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Baseball: Ohio needs a bullpen solution

Ohio’s bullpen was unable to keep up against Morehead State in its 15-2 loss on Tuesday. Ohio threw six different pitchers in an attempt to stop the Morehead batters, but nothing stuck. 

The Bobcats planned for Tuesday to be a bullpen game. Ohio coach Craig Moore wanted to test the waters with a few pitchers who hadn’t had many opportunities so that there are more trusted pitchers available for the weekend. The Bobcats have a deep rotation, although half of that rotation doesn’t have much experience.  

“We weren’t going to throw anybody that’s thrown over the weekend to keep them fresh,” Moore said. “There’s also guys that we need to add to the weekend. A couple of them, they got opportunities. We wished they would have performed better.” 

Tyler Peck got the nod on the bump. He gave up one run on two hits over two innings and struck out two batters. It wasn’t a bad start to the game and the offense backed Peck.

However, things went downhill after Peck was taken out of the game in favor of Patrick Straub. Straub gave up three runs in his one inning of work and collected the loss.

Straub left the game after an inning and Luke Borer was then put on the mound. Borer was pulled after 0.1 innings after he gave up six runs on five hits. Borer faced eight batters, tied for most of the night, and only struck out one. 

At that point, the Bobcats were far behind and they needed a pitcher to effectively fill the stop role. Zach Weber answered their pleas with 2.1 innings of zeros. He faced eight batters and only allowed one to reach base. 

“It was good to see Zach go out there and leave on a good note,” Moore said. “He’s a guy that we need to get going and (to) be a contributor on the weekends for us moving forward.” 

Ohio’s last two pitchers of the night, Adam Beery and Patrick DeMarco, each threw 0.2 innings and allowed two and three runs, respectively. 

The bullpen has been slowly progressing over the season, but as Ohio gets closer to the postseason, it needs to have a slew of arms it can rely on. There are only two pitchers on the roster who have quantifiable ERAs — Luke Olson and Trent Spoon — and both are starters. No other pitcher meets the one-inning-per-game requirement.

Only one Bobcat pitcher has an ERA below 3.00. Braxton Kelly wields a 2.31 ERA and 0.94 WHIP but has only thrown 11.2 innings and, technically, does not qualify 

Tuesday showcased that the one thing Ohio can’t figure out is its pitching situation. It can hit, and it has learned to clean up its errors, but it hasn’t quite learned how to have a clean outing on the mound. 

The Bobcats have used 17 different arms this season and eight different pitchers have started a game. As a team, they have the third-worst ERA in the Mid-American Conference at 8.22 and are one of five teams that have yet to piece together a shutout this season.  

Ohio’s MAC schedule is winding down, and it currently sits in the position to qualify for the MAC Tournament. However, if Ohio does not find a solution in the bullpen, it may lose that spot. 


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