The Georgia Southern Eagles had plenty of opportunities.
They just didn’t take advantage of any of them.
The Eagles stranded 11 batters, five in scoring position, including the potential game-tying run in the bottom of the ninth, as the Ohio Bobcats held on for a 3-2 win on Friday at J.I. Clements Stadium.
“The difference in the game was the little things,” GSU coach Rodney Hennon said. “We weren’t very good offensively tonight. They were better. They executed better than we did, and that was the difference in the game.”
Ohio (3-4) relief pitcher Corey Wells started off the bottom of the ninth by throwing eight-straight balls and putting runners on first and second.
Ben Morgan failed to lay down a sacrifice bunt twice, then grounded into a double play sending Josh Black to third.
Aaron Mizell was walked intentionally by Jeremy Cronk putting runners on the corners.
Chase Griffin drove a 1-0 pitch toward the right-center gap, but Scott White ranged under it for the final out.
Morgan also had runners on first and second with nobody out in the seventh, but struck out after two failed bunt attempts.
Ohio starter Jake Roehn, a true freshman making his third-career start was masterful, striking out nine in six innings of work and allowing a run on four hits.
“I thought their guy showed a lot of poise for a true freshman out there,” Hennon said about Roehn. “He pitched a really good game for them. Every day you’ve got to bring an edge about you and do the little things, especially when you run into a guy who’s throwing the ball well.”
Ohio used seven pitchers. Roehn (1-1) got the win and Cronk got his first save of the season.
Georgia Southern’s Sam Howard gave up all three Ohio runs, two of them earned, and allowed eight hits in six innings.
Georgia Southern (7-2) was out-hit 10-5. Matt McCall and Jason Richman combined for three shutout innings of relief.
Ohio’s leadoff batter reached and scored in each of the second, third and fifth innings.
Mitch Longo led off the second with a double and scored on an error by GSU shortstop Dalton Busby. Scott White doubled in the third and scored, and reached on a walk in the fifth, stole second and scored on an RBI single by Tyler Wells.
The Eagles loaded the bases with one out in three-straight innings, but managed only two runs in the process.
“It was a team loss,” Hennon said. “We’ve got to learn a lesson from tonight. We work on the little things day in and day out, and tonight was a good example of how critical it is, whether it’s getting a bunt down or getting a guy in from third base with less than two out.”
Garrett Chapman cut Ohio’s lead to 3-1 when he scored on a bases-loaded ground ball by Black in the fifth.
Another run went up on the board in the seventh when Black scored on a bases-loaded sacrifice fly and cut the Bobcats lead to 3-2.
Georgia Southern returns to action today at 5 p.m., when it faces Southern Illinois-Edwardsville.
The game will follow a 1:30 p.m., first pitch between SIUE and Ohio.
The Eagles will play a doubleheader against both teams on Sunday beginning at 1:30 p.m.
Matt Yogus may be reached at (912) 489-9408.