ATHENS, Ohio - In an exciting pitcher's duel at the Ohio Softball Field, the Bobcats lost a close 2-0 contest to the visiting Akron Zips on Sunday. The loss denied Ohio a season sweep of the series between the teams and was the first loss against the Zips in six games.
Lauren McClary had a solid day on the mound for the Bobcats, throwing seven innings and striking out six while allowing seven hits and two earned runs. Brittany Maurer, her counterpart for Akron, went the full seven innings as well, allowing five hits and striking out four.
Ohio (16-21, 5-5 MAC) ran and monitored the basepaths very well on Sunday, stealing three bags while picking off two. Lauren Gellerman (San Diego, Calif.) was very focused defensively, catching two Zips straying just a little bit too far away from first base.
Both teams were paced by solid starting pitching performances, as each side collected just three hits and zero runs through the first four innings of play. Maurer retired 12 of her first 16 batters faced for the Zips.
Akron (14-23-1, 1-9 MAC) was able to strike first in the top of the sixth inning, putting two runs on the board in the late stages of the game. With one runner on base, Alissa Birkhimer stepped up to the plate and launched a home run deep to left center field. The two-run shot was her sixth of the 2012 season.
In Ohio's half of the sixth inning, the Green and White came just a few feet away from tying the contest. Alexis Joseph (Alvin, Texas) got on base with a solid single, bringing Raven King (Alpine, Utah) to the plate as the tying run. King blasted a ball to deep right field, one which fell just a few feet short of the outfield wall.
McClary was able to defuse a dangerous situation in the top of the seventh inning, preventing Akron's lead from expanding. The freshman was able to strike out Maurer with the bases loaded before she generated an inning-ending ground out.
Maurer did not allow any Bobcats to get on base in the bottom of the seventh inning, striking out two hitters and inducing one ground ball to the shortstop.