April 12, 2006
Box Score |
ATHENS, Ohio - The Ohio softball team kicked off its home schedule by earning a doubleheader split with Virginia Tech, which is listed 27th in the nation in the latest ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25 Poll. The Bobcats dropped the opener 4-3 but rebounded to take the back end 3-1.
The Bobcats move to 20-22 on the year following today's action.
"We were extremely pleased with how we played today," head coach Jill Matyuch said. "We played well offensively, defensively and we pitched well."
Ohio took the second game behind the arm of Candace Warden (Hagerstown, Md.) and the pinch-hitting power of Cathy Walters (Chandler, Ariz.).
With the game tied at one in the bottom of the fourth, Robin Miller (Chagrin Falls, Ohio) was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. One out later, Walters connected for her first collegiate home run to give the Bobcats a 2-0 lead they would not relinquish.
"It is extremely difficult to come in and pinch hit," Matyuch. "Cathy knows that we just want some good swings from her."
After the Walters blast, Warden took care of the rest, holding the Hokie offense hitless for the rest of the game. The effort gave Warden the win and improved her record to 6-6 on the season. She pitched all seven innings, allowing only one run on two hits against a Virginia Tech offense that was hitting .302 coming into the doubleheader.
"Candace was just in the groove today," Matyuch said. "She went out there and did an excellent job of shutting down an extremely potent offense."
The Bobcat win also made a loser of Hokie pitcher Angela Tincher, who came into the doubleheader with an 18-3 record and a 0.66 earned run average.
Ohio scored its first run of the game in the bottom of the third. With two outs, Kelly Rodriguez (Miami, Fla.) laced a double to center. After a wild pitch advanced Rodriguez to third, Shannon Weidner (Pickerington, Ohio) reached on an infield single to score Rodriguez and put the Bobcats on the board.
Debbie Szalejko (Beavercreek, Ohio) led the offense, going 2-for-3 with two singles and her eighth stolen base of the year.
In the opening game of the twin bill, Ohio attempted to mount a late-inning comeback but fell just short. In the bottom of the seventh, trailing 4-2, the Bobcats loaded the bases with no outs. Miller was hit by a pitch to score a run and cut the deficit in half but Ohio was unable to push another run across.
Michelle Sauter (Chehalis, Wash.) took the loss for the Bobcats, allowing four runs on 10 hits over five innings of work. Sauter falls to 9-8 with the loss.
Virginia Tech took a 4-0 lead on Ohio with two runs in both the third and fifth frames. The Bobcats chipped away at the deficit with single tallies in the fifth and sixth innings.
Szalejko was hit by a pitch to lead off the fifth frame and advanced to second on a passed ball. After an Alicia Catlette (Mogadore, Ohio) single put runners on the corners, Rodriguez fouled out to the catcher. Szalejko used some aggressive base running on the play, capitalizing on a Hokie collision by the first base dugout to score from third and turn the Rodriguez pop out into a sacrifice fly.
In the sixth frame, Amanda Sacks (Chugiak, Alaska) singled with one out. Marian Davis (Brighton, Mich.) and Kristen Salvatore (Kirkland, Ohio) followed with back-to-back singles. After the Salvatore hit, the Bobcats got in run downs between first and second, second and third, and third and home. Sacks scored on a play at the plate and Davis and Salvatore each moved up a base.
Rodriguez paced the Bobcat offense over the two games, going 4-for-6 with two doubles, two runs scored and an RBI.
"Kelly has been putting in extra time in the cages and it showed today," Matyuch said.
Ohio will return to the diamond Friday when it hosts Mid-American Conference foe Kent State in a doubleheader. The first game is slated to begin at 1 p.m.