COLUMBUS, Ohio – Following a 32-15 record in the regular season and G-MAC Tournament, Ohio Dominican's baseball team gets set for its first taste of NCAA Tournament action as the Panthers travel to Illinois Springfield for the Midwest Regional Tournament.
ODU opens the double-elimination tournament as the No. 4 seed and will take on defending regional champ and No. 5 seed Quincy at 11 a.m. ET (10 a.m. CT) on Thursday at Robin Roberts Stadium in Springfield. Quincy claimed last week's GLVC Tournament title and enters the tournament with a 39-16 record.
The Panthers will look to bounce back from two narrow defeats in the G-MAC Tournament as ODU fell 5-4 to Walsh and 6-4 in 10 innings to Trevecca. The Panthers had the tying run on third base against Walsh in the ninth inning and had the game-winning run thrown out at the plate in the ninth against Trevecca. Seven of ODU's 15 losses have come by two runs or less this spring and the Panthers are 9-7 overall in games decided by two runs or less.
ODU has excelled in the early innings in 2018, outscoring opponents 81-31 in the first inning and 64-22 in the second inning. ODU is 20-5 when it plays from in front, including an 18-4 record when scoring in the first inning.
The Panthers' bullpen has also helped carry ODU to a 27-1 record when the Panthers have held a lead after the sixth inning.
Ohio Dominican will enter the tournament with an offense that ranks fourth in the country in batting average (.337) and 10th in scoring (8.7 runs per game). The Panthers are 14th nationally in on-base percentage (.421) and 33rd in slugging (.492) as well.
Senior Justin Childers (Pickerington, Ohio) continues to lead the nation with a .563 OBP and is still first in runs scored per game (1.52). The G-MAC Player of the Year is eighth nationally with a .433 batting average and fourth with an .828 slugging percentage, with 19 doubles, five triples, 11 homers, 43 RBIs and 67 runs scored this spring. He's reached base in 37 straight games.
Junior Colin Kaucher (Toledo, Ohio) enters the tournament on a 23 game hitting streak and has reached base in 36 straight games himself. He's 10th in the country with a .429 batting average and 18th in OBP (.511), while his 1.44 RBIs per game are seventh. He has seven homers, 59 RBIs, 48 runs scored, 10 doubles and four triples to go with seven homers.
Over the last 10 games, junior Brad Hull (Gahanna, Ohio) is hitting .417 with five doubles, a triple, a homer and 11 RBIs, while senior Cody Paterniti (Chardon, Ohio) is hitting .368 with three doubles and a .442 OBP during that stretch as well.
Senior Max Banke (Oakwood, Ohio) went 3-for-8 in the conference tournament and is hitting .321 this spring with 34 RBIs. Sophomore Joey Machuga (Canfield, Ohio) ranks third on the team with 44 RBIs and junior Noah Bland (Oberlin, Ohio) continues to lead the team with 15 steals while driving in 33.
ODU has three starting pitchers with six wins in senior Matt Kittelberger (Massillon, Ohio) and juniors Mitchell Bault (Maineville, Ohio) and Garret Sendelbach (Tiffin, Ohio), while junior Joe Filosa (Fort Wayne, Ind.) leads the staff with a 4.27 ERA to go with a 4-1 record.
Junior closer Brad Wilson (Alexandria, Ohio) had an electric performance in his last outing against Trevecca, striking out 10 of 19 batters he faced in 5.2 innings, and now has 52 strikeouts against just six walks in 31.2 innings this spring, allowing just 16 hits as well.
Two other relievers in senior Dustin Cowart (Hoover, Ala.) and freshman Tim Zeller (Mount Vernon, Ohio) are averaging better than a strikeout per inning, while senior Tyler Magley (Baltimore, Ohio) has punched out 19 in 20.1 innings.
Overall, ODU's pitchers have struck out 385 batters in 383.0 innings of work this spring.
Contact: Scott Miles