Junior Kaylin Clarke drove in three runs to help the Ohio University softball team defeat Iowa and begin a season 4-0 for the first time in 18 years on Sunday at the Carolina Classic.
Feb. 9, 2014
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Senior Raven King (Alpine, Utah) and freshman Casie Hutchinson (Lebanon, Ohio) each collected three hits and junior Kaylin Clarke (North Royalton, Ohio) drove in three runs to propel the Ohio University softball team (4-0) to its fourth straight victory to open the 2014 season -- a 9-6 triumph over Iowa (2-2) on Sunday (Feb. 9) at the Carolina Classic.
"Coming out on the final day of a challenging weekend, I am so proud of the intensity and focus that we showed," said sixth-year head coach Jodi Hermanek. "It's a lot to ask for after being at the park from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in yesterday's doubleheader win, but this team came ready and eager. The staff loves that hunger for the game. Scoring in five consistent innings against a talented Iowa squad is a huge testament to our offense's talent."
The Bobcats are 4-0 for the first time since 1996. Ohio scored 33 runs on 36 hits -- including 10 doubles, two triples and five home runs -- while limiting the opposition to just 13 earned runs and striking out 34 on the opening weekend of play.
"The team had set goals for this weekend, and I'm certain that they have surpassed them," said Hermanek. "The Bobcats were dynamite to watch this weekend. Are there parts of the game that we need to sharpen up on? Yes, but, for the most part, those things will come with time on the field together and are very controllable."
Iowa stuck first with two runs in the top of the first inning, but Ohio responded with four runs in the home half of the frame. Sophomore Alexia Cortez (Beaufort, S.C.) hit a leadoff single back to the pitcher. King followed by drawing a walk, and Hutchinson loaded the bases with a single to left. Cortez scored Ohio's first run by way of an RBI groundout by senior Alexandria Basquez (Elk Grove, Calif.). Freshman Madison Claytor (Alpharetta, Ga.) coaxed a walk to reload the bases, setting the table for Clarke to drive in three more runs with a double to left center.
The Hawkeyes knotted the contest at four-all in the ensuring inning, but the Bobcats recaptured their two-run edge in the home half as Cortez reached on a fielder's choice and later scored on a failed pickoff attempt and King singled to center and later scored courtesy of a sacrifice fly by Hutchinson.
Ohio increased its advantage to 8-4 by tallying runs in the third and fourth. Claytor drew a walk and was replaced on the base path by senior Erin Lashley (Pickerington, Ohio) in the third. Junior Adrienne Gebele (Annapolis, Md.) plated Lashley on a double to right center. King gave the Bobcats a four-run lead on a two-out bomb to center in the fourth.
Iowa got two runs back in the top of the fifth, but Ohio made it a three-run affair in the bottom half when Claytor drew a leadoff walk and scored two outs later on a double to center by junior Dakota Pyles (Galloway, Ohio).
Sophomore Savannah Jo Dorsey (Grove City, Ohio) sat down the side in the sixth and the seventh to seal the win for Ohio and earn her third pitching victory in as many days. She fanned eight over 4.1 innings of relief work, surrendering two earned runs on three hits.
The Bobcats travel to Georgia's version of Athens next weekend (Feb. 14-16) to participate in the 11th Annual Georgia Softball Classic.