Updated Thu, Feb 20, 2014 2:25 pm
The Ohio Bobcats began the 2014 season by splitting a doubleheader with Murray State, defeating the Racers 7-6 in game one, and losing to the Racers 7-6 in game two. It was the first time Ohio won its season opener since 2008.
Next up on Ohio’s plate is a trip to Wilmington, N.C., for a three-team “Battle of the Beach” tournament with two teams that had great success a season ago, in the Liberty Flames and the UNC-Wilmington Seahawks.
The Bobcats will play two games against each team during the weekend, beginning with a game against Liberty at 12 p.m. on Friday, and 12 p.m. on Saturday, and then games against UNC-Wilmington at approximately 4 p.m. on Saturday, and 10 a.m. on Sunday.
Liberty finished 2013 with a 36-29 overall record and won the Big South Conference championship behind their strong starting pitching. As a rotation, the Flames put together a 22-18 record and a very impressive 3.00 ERA.
The 2014 season hasn’t started out well for the Flames. They currently sit with a 1-3 record after the first weekend of play, but the pitching that carried them in 2013 looks like a weakness so far, as they have given up 26 runs in four games (average of 6.5 per game), while only scoring 20 runs on offense.
Like the Flames, the Seahawks had a lot of success in 2013, finishing with a 38-23 overall record on their way to winning their second-consecutive Colonial Athletic Association championship.
The Seahawks were selected by the CAA’s head coaches to repeat as conference champions again in 2014, but struggled in their opening weekend, and sit with a 1-2 record heading into the weekend tournament. The team struggled in the first weekend, as they were outscored 20-11 in the three games while only mustering an average of five hits per-game.
Meanwhile, there was a lot to like from the Bobcats after the first two games, primarily on offense. The team carried a solid team batting average of .394, and saw a breakout performance by freshman outfielder Mitch Longo, who was 6-7 (.857) with 5 RBI in his first two collegiate games.
On the pitching side, several new faces saw action for Ohio in the opening weekend, including freshman Jake Roehn, who made his first career start in game one against Murray State (3 IP, 4 H, 4 ER) and freshman closer Corey Wells, who picked up his first career save in game one.
To leave Wilmington with at least a few victories, the Bobcats will need their starting pitchers to perform better than they did against Murray State, where neither pitcher lasted past the third inning.