Toledo suffered a 3-2 loss to Ohio in 10 innings in Saturday’s Mid-American Conference matchup at chilly Scott Park. With the setback, the Rockets fall to 14-22 overall, 6-8 in the league.
The Bobcats (6-29, 2-12 MAC) took advantage of a RBI double off the bat of 1B Jake Madsen (3-for-5, 2 RBI) in the first extra frame to snap a 12-game losing skid. Ohio’s cleanup hitter belted a 2-2 offering from UT sophomore RHP Caleb Schillace (0-2) down the right field line to score CF Mitch Longo (1-for-5, RS) all the way from first base with the eventual game-winning tally.
Schillace was saddled with the loss, allowing one run (one earned) on two hits with one walk and three strikeouts in 3.1 innings of relief. The LaGrange, OH native was extremely effective for much of the afternoon out of the bullpen against Ohio, but he gave up the crucial two-base hit late to Madsen to suffer the setback.
Freshman RHP Sam Shutes drew the start for the Midnight Blue & Gold and was solid over the opening 6.0 frames in a no-decision, surrendering two runs (both earned) on seven hits with two walks and six punchouts.
Offensively, Toledo was held in check for a second-consecutive contest by a trio of Ohio hurlers. The Rockets finished with eight hits, including a career-tying best three off the bat of senior DH Jacob North (3-for-4, RBI), but they also left eight runners on base to suffer sixth one-run loss this spring.
Ohio opened the scoring with one run in its first at-bat on a single by Madsen. With one outs in the frame, LF Chandler Geller (2-for-4, 2 RS) hit a double down the right field line to put a runner in scoring position. Madsen followed with a hit just out of the reach of UT senior 2B Zack Michael (1-for-3) to score Geller and collect his 12th RBI on the year.
The score remained the same until the top of the sixth inning when the Bobcats benefitted from a RBI hit off the bat of Garrett Black (1-for-4, RBI). The shortstop snuck a infield hit between UT junior 3B Dan Zuchowski (1-for-4, RBI) and sophomore SS Deion Tansel (1-for-4, RS) on the left side to give the visitors a two-run cushion, 2-0.
The Rockets quickly retaliated with a run of its own in the bottom of the sixth to once again make it a one-run contest, 2-1. UT received a RBI single by Zuchowski to post his squad-best 26th RBI on the spring. The inning started with a leadoff double from Tansel, followed by a perfectly executed sacrifice bunt from senior CF Tyler Grogg (-for-) to bring Zuchowski to the plate. The Warren, MI native delivered in the clutch and laced a one-out hit up the middle to put the home team on the scoreboard.
UT then forced extra innings on a run-scoring single by North in the bottom of the ninth to end a superb afternoon for Ohio RHP Jake Rudnicki. With two outs in the frame, the Rockets strung together three-straight singles, including the final one by North, to spoil the homecoming for Rudnicki, a 2014 graduate of Toledo Central Catholic High School.
Rudnicki yielded two runs (both earned) on eight hits with no walks and four strikeouts in 8.2 innings in a no-decision.
The duo of Madsen and Geller were the focal point of the Ohio offense against a trio of UT pitchers, combining for five hits, two runs scored and two RBI.
Ohio LHP Spencer Sapp (1-0) retired the only batter he faced in the bottom of the ninth to earn his first victory of the spring.
Sapp then gave way to RHP Logan Cozart, who recorded the final three outs to collect his first save in 2014.