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Ohio left hand pitcher, Dillon Masters (13), throws a pitch during a game against Western Michigan at Bob Wren Stadium, April 5, 2024, in Athens.

Baseball: Ohio shows resilience, falls in extras to Western Michigan

A little over a week ago, Ohio was in Muncie, Indiana, playing Ball State in Game 1 of a huge conference series. During that first game, Ohio blew a 6-2 lead in the eighth inning. That’s indicative of how the Bobcats' season has gone so far: not having enough to win games late. Ohio would proceed to give up 33 runs across three games during that series, leading to a sweep and falling to a 4-8 conference record. 

Coming into Friday against Western Michigan, a team currently battling for the top spot in the Mid-American Conference, there were reasonable concerns about Ohio’s pitching. The Broncos feature a top offense in the MAC, which includes two players who are both in the top three in terms of batting average in the conference: Cade Sullivan and CJ Richmond. With the odds stacked against them, the Ohio pitching staff did not have a perfect game by any means, but it did all it needed to keep Ohio in the game until the very end. 

After a 12-inning marathon from the Bobcat pitching staff, the team left Bob Wren Stadium heartbroken, falling 6-5. 

Tyler Peck, the fourth pitcher out of the Ohio bullpen, would go on to be credited with the loss after surrendering a bases-loaded walk that brought in the go-ahead run. 

No matter the result, after an abysmal weekend in Muncie, Ohio has reason to be optimistic that it has what it takes to beat the top teams in the conference. 

Dillon Masters took the mound for Ohio to start the game. The junior from New Albany was just one out away from providing Ohio with a quality start. Masters had the most trouble putting away Western Michigan’s top offensive threat, Cade Sullivan. Entering the day with a .398 batting average, Sullivan went four-for-six, tallying three RBIs, two of which came off Masters. 

Sullivan's dominant day began in the first inning when he sent a home run over the right-field wall to get the scoring started. Luckily for Masters, that home run came with nobody on base. One of the more impressive parts of Masters' start came in the fourth inning when Sullivan stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and Ohio holding a 1-run lead. Masters and Sullivan had an epic battle that ended in favor of Masters getting Sullivan to fly out to center field to end the inning. 

In a game where Sullivan tallied three RBIs, it very well could have been more without Master’s ability to pitch his way out of a jam. 

After six innings in which he allowed 4 runs, Masters was taken out in favor of Luke Olson to start the seventh. Olson escaped the seventh inning unscathed, which allowed Ohio to take the lead in the bottom half of the inning with a two-out RBI single from Gideon Antle. 

Being forced to face the top of the lineup in the eighth, Olson did not have the same success as his first inning. After a bunt single to start the inning, Sullivan would step up to the plate and drive in the game-tying run with a single lined up the middle. 

Needing to hold the Bronco offense in the ninth, the Bobcats went to Zach Weber to set up a potential walk-off. Weber worked efficiently in the ninth, leaving the game tied for the bottom half of the inning. 

Ohio infielder, Bryce Smith (12), and Ohio infielder, Nick Dolan (1), jump to celebrate during a game against Western Michigan at Bob Wren Stadium, April 5, 2024, in Athens.

Ohio wasn’t able to get the job done in the ninth or 10th inning following another scoreless inning from Weber. 

In the 11th, Ohio went to Tyler Peck, who has had a good season so far out of the bullpen. Peck had no trouble starting his outing. Still, after the Western Michigan defense forced yet another inning of baseball in the bottom half of the eleventh, Peck began to struggle with control issues in the 12th. 

The Broncos were able to muster the lone run of extra innings after Peck walked a total of three batters in the 12th inning, one of which was an RBI, to take the lead. 

Though Ohio fell in the end, its pitching gave the offense plenty of opportunities to win, the team just couldn’t capitalize. 

“We got ourselves out of some jams,” Ohio Coach Craig Moore said. “They had plenty of traffic on the bases and our guys were able to work through those situations and get ourselves chances to get out of innings and also to give our offense chances to score.”


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