DEKALB, Ill. — The Bobcats scored nine total runs during a weekend series at Northern Illinois, and five of them came in the ninth inning.
Add in a pair of big first innings for the Huskies, and it’s easy to see how Ohio suffered a three-game sweep at Ralph McKinzie Field.
Ohio dropped all three games — 7-6, 5-2, and 5-1 — and saw its fledgling hopes of a conference season turnaround take a hit. The Bobcats (8-21, 3-6 MAC) fell to seventh place in the MAC standings with the sweep, while NIU (10-21, 6-3 MAC) rose to fourth.
Senior Rudy Rott provided much of the punch in the lineup for the Bobcats all weekend. He finished 8 of 13 at the plate in the series, and drove in five of Ohio’s nine total runs. Rott had eight hits over the weekend, and the rest of the lineup combined for 12 over three games.
The Bobcats will be at home the entire week however. Ohio will host Ohio State (16-15), which has lost four straight, in a 6 p.m. start at Bob Wren Stadium on Tuesday. Ohio will then face off against Toledo in a three-game series starting at 6 p.m. on Friday.
Friday, 7-6 loss
Ohio jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning thanks to Treyben Funderburg’s two-run single and an RBI single from Cole Revels.
But the Huskies answered with four runs in the bottom half against starter Kenny Ogg (1-6) and never trailed again. Jake Dunham’s two-run double, and a two-run homer from Kam Smith wiped out Ohio’s early advantage.
Ogg was pegged with the loss after giving up five earned runs over 4.0 innings. Nick Kamrada needed just 12 pitches to get the final five outs for the Bobcat pitching staff.
Ohio trained 7-3 entering the ninth, but Rott blasted a three-run homer to give the Bobcats a chance.
Saturday, 5-2 loss
Rott was 3-for-4 with a two-run double in the ninth inning, but the Bobcats faced a 5-0 deficit entering the final frame. Trevor Lukkes added two hits.
Redshirt freshman starter Jack Liberatore (3-4) suffered the loss after giving up three earned runs, with three strikeouts, over the first 4.2 innings. Edward Kutt IV was good in relief after giving up one hit over two innings.
Sunday, 5-1 loss
Ohio scored early, taking a 1-0 lead in the top of the first, but it didn’t last.
NIU scored five runs in the bottom of the first, after a pair of errors opened the floodgates, and the Huskies cruised to the three-game sweep.
Rott had three hits and a double for Ohio, and Trevor Hafner added two hits.
Kutt (1-1) got the start, and was charged with just one earned run over five innings. He walked two and struck out two. Brett Manis finished up with two strikeouts over two innings.