Miami Defeats Ohio, 6-4

Updated 5/18/2000

Miami's Chris Leonard fires a strike. (Photo courtesy of Miami Media Relations).

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    KENT, OHIO (May 18) - Fifth-seeded Miami University rode the hitting of John Lackaff and the pitching of Chris Leonard to a 6-4 victory over fourth-seeded Ohio University in the 2000 Mid-American Conference Baseball Tournament on May 18 at Gene Michael Field.

    Lackaff went 3-for-4 with three runs-batted-in and two runs scored and seemed to have the timely hit when the RedHawks (37-21) needed it all game long. Leonard, a freshman lefthander, threw a complete-game, allowing only nine hits and two earned runs while striking out a season-high 10 Bobcat hitters.

    "It came down to the last weekend (of the regualr season) for us to get in," said Miami head coach Tracy Smith, whose RedHawks ensured themselves of playing on the tournament's final day for the third staight year. "It's the type of thing that we don't put pressure on ourselves and just see what we can do."

    Ohio (30-24-1) opened the scoring in the bottom of the second inning on a sacrifice fly by Cory Keylor that scored Adam Foust. Leonard (6-1) then threw errantly on a pickoff attempt that allowed Keylor to advance to third and another error by third baseman Andi Scheidt allowed Keylor to score.

    Lackaff singled down the rightfield line and moved to second when Keylor mishandled the ball. Two batters later Ohio shortstop Brian Wingfield threw low to first base on a grounder by Scheidt and Lackaff came in to cut the lead to 2-1. McGee helped himself by spearing Brady Nori's chopper up the middle to end the inning.

    In the top of the fifth, Lackaff doubled to deep left center to plate Clark Mace and Bobby Barnes and give the RedHawks their first lead of the game at 3-2. The two RBI gave Lackaff 64 for the season, breaking Miami's single-season school record. Scheidt followed two batters later with a grounder up the middle to bring in Lackaff.

    Lackaff was at it again the sixth, singling with the bases loaded to knock in Mace with two outs. But Ohio starter Denny McGee (5-5) was able to keep the Bobcats within striking distance as he picked Jeremy Ison off second base with the score 5-2.

    "I have to give Miami credit," said Ohio head coach Joe Carbone. "Leonard pitched an excellent game against us and they got some timely hits on offense."

    Ohio crept back in in the bottom of the inning when Foust walked,moved to second on a single by Scott Brownlee and scored on a single by Wingfield. An error on the play on Barnes in right field allowed the runners to move up the second and third and Andrew See then singled to deep short to pull OU within 5-4. Leonard then took things into his own hands by striking out Mike Arbinger to end the inning and preserve the lead.

    Miami was not done, however, as Joe Spain stole home in the seventh inning on a squeeze attempt when Ohio reliever Walter Novosel's pitch bounced to the backstop.

    With the loss, Ohio falls to the loser's bracket and will play top-seeded Kent State University in an elimination game Friday at 10 a.m.; the winner of that game will face Miami at 4 p.m. for the right to advance to the championship game.