Ohio’s season has been defined by an outpouring of offense in the midst of subpar pitching and defensive performances. Tonight was an exception – minus two unearned runs.
The Ohio Bobcats (7-25, 3-7) fell to the Akron Zips (7-24, 4-6) in 10 innings by a final of 4-2 Friday night at Bob Wren Stadium. With one out in the tenth inning, Dan Schmidt fielded a groundball and threw it into the dugout, allowing James Sheltrown to advance to second. Sheltrown proved to be the winning run, scoring on a Daulton Mosbarger single.
“We’ve got to continue to get better defensively and I’ve told these guys from the beginning ‘If you want to be a championship caliber team, it starts with defense.’” Head Coach Rob Smith said. “Tonight was another example of that when the game was decided by making routine plays.
Perhaps the most costly inning offensively for the ‘Cats came in the bottom of the third. Ohio had loaded the bases for the three, four and five hole hitters. Jake Madsen, Tyler Wells and Schmidt were unable to convert letting the Zips get out of a huge jam.
“I just thought the three at bats we had with the bases loaded and no outs, I thought those were not as competitive as I would’ve like to have seen, especially from that part of the order.” Smith said. “If just one of those middle of the order hitters delivers something, I think it changes the complexity of the game. You can’t let them off the hook like that.”
A bright spot for Ohio was in the form of starting pitcher Jake Miller. Miller was sensational pitching eight innings, allowing six hits, two earned runs, two walks while striking out nine batters. Although Miller battled some control problems early in the first inning, he was able to bounce back allowing just one run over his final seven innings pitched.
“I’ll give him credit, he took a deep breath, got through that first inning with minimal damage and locked in.” Smith said. “He was very, very impressive and that’s Jake, I appreciate how he competes. He’s going to continue to grow and develop.”
Akron got on the board in the first inning after Devan Ahart reached on a fielder’s choice, scoring Mosbarger from third base. Cody Gaertner, however, tied things up in the third inning as he singled to plate Nate Squires.
A leadoff triple from Joey Havrilak in the top of the fourth inning was followed up by a Jared Turocy RBI groundout, allowing Akron to reclaim the lead rather quickly. Ohio responded in the bottom of the sixth inning as a Ben Otto single scored Scott White, tying the score at two runs apiece.
Ohio and Akron will return to Bob Wren Stadium tomorrow afternoon at 3 p.m. to play the second game in the three game weekend series. Smith knows it’s important for his team to have a short memory.
“It’s disappointing losing this game, but even more disappointing would be if we come out and let this thing linger, feel sorry for ourselves and don’t come out and play hard [tomorrow].” Smith said.