ATHENS, Ohio - In its first home action of the 2012 season, Ohio Softball split a doubleheader with visiting Eastern Kentucky on Tuesday afternoon. The Bobcats earned a 4-1 victory in the first game before falling by a final score of 9-0 in the second.
Freshman pitcher Lauren McClary picked up her sixth win of the season in the first game, pitching a complete game in which she only allowed seven hits and one run. The native of Pasadena, Texas hit her locations well throughout the contest, striking out ten Eastern Kentucky batters en route to picking up the victory.
Ohio opened the scoring early in the first inning with two hits, one from senior Jillian Van Wagnen (Lorain, Ohio), followed by a single through the left side by classmate Brooke Morgart (Wayne, Ohio) to drive Van Wagnen home. The Bobcats kept the 1-0 lead over the Colonels until the top of the third inning when Eastern Kentucky answered with a home run to left field by junior Raquel Howes.
The Bobcats regained their momentum in the bottom of the fourth inning. Sophomore Raven King (Alpine, Utah) reached first base on a walk and junior Lauren Gellerman (San Diego, Calif.) succeeded in her sacrifice attempt to move King to second. King advanced to third after a single up the middle by pinch-hitting sophomore Alexandria Basquez before freshman Dakota Pyles (Galloway, Ohio) earned the RBI with a single up the middle, sending King home to pull ahead of the Colonels by a score 2-1.
Ohio held Eastern Kentucky in the top of the fifth with two pop fly outs to senior Alexis Joseph (Alvin, Texas) followed by a swinging strikeout by freshman pitcher McClary. The Bobcats continued their offensive rally in the bottom of the fifth with Gellerman smacking a home run deep to left field, bringing in Joseph for two RBI and taking the score to 4-1.
McClary shut the door on any hope that the Colonels would have of a comeback, not allowing any runners to advance past second base in the final two innings.
A different Eastern Kentucky team showed up for the second game of the afternoon. The Colonels' bats came alive in a big way as EKU hitters belted 13 hits in their 31 at-bats en route to scoring nine runs. Leading the way was right fielder Melissa Costa, who hit safely in three of her four plate appearances.
The Colonels plated three runs in the first inning of the game. Carissa Reisinger walked and then stole second, shortly thereafter getting driven in by a Costa double to center field. With Costa occupying second, Howes belted her second home run of the day (and ninth of the season), making it 3-0 early.
After two difficult innings to begin the game, freshman pitcher Kaylin Clarke (North Royalton, Ohio) showed poise in retiring five of the next six batters. She ended the day with four earned runs in 4.1 innings of work. Caitlin Colvin (Bonney Lake, Wash.) and McClary took over from there, pitching out the rest of the contest. McClary continued her strong outing from the first game, getting through the final inning without allowing a hit.
The Bobcats will next be in action on Friday, March 30 when they take on the Bowling Green Falcons in a Mid-American Conference opening doubleheader at the Ohio Softball Field. Game times are set for 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.