Friday. However, the Bobcats played the Hilltoppers close on Saturday and handed them their first loss of the season on Sunday.
Here’s how it happened:
Ohio’s bats were missing in action on Friday, setting Ohio up for a 14-1 loss.
Western Kentucky started the first inning with a three-run home run by Ty Batusich and two RBI singles, which put Ohio down five runs by the end of the first.
The Hilltoppers had nothing to fear with Mason Burns on the mound. Burns struck out seven of the 23 batters he faced over six innings. He allowed four hits and a single run. Burns’ solid outing gave the Hilltoppers the space they needed to feel confident at the plate.
By the fifth inning, Ohio was down 13-0. It didn’t score until Colin Kasperbauer grounded out in the sixth inning to send A.J. Rausch home.
The Bobcats played their first doubleheader of the season. They put up a valiant effort but ended up dropping both games to the Hilltoppers.
Game one had a similar start to Friday and it ended in Ohio losing 9-6 in seven innings. Ohio entered an early hole, but rather than slip into the quicksand, it put up two runs in the fourth on a home run by Mason Minzey.
Ohio’s pitching once again had trouble against Western Kentucky’s bats. Starter Zach Weber allowed eight hits and three earned runs in four innings. Relievers Colin Sells and Tyler Peck had similar struggles. Western Kentucky put up three runs against the pair’s singular innings.
This time, though, Ohio did not freeze up. It put up a few runs in the sixth on a groundout by Billy Adams and a wild pitch. Ohio scored again in the seventh on a single by Minzey and a double by Will Sturek. However, it was too late due to the shortened game.
Ohio had learned from its mistakes by game two. Despite holding the lead until the eighth, Ohio lost control and fell 9-8.
The Bobcats walked out of the second inning up 6-0 over the Hilltoppers. Four singles, a double and a throwing error gave the Bobcats the room they needed to succeed.
A few more runs in the third put Ohio in complete control of the game until Western Kentucky found its feet in the later innings.
Lukas Farris walked with the bases loaded in the eighth to tie the game. Then, in the next at-bat, Tristin Garcia walked to secure the win. It was a heartbreaking loss for the Bobcats, who were outhit 13-10.
By Sunday, Ohio had been through it all. There was nothing Western Kentucky hadn’t thrown its way already. Ohio was ready for revenge, and it got just that with a 6-4 victory.
A single by Kasperbauer and a walk by Minzey put two on for Alec Patino. Patino then hit a double to score both runners and give Ohio a small lead. The lead later grew in the third on a single by Rausch to score Nick Dolan.
Ohio was smooth sailing until the bottom of the seventh when Western Kentucky put up two runs on a fielder’s choice and a throwing error.
The Bobcats gained security on a home run by Minzey in the top of the eighth, which helped Jacob Tate earn his first save of the season.
Tate came in to relieve Mitchel Hemmen, who replaced starter Trent Spoon. Despite allowing a run, Tate was able to keep the Hilltoppers from creating any more damage. Spoon also earned his first win of the season on the Hilltoppers' loss.