Note: This recap appears in the Friday, May 24 newspaper on Page B1.
AVON, Ohio — The Bobcats’ magic in the MAC Tournament evaporated in a hail of walks and hit batters.
No. 1 seed Central Michigan plastered Ohio, 18-9, in a second-round game in the 2019 MAC Baseball Tournament on Thursday afternoon at Sprenger Stadium.
The Bobcats (19-33) saw their nine-game winning streak in the MAC Tournament come to an end. The loss was the first in the event for seventh-year head coach Rob Smith.
Ohio now faces elimination in a 10 a.m. start on Friday against No. 4 seed Miami (37-18) back at Sprenger Stadium. The Bobcats will have to win twice on Friday, in the loser’s bracket, to keep its season alive.
CMU (44-12) extended its current winning streak to 16 games, and put the game on ice early on. The Chippewas scored four times in the first inning, and had amassed an 11-0 lead through four innings.
Ohio’s pitching staff imploded against the MAC regular-season champion. Starter Edward Kutt IV (3-5) took the loss and was lifted after two innings. Kutt was charged with five earned runs after giving up five hits, walking two and hitting three batters.
The Bobcats used five different pitchers to get through eight innings, taxing a bullpen that will facing two potential games on Friday. Ohio pitchers walked 11, and hit another five batters, combined. The Bobcats’ five pitchers labored through a combined 225 pitches.
CMU pounded out 17 hits and piled up offense throughout. The Chips batted around four times, sent at least seven batters to the plate six times and scored at least three runs four times.
CMU’s 18 runs scored were the most in the MAC Tournament since 2009. The 18 runs were the most allowed by Ohio in the tournament since the Bobcats gave up 26 to Kent State in the 2001 version.
Zavier Warren finished 4 of 5 for CMU, with two walks, and added three RBI and four runs scored. Both Zach Gilles and Jason Sullivan added two hits and three RBI.
Starter Pat Leatherman (10-1) picked up the win after working five innings. He gave up seven hits and three runs, but struck out five.
Tanner Piechnick led Ohio with two hits, two RBI and notched his second home run in as many days with a two-run shot off Leatherman in the fifth. Michael Richardson added two RBI and Treyben Funderburg had a double, two walks, and two runs scored.
Ohio senior infielder Rudy Rott finished 1 of 3 with an RBI and two walks. His first-inning single gave him 286 hits in his career, and ties the Ohio program record (set by Jake Madsen).
Central Michigan 18, Ohio 9
Ohio 000 31 122 — 9-11-2
Central Mich. 414 204 30x — 18-17-1
Ohio — Edward Kutt IV, Braxton Kelly (3), Nick Kamrada (4), Nick Byrnes (7), Eamon Horwedel (7) and Tanner Piechnick, Nathan Mallott (8).
CMU — Pat Leatherman. Garrett Willis (6), Jack Collins (7), Ryan Palmblad (8), Ian Leatherman (8, Logan Buczkowski (9), Tyler Hankins (9) and Griffin Lockwood-Powell, Evan Kratt (7), Blake Cleveland (8)
WP — Leatherman (10-1); LP — Kutt (3-4)
2019 MAC Baseball Tournament
Wednesday, May 22
Game 1 — Ohio 7, Kent State 3
Game 2 — Northern Illinois 5, Miami 4
Thursday, May 23
Game 3 — Miami 8, Kent State 5 (KSU eliminated)
Game 4 — Central Michigan 18, Ohio 9
Game 5 — No. 2 Ball State (36-17) vs. No. 5 NIU (19-34), late
Friday, May 24
Game 6 — No. 4 Miami 37-18) vs. No. 6 Ohio (19-33), 10 a.m.
Game 7 — G6 Winner vs. G4 or G5 Loser, 2 p.m. ET#
Game 8 — No. 1 Central Michigan (43-12) vs. G5 Winner, 6 p.m. ET
Saturday, May 25
Game 9 — G7 Winner vs. G8 Loser, 12:30 p.m. ET
Game 10 — Championship Game, 6 p.m. ET
Sunday, May 26
Game 11 — Championship Game Replay, Noon ET (if necessary)