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Garcia Helps Hot-Hitting Ohio Baseball Overcome Towson, Win Weekend Series

Garcia Helps Hot-Hitting Ohio Baseball Overcome Towson, Win Weekend Series

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By Mike Ashcraft

Box Score (PDF)

TOWSON, Md. -- Junior center fielder Devon Garcia (Bowling Green, Ohio) accounted for four of his team's 15 hits as the Ohio baseball team (8-6) held off a late charge from host Towson (2-10) to earn a 10-9 victory on Saturday (March 10) at Schuerholz Park.

The Bobcats, who topped the Tigers, 5-2, in the series opener on Friday (March 9), picked up their first series victory of the 2018 season with Saturday's triumph.

Garcia, who finished 4-for-5 with a walk and two RBIs from the leadoff spot, helped pace a hot-hitting Ohio lineup that saw every batter record a hit to help the Bobcats' cause. Including Garcia, Ohio had four players post multi-hit efforts. Junior first baseman Rudy Rott (Holmen, Wis.) finished 2-for-4 with his team-leading third home run of the year and drew a pair of walks. He has now posted a team-high seven multi-hit efforts this season. Sophomore shortstop Trevor Hafner (Perrysburg, Ohio) continued to the hot start to his first year at Ohio, going 2-for-4 with a walk, two RBIs and two runs scored. Freshman left fielder Sebastian Fabik (Lebanon, Ohio) recorded the first multi-hit game of his collegiate career, finishing 2-for-3 with two walks, an RBI and a run scored.

For the second game in a row, Towson plated the first run of the contest in the bottom of the second inning as junior designated hitter Richard Miller led off with a double down the left field line and scored two outs later on an error by the Bobcats.

After stranding two runners on base in both the first and third innings, Ohio broke through for three runs in the fourth to grab a two-run lead. Senior third baseman Tony Giannini (Carmel, Ind.) led off the frame by drawing a walk, then advanced to second on a wild pitch. One out after Hafner coaxed a walk, redshirt sophomore right fielder Ryan Sargent (Algonquin, Ill.) plated Ohio's first run of the game by pushing Giannini across with a base hit to left center. Fabik followed with a single to right that scored Hafner, then Garcia drove home Sargent with a base hit to left.

Ohio's lead was short lived, however, as the Tigers tied the game by plating two runs on four hits and another Ohio error in the home half of the frame.

The Bobcats wasted little time regaining control, though, as Ohio grabbed a 7-3 lead courtesy of four runs on five hits in the top of the fifth. Sophomore catcher Tanner Piechnick (Canonsburg, Pa.) got things rolling with a leadoff single through the left side. Giannini followed with a double down the third base line. Hafner put Ohio back in the lead with a single to left that scored both Piechnick and Giannini. Freshman second baseman Aaron Levy (Cincinnati, Ohio) then singled to left field, chasing Towson left-handed starting pitcher David Marriggi from the game. After Hafner and Levy moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by Sargent, Hafner scored on a wild pitch. Following a walk by Fabik, Garcia completed the four-run frame for the Bobcats by shooting a single through the right side to bring home Levy.

Towson cut Ohio's lead to three with a run in the bottom of the fifth, but the Bobcats got it back by making it an 8-4 lead in the ensuing inning as Rott led off with a homer to right. 

The Bobcats' lead swelled to 10-4 thanks to two more runs in the seventh. Sargent coaxed a one-out walk, then Fabik singled to center. Garcia loaded up the bases by drawing a walk, then Klein bumped home Sargent by coaxing a walk. Fabik then scored Ohio's 10th and final run when he scampered home on a wild pitch.

The Tigers cut into the Bobcats' lead with two runs in the home half of the seventh, cutting Ohio's advantage down to four runs.

Redshirt junior right-handed reliever Nick Kamrada (Grand Ledge, Mich.) retired Towson in order in the bottom of the eighth in his lone inning of work on the mound for the Bobcats, but the Tigers made it interesting with three runs in the bottom of the ninth. Sophomore left fielder Andrew Cassard drew a one-out walk, then advanced to second on a wild pitch. After junior shortstop Richie Palacios sent a single up the middle to put runners on the corners for the Tigers, Cassard scored on an RBI ground out by redshirt junior Mark Grunberg. Miller then belted a two-out, two-run homer to right to make it a one-run game and force Ohio to go back to its bullpen. Redshirt senior right-handed closer Jake Roehn (Sandwich, Ill.) entered the game and nailed down the win for the Bobcats, though, striking out senior first baseman Charlie Watters for the third and final out. Roehn earned his second-straight save, fifth of the year and program-record 27th of his career.

Klein earned the victory on the mound for Ohio, improving to 3-0 on the season after striking out five over six frames in his fourth start of the season. He gave up four runs -- three of which were earned -- on six hits and two walks.  

Marriggi took the loss on the mound for Towson, falling to 1-1 on the year. He surrendered seven runs -- six of which were earned on 11 hits and two walks while striking out three.

Miller led the way at the plate for the Tigers, finishing 3-for-4 with a home run and two doubles, three RBIs and three runs scored. Palacios finished 2-for-3 with a walk and three runs scored.

Ohio will be aiming for its first sweep of the 2018 season when it takes on Towson in the Sunday (March 11) series finale at Schuerholz Park. First pitch is set for 1 p.m. ET. Senior southpaw Butch Baird (Big Prairie, Ohio) is scheduled to take the mound for the Bobcats and oppose senior righty Michael Adams of the Tigers.