Mike Ohlman takes the same approach to every game. But the results have been most impressive at home.
Sunday afternoon the Buffalo Bisons catcher drove in five runs, including a three-run home run in the fifth, as the Herd earned the series sweep over the Charlotte Knights with a 10-5 win at Coca-Cola Field.
"I don't think it's anything different," Ohlman said of his numbers at home. "I think it's just the way it's been going. I try and do well everywhere we go but it seems to be falling my way here. Home field advantage, I guess."
Home field advantage indeed. Eight of his nine home runs have been at the downtown ballpark. He is batting .333 and he's driven in 23 runs in the 20 games he's played in at Coca-Cola Field.
That continued on Sunday as he went 3 for 5 with five RBIs and two runs scored.
"I saw a guy that's ready to hit when they threw a ball in an area to swing at," Bisons manager Bobby Meacham said. "A lot of times I think he takes pitches early in the count just to see the pitcher and get a gauge on him but today, he must have been watching film before because he looked like he was ready to hit it when a guy made a mistake. They made enough mistakes that he did some damage today."
It might not have been film, but Ohlman learned from last week's trip to Charlotte where he went 2 for 10 in three games.
"Seeing them relatively recently, I saw a pattern that the pitchers were doing," Ohlman said. "They were trying to pound me in with fastballs and only mix in some sliders. I made an adjustment there, backed off the plate a little bit and gave myself some more room. I think it showed this series."
Potential Pompey setback: Dalton Pompey joined the Bisons on Sunday to continue his Major League rehab after suffering a concussion in the World Baseball Classic in March. He started the game in centerfield, making a shoestring catch. Batting leadoff he had a single in his first at-bat but struck out awkwardly in the second. After three innings he was pulled from the game.
"We had to take him out. I'm not sure exactly but he felt something with his leg," Meacham said. After making the catch in center, Meacham said he saw Pompey "flexing his knee the next inning. I said something's wrong. We just took him out to make sure. I don't know exactly what it is but it was like 'get him out of there.'"
Pompey was not available to speak to the media after the game.
Scoring first: Bisons improved to 19-9 when scoring the first run of the game. They took a 2-0 lead in the second when Christian Lopes doubled to the gap in left-centerfield scoring Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ian Parmley for a 2-0 Bisons lead.
Three-hit day for Leblebijian: It was the second time this homestand that Jason Leblebijian had a three-hit game. The third baseman had three singles. In the first had a two-out single up the middle to score Lopes and give the Herd a 3-0 lead. In the sixth his two-out single again scored Lopes, giving the Herd a 7-3 lead.
Knights rally: The Bisons 19-inning shutout streak ended in the sixth as Charlotte scored three runs. Only one was earned after Lopes had an error at second base putting the leadoff runner on base. An RBI single from Nicky Delmonico put the Knights on the board and Charlotte scored two more on a sacrifice fly to deep center and a ground out. By the end of the inning, the Knights had cut Buffalo's lead in half, 6-3. They added two more in the ninth, but Chad Girodo was able to close out the inning and give the Herd the sweep.
Attendance: Official paid attendance was 6,149 although a number of people seemed to be scared away by the weather forecast.
Up next: Bisons kick off a seven-game road trip with three games against Lehigh Valley in Allentown, Pa. The IronPigs lead the International League North Division and swept the Herd in early May to gain control of first place. The Bisons then travel to Pawtucket for four games, returning to Coca-Cola Field on June 13.