Updated Sat, Feb 22, 2014 2:09 pm
When the season began, the Ohio Bobcats had 20 new players on the roster, and the coaching staff knew it would need most of those 20 newcomers to contribute in order to have more success in 2014.
But coach Rob Smith knows that having to count on young players to step in and contribute right away can be a tall task.
One of those young players called upon is freshman pitcher Jake Roehn, who struggled again in his second career start on Saturday, as the Liberty Flames defeated the Bobcats 8-5.
“It just comes down to how fast the young players get acclimated to Division I baseball when the bullets start flying and how quickly they get adjusted,” Ohio coach Rob Smith said a few weeks ago. “How quickly can our young pitching staff develop, and execute?”
Three games may be a small sample size, but some of the young players that have been called on early have struggled to get acclimated to the higher level of play.
Roehn, who also started Ohio’s season opener against Murray State on Feb. 16, took the loss in the game, giving up seven runs on five hits in 4 1/3 innings, and put Ohio in an early 5-0 hole that it couldn’t recover from. Roehn’s two career starts for the Bobcats have been starts he would like to forget, giving up 13 hits and 11 runs in 7 1/3 innings combined.
Amid all the young players for Ohio, junior first baseman Jake Madsen showed why he has been Ohio’s best offensive player for the last two seasons, breaking his 1 for 9 slump from last weekend with a 2 for 4 performance, including his first RBI of the season.
The Bobcats (1-2) crossed the plate in only two innings, as they scored three runs in the third and two runs in the fifth. Four of those runs coming off of fielding errors by Liberty (2-3).
What hurt Ohio in this game was its inability to score with runners in scoring position, as the ‘Cats went 2 for 11 in scoring situations. They went just 4 for 11 when they had runners on base.
The Bobcats stranded nine runners total in the game, and stranded runners on second base and third base in the sixth inning, and runners on the corners in the seventh inning.