Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
The Post - Athens, OH
The independent newspaper covering campus and community since 1911.
The Post
Members of the Ohio baseball team stand for the National Anthem before a game against Western Michigan at Bob Wren Stadium, April 5, 2024, in Athens.

Baseball: Ohio can't overcome Western Michigan, extends losing streak to 6

The skies over Bob Wren Stadium were blue as the sun beamed down upon the hot turf for Ohio’s second game against Western Michigan. The Bobcats were hopeful of reconciling a series-opening loss to the Broncos on Friday night, but what was a sunny day quickly turned dark for Ohio.  

A five-game losing streak coming into the game quickly turned to six as Ohio was shut down in about as many ways as you can be in a baseball game. After an utterly dominant defensive performance from Western Michigan, Ohio would fall 10-1 and move to 4-10 in the Mid-American Conference. 

Tim Knapschaefer strutted out to the mound for the Bobcats, earning his fourth start of the season. The former transfer, playing his first season for Ohio, had what Ohio Coach Craig Moore described as “his best game that he’s thrown all year.” No matter how well Knapschaefer was throwing the ball, there was no stopping the Western Michigan offense on Saturday afternoon. 

The Broncos' offense, featuring two of the MAC’s best offensive performers, Cade Sullivan and CJ Richmond, seemed to have everything going for them in Game 2 of the three-game series. Though Western Michigan scored 10 runs, 7 of which came off Knapschaefer, not a single ball left the yard for a home run. Most of the Broncos' hits early on came from well-placed ground balls and weak contact that fell where Ohio wasn’t. 

Though Moore is disappointed with the team's overall performance, sometimes balls don’t fall in your favor, and that “is the game of baseball.”

Knapschaefer would end the game having allowed 7 runs on 10 hits. Despite the heavy run production from the Broncos, Knapschaefer was still able to retire six batters by way of the strikeout, a game-high for both teams. 

Offensively, Ohio wasn’t able to do nearly anything. The team did tally seven hits, but it wasn’t able to capitalize on scoring opportunities, only scoring one of its baserunners in the game. Ohio’s lone RBI of the game came from the bat of Trenton Neuer, who made the most of his third start of the season with an RBI single off the foot of the centerfield fence. 

The Ohio offense, which is usually a strong point for the team, was shut down by the current leader in ERA for the MAC, Nolan Vlcek. 

Vlcek had one of the most dominant performances you will ever see at any level of baseball, hurling a complete game on only 69 total pitches. Vlcek was throwing less than eight pitches per inning, a pace that allowed him to stay on the bump for the whole game. 

The efficiency that the Ohio offense allowed Vlcek to have was no cause for concern in Moore's eyes. He prides his team on being aggressive — a trait they have no intention of changing. 

“We’re an aggressive offense, that’s why we don’t strike out a lot,” Moore said. “We don’t get to two strikes a lot ... I’m fine with that approach; sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. Obviously, today, it didn’t work. We’re going to stay aggressive … We are too good offensively to have to change our philosophy just because of one day.”

In the trenches of a six-game losing streak, Ohio will have one more opportunity to snap it with a midday matchup with Western Michigan on Sunday, a game that Moore and the team will approach with urgency. 

“We have to keep on fighting, we have to keep coming if we have pride in ourselves and our team,” Moore said. “We can’t come to the yard tomorrow feeling sorry for ourselves. We have to come ready to go with the mentality that we are better than what we are playing. We’re not going to let a team come into our field and go for a sweep.”


Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2016-2024 The Post, Athens OH