April 28, 2006
ATHENS, Ohio - The Ohio softball team matched Mid-American Conference-leading Western Michigan pitch-for-pitch but came up just short in dropping both games of the doubleheader. The Bobcats lost the opening game 1-0 and the second game 5-4.
The losses drop Ohio to 6-10 in conference play and 24-33 overall.
The opening game featured a pitcher's duel between Ohio's Candace Warden (Hagerstown, Md.) and Michelle Sauter (Chehalis, Wash.) and Western Michigan's Krysten Shumaker, who led the MAC with a 1.00 earned run average coming to the game.
The Broncos, who collected only three hits against Warden and Sauter, scored the lone run of the game in the third inning. Western Michigan's run came on a throwing error to second base that allowed the runner who was on third to score.
Ohio's lone hit against Shumaker came with one out in the second inning, when Shannon Weidner (Pickerington, Ohio) doubled to right center. Pinch-runner Maureen McKelvey (Stow, Ohio) was sacrificed over to third but the Bobcats were unable to take advantage.
Sauter took the loss despite allowing just the one unearned run. She started the game and pitched two innings with Warden coming in to throw the final five innings, allowing only one hit while striking out three.
The Bobcat bats awoke in the second game, scoring four runs in the first two innings. After the Broncos took the early 1-0 lead with a run in the top of the first, Ohio evened the game with a run of its own in the bottom of the frame.
With one out, Marian Davis (Brighton, Mich.) was hit by a pitch for the 24th time, the most in the nation. Kelly Rodriguez (Miami, Fla.) followed with a single to center to advance pinch-runner Danielle Kelley (Franklin, Tenn.) to second. Alicia Catlette (Mogadore, Ohio) then reached on an error with Kelley coming around from second to score and even the game at one.
Ohio took advantage of some more shoddy Bronco defense in the second inning. Emily Futscher (Cincinnati, Ohio) led off with a single and, one out later, Courtney Waters (Eagle River, Alaska) singled up the middle to put two runners on.
Debbie Szalejko (Beavercreek, Ohio) followed with a single through the right side to load bases. After Davis lined out to right field, Rodriguez hit a sharp grounder threw the second baseman's legs that rolled all the way to the wall. All three runners came around to score to give the Bobcats a 4-1 edge.
The Bobcats saw their lead trimmed to 4-2 after Western Michigan scored a single tally in the fourth inning. Two frames later, the Broncos scored three runs, highlighted by a two-run triple, to take a 5-4 that Ohio could not overcome. The Bobcats put two runners on in the seventh but Western Michigan brought Shumaker in to close out the game.
Szalejko, Davis and Weidner led the Ohio offense with two hits each in the second contest.
Warden took the loss, allowing two runs on five hits in four innings of work. Sauter threw three innings, surrendering three runs on three hits.
The Bobcats will be back on the diamond tomorrow when they play MAC West opponent Northern Illinois in the first game of a two-game set. The game is slated to start at 2 p.m.