April 20, 2006
ATHENS, Ohio - Ohio starters Michelle Sauter (Chehalis, Wash.) and Candace Warden (Hagerstown, Md.) both put forth solid efforts from in the circle but it was not enough as the Ohio softball team was swept by Cleveland State, dropping both games of the doubleheader 2-1.
Both Sauter and Warden went the distance in their respective outings, combining to allow only three earned runs on six hits over 15 innings of work.
Sauter got the start in the opening game and allowed two runs in the first inning. She rebounded from the rough start to retire the final 20 batters she faced but could not get the offensive support.
The Bobcats cut the 2-0 deficit in half with a single tally in the bottom of the third. After the first two Ohio batters were retired, Debbie Szalejko (Beavercreek, Ohio) reached base on a grounder through the second baseman's legs and advanced all the way to third base. Marian Davis (Brighton, Mich.) followed by reaching base via hit-by-pitch and Kelly Rodriguez (Miami, Fla.) put the Bobcats on the board with a single to center to plate Szalejko.
The Ohio offense loaded the bases in the fourth frame and put a runner in scoring position in both the fifth and sixth innings but was unable to push a run across.
Sauter took the loss to fall to 11-11 on the year. In seven innings of work, she allowed two earned runs on only two hits.
The second game of the doubleheader saw little offense until the later innings, with Ohio and Cleveland State combining for one hit through 5 and one-half innings of play.
After being held hitless in their first five at-bats, the Bobcats woke up in the bottom of the sixth. With two outs, Szalejko reached base on a well-placed bunt down the third-base line. After Davis singled through the right side to put runners on first and second, Rodriguez reached on an infield single with Szalejko scoring all the way from second to give Ohio a 1-0 edge.
The lead did not last long as Cleveland State's Grace Luginbuhl led off the seventh frame with a home run over the left-center field wall to send the game into extra innings.
With the international tiebreaker in effect, the Vikings put a run on the board in their half of the eighth inning. The Bobcats started their half of the eighth with a runner on second but were unable to score. Ohio sees its record fall to 23-28 on the season with the losses.
Warden took the loss despite a strong effort on the mound. She threw all eight innings, allowing only one earned run on four hits while striking out eight Viking hitters.
The Bobcats return to Mid-American Conference play by hosting Akron in a two-game set Saturday and Sunday. The first pitch of Saturday's contest is set for 2 p.m.