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Ohio right hand pitcher, Patrick Straub (37), pitches the ball during a game against Morehead State at Bob Wren Stadium, April 23, 2024, in Athens.

Baseball: Bullpen powers Ohio to big home win

It had been exactly a month since Ohio (12-24, 7-14 Mid-American Conference) last won a game at its home field of Bob Wren Stadium until Tuesday night’s 4-2 victory over Morehead State (23-18, 8-7 Ohio Valley Conference). Ohio’s last home victory took place on March 23 against Central Michigan in a blowout win by a score of 18-3. 

The Bobcats had seen struggles everywhere they played after that win in late March. The team would go on to lose eight straight games before finding success on the road against Eastern Michigan twice. It then ended a weekend series at Bowling Green with a comeback victory over the MAC’s top team, which was undefeated both in conference and at home. 

Ohio carried that momentum from the huge win at Bowling Green into its midweek nonconference matchup with Morehead State, a team that scored 20 runs on Ohio and defeated them in blowout fashion on March 12. This time the game was different, with Ohio rested and playing on its own field.

“They (Morehead State) kind of play to their field,” said Ohio Coach Craig Moore. “Their field is a little bit of a different style field than most parks and they're a little bit of a different team on the road.”

Being at home benefited the Ohio pitching staff greatly, helping a unit that has struggled all year to allow just 2 runs on the day. 

Adam Beery made his first career start for Ohio and gave a very solid performance, pitching two innings and allowing six hits and the only 2 runs that Morehead State would score in the game. He would exit the game for relief pitcher Carson Denham, who started an excellent day from the Ohio bullpen.

The Bobcat bullpen would go on to throw five shutout innings and allow just two hits, marking a noteworthy outing from Ohio’s trio of relief pitchers, Denham, Patrick Straub and Luke Olson. 

Denham was the first pitcher to enter the game, providing Ohio with two valuable innings of work, giving up just one hit over his 21 total pitches. Straub followed Denham and pitched just one inning, taking seven total pitches to do it and not allowing a single Morehead State baserunner.  

“Carson then came in and threw up some zeros,” said Moore. “Straub came in and threw up some zeros.” 

Once Straub left the game it was senior pitcher Luke Olson’s time to take the mound for the final two innings of action. Olson wasted no time on the bump, starting red-hot and striking out the side to end the eighth inning for Morehead State. 

He would carry his start into the ninth inning, striking out three more batters and allowing just one hit to put the game away and earn his first career save for Ohio. 

“Luke Olson just came in ... six strikeouts in the last two innings, that was pretty impressive right there,” Moore said. 

Olson and the rest of the bullpen's standout performances were crucial to Ohio’s huge win over an above .500 Morehead State team, a win that Olson hopes will lead the team in the right direction for the remainder of the season. 

“It's just awesome to get things going in the right direction. I mean, losing sucks,” Olson said. “It's kind of good to get off on the right note going into the games we know we need to win.”


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