Raleigh, N.C. – The Ohio softball team (5-2) returned to the diamond for the first day of the 2018 Homewood Suites Invitational hosted by NC State on Friday, Feb. 23, sweeping its two games of the day. In the first game, the Bobcats defeated Delaware State (0-5), 12-4, in five innings, and then returned later in the afternoon to defeat Wagner (0-1), 8-5, in nine innings.
GAME ONE: Ohio 12, Delaware State 4 (Five Innings)
Delaware State would start the game off with a four-run first inning, giving the Hornets a 4-0 lead headed into the bottom of the frame.
Ohio would start chipping away at the DSU lead in the bottom of the first. Alex Day (Hilliard, Ohio) would lead the inning off with a single to third base, she would then move to third when Allie Englant (Long Beach, Calif.) reached first on an error. The Bobcats would load the bases with no outs after Mikayla Cooper (Delaware, Ohio) drew a walk. Day would be throw out at home after Morgan Geno (Chillicothe, Ohio) reached on a fielder's choice, keeping the bases loaded with one out. Englant would then score after Katie Yun (North Canton, Ohio) reached on an error by the pitcher. Ohio would be unable to score another run in the inning, but would cut the DSU lead to 4-1 after the first inning.
After pitcher Danielle Stiene (Loveland, Ohio) would send the DSU batters down in order, the Bobcats would go back to work I the bottom of the second inning. MacKenzie Brunswick (Bellefontaine, Ohio) would lead off with a single down the right field line. She would then move to second after Day registered her single hit of the day, putting runners on first and second with one out. Brunswick would score a batter later when Englant singled through the right side and then moved to second on the throw, placing runners on second and third with one out.
The next batter, Cooper, would then send a ball over the left center fence, giving Ohio a 5-4 lead. Geno would then double to right field and Alexa Holland (Rochester, Ind.) would enter the game to run for Geno. Holland would move to third on a wild pitch and then Deanna Cole (Akron, Ohio) would draw a walk and steal second, putting runners on second and third with two outs. However, the Bobcats would not add on, but would take the 5-4 lead after two innings.
Delaware State would get a runner on in the top of the third on a walk, but Stiene would get the last batter to strikeout, sending the game to the bottom of the third with Ohio still leading 5-4.
The Bobcats would add on in the bottom of the third inning when Brunswick singled to lead the inning off, however she would be erased from the bases when Taylor Saxton (Circleville, Ohio) reached on a fielder's choice. The next batter, Day would then crush a ball over the right center wall, putting the Bobcats up 7-5. With two outs, Cooper would draw a walk, however the Bobcats would not add on and would go to the fourth inning with a 7-5 lead.
Stiene again would send the Delaware State batters down in order and would send the offense back out in the bottom of the fourth inning. Yun would lead the inning off with a single to left field and then would more to second on an error by the catcher, however the Bobcats would be unable to add on to the lead in the bottom of the frame, and would move to the fifth inning with a 7-5 lead.
In the top of the fifth inning, Stiene again would send the Hornets down in order and the offense would go back to work, adding on to their lead in the bottom of the fifth. Saxton led the inning off with a walk and then would move to second after Day also drew a walk. Saxton would score on an Englant single up the middle, before Cooper would draw another walk, loading the bases with no outs. Geno would then come to the plate and single down the right field line, scoring Day and Englant, putting Ohio up 10-4 with no outs and runners on first and third.
Michaela Dorsey (Grove City, Ohio) would then enter to run for Geno and Cooper and Dorsey would pull off the double steal, scoring Cooper as she took home. Yun would then draw a walk, putting runners on first and second with no outs. Cole would the reach first on an error by the second baseman, scoring Dorsey and giving the Bobcats the 12-4 run-rule victory.
At the plate, Ohio scored 12 runs on 11 hits and were led by Day who went 3-for-3 with three runs scored, two RBI, a home run and a walk. Cooper went 1-for-1 with three RBI, a home run and two runs scored while drawing three walks. Englant went 2-for-4 with three runs scored and two RBI and Geno went 2-for-3 with a double and two RBI. Brunswick went 2-for-3 and a run scored and Yun added a hit and drew a walk.
In the circle, Desirae Villanueva (Surrey, British Columbia) got the start, pitching two-thirds of an inning, allowing four runs, none earned, on two hits and walked three. Stiene (3-0) entered the game in the first inning and pitched 4.1 innings, allowing no runs, no hits, walked one and struck out five.
GAME TWO: Ohio 8, Wager 5 (9 Innings)
In the second game of the day, the Bobcats would be the visitor against Wagner. Ohio would threaten in the top of the first inning when Day led off with a walk. She would be out at second after Englant reached on an error. Englant would then move to second when Cooper drew a walk. Both baserunners would move up a base on a fly out, placing runners on second and third with two outs, however the Bobcats would be unable to get a run and go to the bottom of the first with the game scoreless.
In the bottom of the first inning, Wagner would get a runner on when with two outs Lauren Serrato singled up the middle. However, starting pitcher Madi McCrady (Brimfield, Ohio) would get the last batter to fly out, ending the inning.
Cole led the second inning off with a single to right field. Then with two outs, Cole would steal second, putting her in scoring position. However, the Bobcats would be unable to push a run across and would go to the bottom of the frame with the game still scoreless.
In the bottom of the second, Wagner would strike first. Stefanie Aplin would lead the inning off with a single to third. Then with one out, Maite Reese would hit a home run to left center. McCrady would get the next two batters out to end the inning, but Wagner would go to the top of the third with the 2-0 lead.
In the top of the third, Ohio would threaten when Day led the inning off with a single through the right side. She would then move to second when Cooper drew another walk. Cooper would be call out at second when Yun reached on a fielder's choice, putting runners on first and third with two outs, however the Bobcats would be unable to score and the game would go to the bottom of the third with Wagner still leading 2-0.
Wagner would try to add on in the bottom of the third, when with two outs, Serrato would double down the left field line and then move to third on a wild pitch., However, McCrady would get the final batter to strikeout to end the threat.
In the fourth and fifth innings, both teams would go down in order sending the game to the sixth inning with Wagner leading 2-0.
The Bobcats would finally strike in the top of the sixth inning when Cooper would reach first on a fielding error by the center fielder, she would then move to second when Geno was walked. Then with no outs on first and second, Yun would crush her first career home run to center fielder, a three-run shot, giving Ohio their first lead of the day.
Still with no outs, Cole would single to third base and then move to second when Cole drew a walk. Natalie Alvarez (Long Beach, Calif.) would be hit by a pitch to load the bases with no outs. Kendall Meeks (Guysville, Ohio) would then enter the game to pinch hit and would also get hit by the ball, scoring Cole. The Bobcats would be unable to add on, but would take a 4-2 lead going to the bottom of the sixth.
Wagner would respond in the bottom of the frame, when Zoe Bender led the inning off with a single, then move to second on a wild pitch. Serrato would then walk and with one out, Aplin would also draw a walk and Bender would score on an error. Later in the inning Serrato would also score on an error to tie the game. After another Bobcat error, Wagner would take a 5-4 lead going into the seventh inning.
In the top of the seventh, Geno would reach first on an error. Dorsey would then enter the game to run for Geno. She would then move to second on a sacrifice bunt. Cole would then single up the middle to score Dorsey and tie the game up at 5-5 going to the bottom of the seventh.
In the Bottom of the seventh, Wagner would get a runner on first on a single, but they would be unable to score and would send the game to extra innings with the game tied at 5-5.
After neither team scored in the eighth inning, the Bobcats would strike in the top of the ninth. Due to the international tie breaker rule, Englant would be placed on second. She would then move to third on a single by Cooper to left field and then move to second on the throw. Then with no outs, Dorsey would crank her first home run of the season to left field, putting the Bobcats up 8-5 going into the bottom of the ninth.
In the bottom of the ninth inning, Kayla Conners would reach second on an error, moving Aplin to third. However, Stiene would get the next two batters to strikeout and then force the final batter into a ground out, ending the game with the Bobcats coming out on top, 8-5.
At the plate, the Bobcats scored eight runs on seven hits and were led by Cole who went 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored. Cooper added a hit and two runs scored, Yun registered a home run, run scored and three RBI and Dorsey also added a home run, three RBI and two runs scored. Day added a hit and Meeks registered an RBI as well.
In the circle, McCrady got the start, allowing five runs, two earned, on five hits in six innings of work. She walked two and struck out six batters. Stiene (4-0) entered the game in the seventh inning and pitched three innings and did not allow a run on one hit and struck out three, picking up her second win of the day.
The Bobcats return to action for the second day of the Homewood Suite Invitational on Saturday, Feb. 24 when Ohio takes on host NC State at 12:15 p.m. and will play a seeded game later in the day with the opponent and time to be decided. Ohio's game against NC State will be streamed on ESPN3.