Ohio's Hit King

Ohio senior infielder Rudy Rott became the Bobcats’ all-time leader in career hits on Friday, May 24. Rott had seven hits as Ohio split a pair of games in the 2019 MAC Tournament and finished his collegiate playing career with 293 hits.

Note: This story appears in the Thursday, June 6 newspaper on Page B1. 

Rudy Rott was, to the surprise of many, not selected in the 2018 MLB First-Year Player Draft.

Rott came back to Ohio, posted a second straight Mid-American Conference Player of the Year season in 2019, and finally got the call.

The Philadelphia Phillies selected Rott with the 270th pick, in the ninth round, of the 2019 MLB Draft on Tuesday.

Rott, a first baseman from Holmen, Wisc., became the 70th Bobcat to be selected in the MLB draft since it began in 1965. Rott is the fourth Ohio player drafted under current Bobcat head coach Rob Smith, and is the highest selected player of that quartet.

Outfielder Mitch Longo (2016, 16th round, Cleveland), right-handed pitcher Logan Cozart (2015, 21st round, Colorado) and right-handed pitcher Brett Barber (2013, 37th round, Toronto) are the three previous Ohio players under Smith to get drafted.

But it’s Rott who became Smith’s first to crack the top 10 rounds of the draft.

“This is absolutely well deserved for a kid who has worked incredibly hard and has left Ohio University as one of the best baseball players to ever put on the uniform,” Smith said in an Ohio release. “One year ago I know there was a lot of disappointment in the fact that he didn’t get drafted but he came back and was the MAC Player of the Year for a second time in a row which had never been done in our league.

“I couldn’t be more proud of him and we’re very excited for his future.”

Rott was an All-American for the first time in his career after being named Preseason All-America by the same publication before the 2019 season started. Rott was also named a Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American in 2016. Earlier this season, Rott won MAC Player of the Year, becoming the first back-to-back and two-time winner of the award in the league’s history. Rott was also named First Team All-MAC. During the MAC Tournament, Rott became Ohio’s all-time hits leader and finished his career with 293 hits and ended his with a career .339 batting average.

Rott led the Bobcats in batting average (.382), hits (81), doubles (18), home runs (10), RBI (47), slugging percentage (.618) and on-base percentage (.464). His .382 batting average was No. 28 in the nation and second in the MAC. Rott was second in the league in slugging percentage and tied for third in home runs.

Rott and the Bobcats finished the season 20-34 and 12-14 in the league and earned the No. 6 seed in the MAC Tournament. Ohio won two games in the MAC Tournament, including a 17-inning elimination game over Miami, 6-5. The game was the longest in MAC Tournament history.

Email at jarkley@athensmessenger.com; follow on Twitter @JasonAmessenger

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