Western Michigan vs. Ohio Weekend Baseball Recap

Keegan Akin tosses 12 strikeouts against Ohio. - Kaleb Carter

Western Michigan swooped in and declawed the Bobcats in two of three games over the weekend, though Ohio did win its first game of MAC play.

The story of the weekend was the Ohio Bobcats' inability to turn baserunners into runs as the Western Michigan Broncos took two out of three in Athens.

In game one, which the 'Cats took 5-3, Ohio cranked out 16 hits and left 11 on base in the win.

It was the pitching of freshman Jake Roehn that helped Ohio to pick up its first MAC win, and his second victory on the season personally. Roehn went a strong eight innings while allowing three runs, none of which were earned as they mostly came as a result of several errors from shortstop Tyler Finkler in the fourth inning.  Roehn dropped his E.R.A. to 3.89 on the season.

Jake Madsen, John Adryan, Tyler Wells, Scott White, Taylor Emody, and Nick Bredeson  were all able to collect two hits and team batting leader Mitch Longo cracked out three base knocks.

WMU starter Stevie Laudicina went five innings and gave up 13 hits while spotting Ohio five runs. However, only one of those wan an earned run for the Bobcats as the Broncos fielding gave Ohio an upper hand in the fourth as well.

Second Baseman Kurt Hoekstra also had his 17-game hitting streak come to an end in the game.

Saturday, miserable, rainy conditions pushed game two of the series back another day, as the two slated that game to be played on Sunday for a doubleheader.

Western Michigan bucked the 'Cats in the first game on Sunday as the chill remained in the air, but nearly as many Western Michigan fans sat in the stands as Ohio fans.

Jake Madsen let the Bobcats with three hits in four at-bats but Ohio only managed two runs to WMU's four. The Bobcats once more stranded 11 runners and failed to come through in back-to-back bases loaded situations in the fifth and sixth innings, as well as with two runners on in the fourth.

Ohio scored its runs on a Tyler Wells groundout that plated Madsen and an Emody double that scored Adryan. White and Garrett Black also pitched in two hits in the game.

Jake Rudnicki threw seven innings of seven hit, four-run ball, and contained the WMU offense as much as anything

WMU didn't exactly explode offensively, but seven different Broncos collected a hit to produce the four runs they needed for victory.

Chad Mayle went 7 2/3 solid innings on the mound and held Ohio to two earned runs while striking out five 'Cats.  It was the eight innings that gave him trouble, but Gabe Berman came on for his fourth save of the year.

Pitching was the theme in game three again for WMU, as Freshman Keegan Akin thoroughly dominated Ohio hitters at multiple points in the game. The Broncos posted a strong showing in a 4-0 win. Akin threw a complete game shutout while striking out 12 and only surrendering six hits.

"He's left-handed and threw 88-91, he threw a ton of strikes" said Coach Rob Smith "I give him a lot of credit. For a Sunday starter, a freshman to do that, that was really really impressive."

The Broncos also hit two home runs in the finale. Those came off the bats of Brandon Cable who hit a blast to right-center in the sixth for two runs and then in the seventh when Jared Kujawa cranked a solo homer to right field to give WMU its 4-0 lead.

Ohio left six on base in the finale as Tyler Wells poked out two hits and Mitch Longo extended his hitting streak to eight games with a 2 for 4 afternoon.

"We have do a better job of having our most competitive at-bats in those situations with runners in scoring position" said Smith. "Unfortunately again today, we just continue to see ourselves not be able to do that. We're getting hits and we're getting men on base and we're creating some stuff."

One bright spot for Ohio in Smith's eyes was the starting pitching for the Bobcats.

"Yeah, our weekend starting pitching is starting to shape up, and it had been really since about the third week of the year" said Smith. "...we're starting to see it really developed, so keep in mind it's two freshman and a sophomore that's in that rotation."

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