Feb. 10, 2012
SPARTANBURG, S.C. - Ohio Softball began its 2012 season on a positive note on Friday, earning a 3-0 victory over St. Bonaventure in the first game of the USC Upstate Classic. Freshman pitcher Lauren McClary threw a gem in her first career start, putting together a one-hit shutout which included 12 strikeouts. The freshman started strong and finished very well, retiring nine batters in a row to bring the game to an end.
"She was on-target and was really hitting her locations today," said head coach Jodi Hermanek. "The thing that was great about her performance today was that she got stronger as the day went on. She kept hitting those locations and decreasing the number of pitches thrown during the opposing at-bats."
The `Cats got off to a great start, taking an early 1-0 lead in the first inning. McClary (Pasadena, Texas) struck out each of the three batters that she faced in the top of the first inning, setting the tone for the game. Her solid early pitching was matched by smart base running from senior Alexis Joseph (Alvin, Texas), who stole third base and then was able to score on an error by the third baseman in the bottom of the frame.
Ohio found the board once again in the bottom of the second inning, adding another run courtesy of Raven King. The sophomore walked and advanced to second on Jenna Giusti's bunt, then ultimately reached third when pitcher Jen Sansano committed a throwing error. Sophomore outfielder Erin Lashley (Pickerington, Ohio) was then able to drive her home by hitting a single to the left side of the infield.
In possession of a 2-0 lead, McClary kept up her strong form and struck out the side in the third and fourth innings. She pitched with the confidence of having a solid defense behind her, as Ohio didn't commit a single error throughout the entire game.
"She (McClary) took the pressure off the defense," Hermanek said. "The defense was there to make the routine plays when called upon. It was a successful outing on the part of the pitching staff and the defense."
Ohio put the game away when Jillian Van Wagnen (Lorain, Ohio) scored in the fifth inning to make it 3-0. The senior hit a bunt single to the pitcher, stole second and then advanced to third on a throwing error. Joseph drove her in just a moment later by grounding out to second base.
Following a leadoff walk in the top of the fifth inning, McClary shut down the Bonnies by retiring the next nine consecutive batters.
The Bobcats will next be in action on Saturday when they face St. Bonaventure again at 10 a.m. before squaring off against Detroit at noon.
Ohio 3, St. Bonaventure 0
WP: Lauren McClary (1-0)
LP: Jen Sansano (0-1)