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Ohio Baseball's Rally Falls Short Against Marshall

Ohio Baseball's Rally Falls Short Against Marshall

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By Mike Ashcraft

Box Score (PDF)

ATHENS, Ohio -- Redshirt senior right-handed starting pitcher/designated hitter Michael Klein (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) belted a grand slam in the bottom of the first inning, but the Ohio baseball team (17-19) was edged by Marshall (17-17), 7-6, on Wednesday (April 18) at Bob Wren Stadium.

Down 7-4 heading into the home half of the eighth, the Bobcats plated two runs in the frame to make it a one-run affair. Ohio left the bases loaded, however, and then went down in order in the ninth, falling short of completing the rally.

Despite being outhit by the Thundering Herd, 12-6, Ohio drew seven walks and put four more runners on base via hit by pitch. The Bobcats struggled with runners in scoring position, though, and stranded 10 runners on base.

"Getting baserunners is good, but you just have to put together quality at-bats when you have those guys in scoring positions," said sixth-year head coach Rob Smith. "We haven't done that for awhile. We scored six runs and got four of them on one swing. We're not putting together good, compatible at-bats with runners in scoring position."

Marshall jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first when redshirt junior right fielder Shane Hanon hit a one-out double to left center to set the table for junior designated hitter Reynaldo Pastrana hit a two-run home run to left one out later.

Ohio wasted little time responding to the challenge by the Thundering Herd, however. In the bottom of the frame, senior right fielder Evan Bourn (Overland Park, Kan.) was hit by a pitch to get things started for the Bobcats. Junior first baseman Rudy Rott (Holmen, Wis.) and sophomore left fielder Tanner Piechnick (Canonsburg, Pa.) then drew back-to-back walks to load up the bases for Ohio. Klein seized the opportunity by smashing a grand slam to give Ohio a 4-2 lead.

Redshirt senior Cory Blessing (Mayfield, Ohio) gave Ohio 2.1 scoreless innings of relief out of the bullpen, but Marshall seized a 6-4 lead after tying the contest up with a pair of runs in the fourth, then taking the lead by scoring two more in the fifth.

Pastrana went deep for a second time -- this time a solo shot to left with one out in the fourth. Sophomore second baseman Peter Hutzal followed Pastrana's homer with a single through the left side, then stole second and took third on an Ohio error. Hutzal tied things up when he scored by way of an RBI ground out to third by redshirt senior left fielder Tucker Linder.

In the fifth, Marshall loaded the bases up with nobody out after senior third baseman Kody Matthews led off with a single up the middle and advanced to second on a wild pitch, freshman shortstop Geordon Blanton singled to left center and junior center fielder Andrew Zban walked. Matthews was thrown out at home plate on a fielder's choice that put Hanon on first, but senior first baseman Will Ray followed with a two-RBI single to left that brought home Blanton and Zban and gave the Thundering Herd a 6-4 edge.

Zban then gave Marshall a three-run lead in the seventh when he led off with a home run to right.

The Bobcats clawed back in the eighth, though. Freshman second baseman Aaron Levy (Cincinnati, Ohio) got Ohio's comeback bid started with a one-out double to center. Senior third baseman Tony Giannini (Carmel, Ind.) and freshman shortstop Treyben Funderburg (Beavercreek, Ohio) were hit by pitches in back-to-back plate appearances to load up the bases again for the Bobcats. Junior center fielder Devon Garcia (Bowling Green, Ohio) drew a walk to bump home Levy, then Rott coaxed a walk one out later to bring in Giannini and make it a one-run game. 

That's as close as the Bobcats got, though, as Ohio left the bases loaded in the eighth and then went down in order in the ninth.

Matthews collected three singles to lead Marshall's bats while Pastrana also posted a multi-hit effort for the Thundering Herd with his two home runs.

Levy was the lone Bobcat to record a multi-hit game, going 2-for-4 with a double, a walk and a run scored.

Sophomore right-handed reliever Mark Meyer picked up the victory on the mound for Marshall, improving to 2-1 on the year. He threw 3.1 innings, striking out four while giving up two earned runs on three hits. Senior right-hander Gordon Cardenas pitched the final 1.2 innings for the Thundering Herd. He allowed two walks but did not surrender a hit or a run en route to earning his first save of the season.

Freshman left-handed reliever Brett Manis (Port Huron, Mich.) took the loss for Ohio, falling to 0-1 on the season. He fanned out but permitted two runs -- one of which was earned -- on three hits and a walk. Senior right-hander Logan Jacik (Omaha, Neb.) and redshirt senior righty Jake Roehn (Sandwich, Ill.) each threw a scoreless inning of relief out of the bullpen for the Bobcats.

Ohio begins a stretch of seven-straight road games when it travels to northeast Ohio to take on Mid-American Conference rival Kent State (23-10, 9-3 MAC) in a crucial three-game league series this weekend (April 20-22) at Olga A. Mural Field at Schoonover Stadium. 'Voice of the Bobcats' Russ Eisenstein and Max McDulin will have the call of the action on WOUB 1340 AM and online on OhioBobcats.com via Stretch Internet.