OXFORD, Ohio -- A two-hour rain delay at the start of the Miami's baseball game with Ohio Friday did nothing to silence the RedHawks' bats as they pounded out 21 hits for a 13-6 victory over the Bobcats at McKie Field. Matt Honchel, John Crummy and Alex Johnson each had three hits, while four more RedHawks enjoyed two hits.
For the second straight night, Miami (25-27, 14-12) jumped up in the first inning only to see Ohio come back. Honchel started the game with a double to left and took third on a groundout. He came home on an infield chopper by Crummy, who later scored on an RBI single by Chad Sedio. The Bobcats answered with two runs in the top of the second, getting a pair of two-out singles to even the game.
The RedHawks retook the lead in the third with consecutive singles by Romano, Crummy and Kevin Bower. After double play, Johnson delivered with a single to left to make the score 4-2. The RedHawks added a run in the fifth on a single by Sedio, plating Honchel, but Ohio (13-39, 8-18) closed the gap in the sixth. The Bobcats used a sacrifice fly to cut the lead to 5-3, then got a two-out hit to close to within a run. But Miami's bullpen preserved the lead when Cory Klenke took over for starter Mac Thoreson and registered a strikeout with the bases loaded.
The RedHawks escaped another bases-loaded jam in the seventh in similar fashion, this time when Seth Varner stranded three Bobcats on base with a strikeout to end that threat.
Miami broke the game open in the seventh, plating four runs on five hits, all with two outs. Johnson tripled in a run, then scored on a Dan Walsh single. Max Andresen singled before Ryan Elble plated two with a double to left center.
Ohio picked up a run in the eighth to make the score 9-5, but the RedHawks added another four-spot in its final turn at the plate. A bases-loaded sacrifice fly accounted for the first run, then Johnson picked up his third RBI of the game with a double down the left field line. An errant throw to the infield on the play made it a 12-5 lead before Andresen capped the scoring with a run-scoring single through the right side.
Consecutive doubles to start the ninth gave the Bobcats a glimmer of hope, but Wynston McMartin, the fourth Miami pitcher, snared a liner back to the mound for a double play, then induced a ground ball to end the contest.
Thoreson picked up the win to improve to 6-5. He pitched 5.2 innings, allowing four runs on seven hits. He walked four and struck out five. With his 24th career victory, he moved into a tie for ninth all-time at Miami, passing former major leaguer Charlie Liebrandt, who played for the then-Redskins from 1975-78. Ohio starter Connor Sitz (2-7) was the loser after giving up four runs on eight hits over four innings.
With the win, Miami is now guaranteed either the fourth or fifth seed at the MAC Tournament and will play either Ball State or Northern Illinois in Wednesday's first round. Those two teams meet tomorrow in Muncie for the No. 3 seed and West Division title with the loser dropping to either fourth or fifth.
Miami and Ohio close out the regular-season Saturday at McKie Field. Please note that start time has been moved up to 12 noon. Seven Miami seniors will be honored before the game.