Coming off their first championship in the Joe Nuxhall Classic, Miami baseball (15-23) looks to maintain momentum on the road against Ohio University (17-19) this weekend. They look to win their first Mid-American Conference series of their season starting tonight.
Following 4-3 and 12-6 wins over Wright State and Xavier, respectively, the RedHawks have extended their winning streak to seven games — the longest in the East Division and the second-longest in the MAC. Their longest streak of the season began with a 16-9 victory over Dayton on April 11.
Winning the Joe Nuxhall Classic after coming in second place in 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2016, has been a silver-lining in an up-and-down season for the ‘Hawks. The Red and White don’t get too much time to celebrate, as the focus now shifts to the trio of games against the Bobcats.
Entering this series, OU snapped a four-game skid in their last matchup by beating Marshall University 11-10 in 10 innings. As a result, the hosts find themselves sitting in fourth place in the East with a 3-6 conference mark. Miami occupies fifth place in the East carrying a 2-7 record in MAC play.
The Bobcats, under the leadership of fifth-year manager Rob Smith, amid a sub-.500 season, have recently seen their offensive output explode at the plate. For the campaign, Ohio has averaged five runs per game. Despite losing four of their past five contests, they have averaged eight runs in those matchups.
Leading this new uptick of production is senior Spencer Ibarra. Over the past five games, the outfielder has gone 8-for-23 at the plate with eight runs batted in. Perhaps their best hitter, Ibarra has been a threat in all 36 of OU’s games. On the season, he has hit .322 with six doubles, one triple, a team-leading nine homeruns and 46 RBI’s.
Ohio’s intimidation factor, when hitting, doesn’t stop there. Sophomore infielder/catcher Rudy Rott is hitting .284 and has hit seven homeruns and leads the team with 29 RBI’s. The Bobcats might be outscoring the RedHawks 192-174 in run totals, but that isn’t to say that the ‘Hawks can’t hit.
Of late, MU has done just as much damage as OU: averaging eight runs over their last five games.
The RedHawks start their series against the Bobcats tonight. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.