Ohio and Miami wrapped up their season series on Saturday in a rain delayed, home run-filled doubleheader that was decided by late-game heroics from both teams, in both games. The RedHawks took the first affair, 12-10, while the Bobcats won 8-7 in the rubber-match nightcap.
After going for a comeback, ten-run eighth inning the night before, Ohio channeled that same energy and erased an 8-4 deficit in the first game thanks to an Alec Patino two-run single, a Mason Minzey three-run home run, and a Will Sturek inside-the-park home run that put Bob Wren Stadium in a state of pandemonium after the 360-foot dash put the lead at 10-8 heading into the ninth.
However, the RedHawks weren’t done swinging the bat. Braxton Kelly was brought in to try and make the save for the Bobcats and cap the second comeback victory in as many days. Kelly, who had only allowed three runs in his first 12 appearances of the season, quickly threw two walks and loaded the bases. With the crowd standing and in his favor, Kelly only needed one more out. His full-count pitch to David Novak missed the strike zone, walking in the tying run.
Dillon Baker then picked up a two-run single to give Miami a 12-10 lead before Ohio stepped to plate in the ninth. When it finally did, Alex Finney struck out, Cole Williams flied out and Wes Lug struck out swinging, giving the RedHawks the win.
Shortly after the celebrations finished, a rain delay was announced: the teams had another two hours before the first pitch of game two. The players hid from the rain in the dugouts and the fans emptied out of the stadium.
“The guys stayed with it, they stayed locked in and [Miami] punched us a little bit in the first couple innings of the second game … [the rain delay] gave our guys a chance to get rested up. Obviously our lineups are not real deep and we play a lot of guys in a lot of innings on the weekends and I think that extra time to let them get off their feet, sit down and get something to eat, relax and hydrate a little bit,” Ohio coach Craig Moore said.
When game two did start, Miami continued attacking the baseball, as Zach MacDonald hit a two-run home run in the fourth at-bat of the game.
Entering the bottom of the fourth trailing 4-1, the trio of Nick Dolan, AJ Rausch and Minzey drove four runners across home, taking the lead back, 5-4. The next inning, after a Finney single, Trevor Lukkes hit his first home run of the season and had a blast doing it; the dugout celebration was the largest and loudest of the day up until that point. The Bobcats' lead stood at 7-4.
In the seventh, Cooper Weiss stood at the plate with the bases loaded. Ohio pitcher Hudson Boncal had thrown a solid 3 and ⅔ scoreless innings, but Weiss won this matchup and went for his second hit of the day, a game-tying, bases-clearing double.
The deadlock stood into the ninth, when Trenton Neuer pinch-ran for Williams after he was hit by a pitch. Neuer danced at first and garnered multiple pick-off attempts. Finney stood at the plate, and when Nick Vardavas decided to throw a pitch, he ripped a double deep in the right field gap and Neuer took off. He got the signal to go home, and the Bobcat players emptied the dugout in anticipation of a victory, but the throw beat him by six feet, meaning there would be a 19th inning of Saturday baseball.
Ohio’s walk-off dreams came true in the 10th when Patino slapped a single into left field that scored Lukkes and won the series. The players swarmed Patino and the eight hours of baseball had concluded.
“Obviously, so pumped that we came out with the series win,“ Patino said. "I know every single dude in that dugout is so exhausted and on that last gear, but somehow, what I was telling everybody in the dugout is that we need to find a way to get it done right now. And obviously we did, and I’m super glad that we did.”
Dillon Masters earned the win after 3 and ⅓ innings of work, highlighted by four strikeouts.
“If you’re not telling yourself you’re a dawg out there, then you gotta tell yourself you’re the best player on the field at all times. I was doing my thing and it was a good team win, so,” Masters said after recording the save.