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Ohio Baseball Earns Another Comeback Win, Tops Archrival Miami In Series Opener

Ohio Baseball Earns Another Comeback Win, Tops Archrival Miami In Series Opener

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By Mike Ashcraft

Box Score (PDF)

OXFORD, Ohio -- The Ohio baseball team (20-21, 8-8 MAC) overcame a two-run deficit to defeat archrival Miami (23-15, 9-7 MAC), 4-3, on Friday (April 27) in the opening contest of a three-game Mid-American Conference series at McKie Field at Hayden Park.

The Bobcats have now won three-straight MAC games. Ohio earned its ninth comeback win of the 2018 season and fifth when trailing after six innings -- the third time the Bobcats have achieved both feats in their last four games.

Ohio took a 1-0 in the lead in the top of the first inning when sophomore shortstop Trevor Hafner (Perrysburg, Ohio) led off the game with a double down the left field line and scored one out later on a base hit to right by sophomore designated hitter Tanner Piechnick (Canonsburg, Pa.).

Miami seized control of the contest with three runs in the home half of the third. Redshirt senior first baseman Ross Haffey hit a leadoff single through the left side, then junior catcher Hayden Senger singled to left center. Sophomore third baseman Landon Stephens tied the game with a base hit to left that scored Haffey. After freshman center fielder Parker Massman reached on a fielder's choice, Senger scored on a bunt single to first by junior left fielder Mackay Williams that gave the RedHawks the lead. Massman then extended Miami's lead to 3-1 after he stole third and scored on an RBI sacrifice bunt by sophomore second baseman Will Vogelgesang.

The Bobcats began their comeback bid by getting a run back in the fifth. Hafner coaxed a leadoff walk, took second on a balk and scored one out later on an RBI ground out to third by Piechnick.

Ohio completed its rally in the seventh thanks to some two-out lightning. Junior first baseman Rudy Rott (Holmen, Wis.) got things going with a one-out, ground-rule double down the right field line. Piechnick was then hit by a pitch, and, one out later, redshirt freshman catcher Dan McCauley (Pittsburgh, Pa.) delivered the go-ahead two-RBI triple to right center to put the Bobcats back in front.

Redshrt senior right-handed closer Jake Roehn (Sandwich, Ill.) entered the game in the eighth looking to nail down the victory for Ohio. After forcing the RedHawks to strand two runners in the eighth, Roehn retired the side in the ninth, ending the contest with back-to-back strikeouts to pick up his seventh save of the year and program-record 29th of his career. He finished the contest with three strikeouts while giving up just two walks over two scoreless innings.

Redshirt senior right-handed pitcher Cory Blessing (Mayfield, Ohio) gave the Bobcats four scoreless innings of relief, striking out a career-high eight while permitting just one hit. He picked up the win to improve to 3-3 on the season. Blessing came on in relief of freshman right-hander Eddie Kutt (Westlake, Calif.), who made his first career start and fanned two over three frames while allowing three earned runs on eight hits.

Rott led Ohio's bats with a 2-for-4 effort that included two doubles, a walk and a run scored. He leads the Bobcats in both multi-hit (19) and multi-RBI (12) games in 2018. He has hit safely in each of the last six games and has reached base safely in 11-straight games.

Haffey and Senger led Miami at the plate with each tallying a pair of hits. Haffey finished 2-for-5 with a triple and a run scored while Senger went 2-for-4 with a run scored.

Sophomore right-handed starting pitcher Spencer Mraz took the loss on the mound for the RedHawks, dropping to 4-2 on the year. He struck out four but gave up four earned runs on five hits and four walks over 6.1 innings. Junior righty Shane Smith pitched 2.2 scoreless innings of relief, striking out two while allowing two hits and two walks.

Ohio will look to take its second-straight series from Miami and third in the last four years on Saturday (April 28) in game two of the 'Battle of the Bricks' series. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m. ET. Redshirt senior lefty Gerry Salisbury (Brunswick, Ohio) will get the start on the mound for the Bobcats and oppose junior right-hander Zach Spears of the RedHawks. '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. A paid live stream is available through Miami College Sports Live for all of the games this weekend.