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Ohio Baseball Blasts Toledo In Series Opener

Ohio Baseball Blasts Toledo In Series Opener

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By Mike Ashcraft

Box Score (PDF)

TOLEDO, Ohio -- Junior center fielder Devon Garcia (Bowling Green, Ohio) belted a grand slam in the top of the fourth inning to help set the tone for the Ohio baseball team (15-12, 4-3 MAC) in a 15-4 blowout win over Toledo (7-18, 3-4 MAC) in the Mid-American Conference weekend series opener on a very windy Friday (April 6) at Scott Park.

The Bobcats pounded out double-digit runs on double-digit hits for the second game in a row and seventh time in 2018. Four Ohio hitters recorded multi-hit efforts. Sophomore left fielder Tanner Piechnick (Canonsburg, Pa.) went 4-for-4 with a double, a walk, two RBIs and two runs scored. He recorded his 10th multi-hit game of the year and first of his career with at least four hits. Piechnick has a current team-high nine-game hitting streak going. Freshman second baseman Aaron Levy (Cincinnati, Ohio) -- the reigning MAC Player of the Week -- finished 3-for-4 with a three-run home run in the sixth. He also walked twice and scored three runs. Garcia added a single to go along with his grand slam to tally his ninth multi-hit game of the season. He scored two runs. Sophomore first baseman Rudy Rott (Holmen, Wis.) singled twice, walked, drove in two runs and scored another. He posted his team-high 13th multi-hit game of the year.

During the offensive onslaught by Ohio, redshirt senior southpaw starting pitcher Gerry Salisbury (Brunswick, Ohio) gave the Bobcats another strong start on the mound. The reigning MAC Pitcher of the Week worked six innings, striking out four while permitting four runs -- two of which were earned -- on eight hits and a walk. He earned the win on the mound to improve to 4-4 on the season. Junior righty Kenny Ogg (Indianapolis, Ind.) tossed two scoreless innings of relief, allowing two hits and a walk. Redshirt junior right-hander Nick Kamrada (Grand Ledge, Mich.) pitched a scoreless ninth inning and alloed just one hit. 

"We did a tremendous job at the plate," said sixth year head coach Rob Smith. "Gerry gave us a really good start as well. I was proud of the way he navigated through some defensive struggles. With the conditions out here, defense can get hard to play, and he just kept kind of plugging and stayed with it. It was a good effort out of him."

The Bobcats landed the game's first punch in the top of the first when Garcia made it all the way to second base on a two-base error by Toledo and scored one out later when Rott lifted a sacrifice fly to center.

Toledo evened the score in the home half of the third when freshman shortstop Chris Meyers led off the frame with a triple to right and scored on an RBI ground out by senior second baseman Casey Gose.

That's as close to the lead as Ohio let the Rockets get, however. The Bobcats plated six runs on four hits in the top of the fourth to break the contest open. Piechnick got things rolling with a leadoff base hit to left. One out later, Levy sent a single through the left side, and sophomore shortstop Trevor Hafner (Perrysburg, Ohio) followed by drawing a walk to fill the bases with Bobcats. Redshirt sophomore right fielder Ryan Sargent (Algonquin, Ill.) then broke the tie with a base hit to right that brought home Piechnick. Redshirt freshman catcher Dan McCauley (Pittsburgh, Pa.) bumped home Levy when he coaxed a walk. With the bases re-loaded again for Ohio, Garcia delivered a grand slam to center that made it 7-1 in favor of the Bobcats.

"It felt awesome to give my team a little bit of an edge," said Garcia of his grand slam.

Toledo got a run back in the home half of the fourth when freshman third baseman Trace Hatfield hit a one-out double to right center and later scored on an Ohio miscue. The fifth inning saw the Bobcats leave the bases loaded and the Rockets answer with another run in the bottom half. Gose made it to second base with one out on a bunt single and a throwing error by Ohio, then advanced to third on a double to left center by senior left fielder Brad Boss. Gose then scored to make it a four-run game when freshman right fielder John Servello singled to right.

The Bobcats responded by scoring eight runs over the final frames, beginning with a four-run sixth. Redshirt senior designated hitter Michael Klein (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) drew a one-out walk to get things started. After Rott singled to right, Piechnick shot a single through the left side to bring in Klein. One out later, Levy delivered a three-run blast to right.

Ohio tacked on two more in the seventh. McCauley drew a one-out walk, then Klein beat out an infield single to third one out later. Rott singled in McCauley with a base hit to right, then Klein scored on a double down the left field line by Piechnick. 

In the eighth, Levy drew a leadoff walk and later scored on an RBI fielder's choice that put Sargent on base. The Bobcats scored their 14th and final run in the ninth when Klein coaxed a leadoff walk and later scored on an RBI fielder's choice that put senior third baseman Tony Giannini (Carmel, Ind.) on base.

"We're trying to get ourselves on a higher level of concentration, and I think we proved that today," said Garcia of his team's offensive success.

Junior left-handed starting pitcher Michael Jacob took the loss on the mound for Toledo, dropping to 0-5 on the year. He struck out three but allowed seven runs -- sixth of which were earned -- on six hits and three walks in four innings. The Bobcats forced the Rockets to go to their bullpen six times.

Three Rockets posted multi-hit days. Boss went 2-for-5 with a double. Servello finished 2-for-5 with a double and an RBI. Senior first baseman Dalton Bollinger collected two singles, walked and scored a run.

Ohio will take aim at its second-straight MAC series win on Saturday (April 7) when it battles Toledo in a 1:05 p.m. ET matchup at Scott Park. 'Voice of the Bobcats' Russ Eisenstein and Mike Ashcraft will have the call of the action on WOUB 1340 AM and online on OhioBobcats.com via Stretch Internet. This contest will also feature a live video stream on ESPN3. Sophomore left-hander Derek Carr (Newark, Ohio) is scheduled to get the start on the mound for the Bobcats and oppose redshirt senior right-hander Sam Shutes of the Rockets.