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Ohio Baseball Meets Maine In Four-Game Set In Georgia

Ohio Baseball Meets Maine In Four-Game Set In Georgia

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By Mike Ashcraft

ATHENS, Ohio -- The Ohio baseball team (2-2) visits Cartersville, Ga., for the first of two-straight weekends of games at Perfect Game's LakePoint facility when it meets Maine (0-4) for a four-game set. The Bobcats and the Black Bears open the series on Friday (Feb. 23) with a 3 p.m. ET matchup. Saturday (Feb. 24) features a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m. ET. The Sunday (Feb. 25) series finale is set to get underway at 11 a.m. ET.

There will be no live scoring or streaming/radio broadcasts of this weekend's games.

Ohio opened the 2018 season by splitting a four-game series against Rider in Lexington, S.C., last weekend.

The Bobcats fell to the Broncs, 6-4, in the season opener last Friday (Feb. 16), but bounced back by sweeping a Saturday (Feb. 17) doubleheader by scores of 10-2 and 6-5. Ohio dropped the series finale, though, as Rider walked off in the 11th inning, 6-5.

Ohio's bats got off to a hot start to the season last weekend in Lexington.

Through the first weekend of the 2018 campaign, Ohio ranks first among Mid-American Conference teams in batting average (.308), slugging percentage (.442), hits (48), doubles (11) and triples (2). The Bobcats' 48 hits are tied for most in the nation.

Senior Tony Giannini (Carmel, Ind.), who started all four games against Rider at third base for the Bobcats, hit a team-best .500 with a team-best .813 slugging percentage and a team-best .600 on-base percentage. He led the Bobcats with eight hits -- including three doubles to tie for the team lead as well as a triple -- and tied for the team lead with five runs scored. He also drove in three runs. 

Giannini was one of five Bobcats to hit .300 or better on the season's opening weekend. Redshirt senior catcher Nick Bredeson (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) hit .400. Junior infielder Rudy Rott (Holmen, Wis.) hit .375 with six hits, including two doubles. Sophomore infielder Trevor Hafner (Perrysburg, Ohio) hit .333, ranking second on the team with seven hits and tallying a team-high four doubles and six RBIs. Junior outfielder Devon Garcia (Bowling Green, Ohio) hit .316 with six hits.

Redshirt senior right-hander Jake Roehn (Sandwich, Ill.) closed out Ohio's 6-5 win in the second game of last Saturday's doubleheader, earning his 23rd career save to break the program record, which was previously held by Chad Reed (22; 1989-92). Roehn threw the final 1.2 frames, striking out five while allowing just one hit.

Roehn was named to the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association's 2018 Stopper of the Year Preseason Watch List two weeks gago and was also named a 2018 Collegiate Baseball Preseason Third Team All-American in December. He tallied a program record 15 saves in 2017 to earn First Team All-MAC honors.

Hafner was one of nine Bobcats to make their Ohio debuts last weekend in Lexington. He was joined by redshirt freshman catcher Dan McCauley (Pittsburgh, Pa.), redshirt freshman left-handed pitcher Cole Shinsky (Butler, Pa.), freshman right-handed pitcher Chace Harris (New Marshfield, Ohio), freshman left-handed pitcher Alex Kuster (Lake Orion, Mich.), freshman right-handed pitcher Eddie Kutt (Westlake, Calif.), freshman infielder/right-handed pitcher Treyben Funderburg (Beavercreek, Ohio), freshman infielder Aaron Levy (Cincinnati, Ohio) and freshman left-handed pitcher/outfielder Sebastian Fabik (Lebanon, Ohio). 

Levy finished 2-for-4 with his first career home run in the second game of last Saturday's doubleheader. Shinsky got the start on the mound in the Sunday series finale. Kutt made two relief appearances, striking out four without allowing an earned run over 5.2 frames of work.

The Black Bears dropped all four of their games in Lubbock, Texas, last weekend to No. 3 Texas Tech. Maine lost to the Red Raiders by scores of 4-2, 12-1, 12-5 and 21-6. Junior infielder Danny Casals hit a team-best .400. Junior infielder Jeremy Pena collected a team-high five hits -- including a double and a home run -- and scored a team-high five runs. Senior right-handed pitcher Justin Courtney got the start on the mound in game one, striking out six over four innings while giving up three earned runs on six hits and a walk.

Maine went 25-29 a season ago  -- including 8-12 in America East Conference play. After being shut out by Albany, 3-0, in their America East Conference Championship opener, the Black Bears rattled off four-straight victories before ultimately falling to UMBC on a 10th-inning walk off in the championship round by a score of 2-1.

Nick Derba is in his first season as head coach of the Black Bears after serving as Maine's interim head coach in 2017.

Ohio will be back at Perfect Game's LakePoint facility next weekend (March 2-4) for a four-game series against Nebraska Omaha.