AKRON, Ohio –Thanks to a clutch RBI single from MacKenzie Brunswick in the bottom of the sixth inning, the top-seeded Ohio softball team (36-15) outlasted No. 4 Kent State (29-22) in the second round of the Mid-American Conference Tournament, Thursday (May 10) afternoon inside Firestone Stadium. The Bobcats will face off against No. 7 Northern Illinois tomorrow (May 11) at 3:30 p.m. in the semifinals.
Kent State would get runners on in the top of the first inning. After starting pitcher, Danielle Stiene (Loveland, Ohio) struck out the first batter of the game looking, Emily Dobbin would reach first on an infield single. Holly Speers would draw a walk and then both runners would advance on a fly out, putting runners on second and third with two outs. Stiene would then get the last batter of the inning to strikeout, sending the game to the bottom of the first with the game scoreless.
After Ohio went down in order in the bottom of the first, Kent State would get a two-out baserunner when Carlee Selle singled to left field. However, the Ohio defense would record the final out and send the game to the bottom of the frame with the still tied at 0-0.
After Stiene sent the Flashes down in order in the top of the inning, the Bobcats would strike in the bottom of the third inning. With two outs, Taylor Saxton (Circleville, Ohio) would reach on an error. She would then steal second. Mikayla Cooper (Delaware, Ohio) would then draw a walk, putting runners on first and second. Alex Day (Hilliard, Ohio) would then come to the plate and rope an RBI single up the middle, scoring Saxton from second, giving the Bobcats the 1-0 lead going into the top of the fourth inning.
Kent State would tie the game in the top of the fourth inning, when with two outs, Maria Cegledy would single and then move to second on a throwing error. Allie Luther would then draw a walk, bringing Selle to the plate who would single to shallow right field, scoring Cegledy, to tie the game at 1-1 going to the bottom of the fourth.
Ohio would get a runner on in the bottom of the fourth inning when Morgan Geno (Chillicothe, Ohio) drew a walk. She would be replaced on the bases by Deanna Cole (Akron, Ohio). However, the Bobcats would hit into a double play and then Kent State would get out of the inning, sending the game to the fifth with it tied 1-1.
After the Bobcats sent the Flashes down in order in the top of the fifth, Ohio would get another baserunner when Allie Englant (Long Beach, Calif.) singled to leftfield. Unfortunately, the Bobcats would be unable to push her across, sending the game to the sixth with the game tied at 1-1.
After the Bobcats once again sent Kent State down in order in the top of the sixth, the Bobcats would break through in the bottom of the frame. With one out, Katie Yun (North Canton, Ohio) would single. She would then move to second when Geno drew her second walk of the game. Still with one out, Natalie Alvarez (Long Beach, Calif.) would reach first on a fielder's choice and during the play, Geno would be safe at second when the second baseman dropped the force out.
With the bases loaded, Alexa Holland (Rochester, Ind.) would enter the game to run for Alvarez at first. Then with two outs, Brunswick (Bellefontaine, Ohio) would work a 3-2 count and then drive the ball past the shortstop, scoring Yun from third and putting Ohio up 2-1. The Bobcats would add on when Englant drew a bases loaded walk, sending the game to the top of the seventh with Ohio leading 3-1.
Kent State would threaten in the top of the seventh. With two outs, Kaitlyn Miller would single. She would then move to second when pinch hitter Hunter Brancifort would be hit by a pitch. However, Yun would collect the final out of the game and give Ohio the 3-1 victory.
At the plate, Ohio scored three runs on four hits. Day, Yun, Brunswick and Englant all registered a hit, while Geno drew two walks. Yun, Saxton and Geno all scored a run, while Brunswick, Day and Englant all recorded an RBI.
In the circle, Stiene pitched all seven innings, allowing one run on five hits, walked two and struck out eight batters. With the win, Stiene picked up her 25thwin of the season, tying her for the single season record for wins.
The top-seeded Bobcats will face off against No. 7 NIU on Friday, May 11 at 3:30 p.m. inside Firestone Stadium. With the Bobcats advancing today in the winner's bracket, they are guaranteed to stay in Akron until Saturday, either playing at 10:30 a.m. or at 1 p.m. on May 12.