The calendar says otherwise, but the postseason starts now for the Ohio University baseball team.
The Bobcats (16-31, 10-13 Mid-American Conference) head to Western Michigan this weekend for the final series of the regular season. The Broncos (17-29, 10-12 MAC) and Ohio are the only two teams in contention for the sixth, and final, qualifying spot for the 2019 MAC Tournament.
The MAC Tournament, which begins on May 22 at Sprerger Stadium in Avon, Ohio, will only be a six-team field this season. So far, five MAC programs have already locked up spots in the field with Central Michigan (19-5 MAC), Ball State (17-5), Miami (15-8), Kent State (14-8) and Northern Illinois (13-11) already assured of a spot in Avon.
That leaves the Broncos and Bobcats — separated by just 20 percentage points — vying for the final spot. Bowling Green (7-17), Eastern Michigan (6-18) and Toledo (4-18) have already been eliminated from tournament consideration.
It sets up a relatively simple scenario in Kalamazoo this weekend. If Ohio wins one more game than WMU during the series, it will be the Bobcats who get the final spot in the tournament. WMU (.455 winning percentage) ‘leads’ Ohio (.435) slightly going into the final weekend.
If the series goes a full three games, Ohio will have to win at least two to quality for the MAC tournament. If weather becomes an issue and only two games are played, then Ohio would need to win both. If only one game is played, then the Bobcats have to win it to continue playing.
The series is set to begin Thursday afternoon at Bobb Stadium with a 3:05 p.m. start. It continues on Friday (2:05 p.m.) and wraps up Saturday (1:05 p.m.).
The Bobcats haven’t been a good road team this season, and enter the ultimate series in a bit of a funk; Ohio has lost four straight and five of its last six.
The Bobcats are just 7-18 in road games this season, and 3-6 on the road in MAC play. Ohio swept a three-game series at Eastern Michigan, but was also swept 3-0 in three-game sets at Ball State and at Northern Illinois. The ‘Cats, one of the weakest hitting teams in the conference, are batting just .251 for the season but that average dips to just .214 in road games.
Bobcats fade late in home loss to Marshall
Ohio put the wraps on its home schedule for 2019 with a 10-7 loss to visiting Marshall on Tuesday night inside Bob Wren Stadium.
The Thundering Herd (25-26) overcame a 6-2 deficit, and scored four times in the seventh to knock off the Bobcats.
Senior infielder Rudy Rott had three hits and drove in five runs for Ohio, while freshman infielder Zyon Avery and senior outfielder Connor McMann drove in one run apiece. Avery had a pair of hits and McMann scored three times.
Marshall took a 2-0 lead after the top of the third, but Ohio tied it in the bottom half when Rott’s double scored both McMann and Avery.
The Bobcats took a 6-2 lead in the fourth on RBI hits from Avery, McMann and Rott.
Marshall pulled to within 6-5 in the fifth on a sacrifice fly and Shane Hanon’s two-run homer.
Rott added an RBI single int he sixth for a 7-5 lead.
Sophomore right-hander Chace Harris (0-2) took the loss for Ohio after being on the hook for the four runs in the seventh.