Ben Otto’s double in the bottom of the fifth inning infused energy into Bob Wren Stadium, bringing the crowd to its feet for the first time in game one of Saturday’s doubleheader with the Toledo Rockets (8-12, 1-1 MAC). The 9-3 win was Ohio’s first conference win of the season.
“The first conference win is always the hardest and the way we started of our year—we started off slow with only three wins coming into this opening conference weekend, so getting that first win to start off gave us momentum going forward and even though we didn’t get the win in the second game, it was good to get it off our shoulders,” Tyler Wells said.
The Bobcats (4-17, 1-1 MAC) were held hitless through the first three innings of the contest by Toledo starter Kyle Slack.
The offense came alive in the fifth inning when Otto led off with a double to left field. Ohio then loaded the bases with help from Nate Squires, who singled to right field, and Dan Schmidt, who was hit by a pitch.
With the bases loaded and no outs, Nick Squires came up to bat and sent a ball into right field for a single, giving the Bobcats their first run of the game. It didn’t end there for the Bobcats, who were able to capitalize on Toledo pitcher Cameron Palmer’s struggles with the strike zone. Palmer had replaced Slack on the mound after Nick Squires’ single. He issued bases-loaded walks to the first two batters he faced to tie the game.
With the bases still loaded and one out recorded, Wells came through with a single to center field to give the Bobcats the lead. Palmer allowed another bases-loaded walk to give the Bobcats a 5-3 lead before recording the final two outs of the inning.
The Bobcats didn’t quit there.
In the sixth, Jake Madsen doubled to bring home Cody Gaertner who walked earlier in the inning. With Madsen on second and two outs, Scott White sent a pitch over the left field fence for a two-run homer, bringing the score to 8-3.
Ohio added a final run in the bottom of the eighth on a Wells sac fly, scoring Madsen who reached on a double.
Madsen, Wells and White each brought home two runs for the Bobcats.
Toledo had held a steady presence over the Bobcats through the first four innings of the game, scoring three runs. Marck Paliotto started for the Ohio and was able to limit the damage of early mistakes.
Ben Hammer led Toledo with two hits and three RBI. Anthony Smith also recorded an RBI for the Rockets. Matt Delewski had three hits.
He ended the game with one earned run (two earned) on five fits and three walks over five innings while striking out three. He took the win, improving to 1-4 on the season.
“[Sean Kennedy] really pitched well and he helped kind of get that game in check for us. Marck Paliotto, he grinded through some innings, but it was nip and tuck and he worked out of some jams, but didn’t really throw exceptionally well, in my opinion, but Sean did come in and was throwing strikes, kept the ball down,” head coach Rob Smith said.
Kennedy came on in relief for Paliotto, hurling four scoreless innings. He surrendered four hits and struck out one.