AKRON, Ohio - Ohio Softball lost an exciting MAC Tournament game against the Kent State Golden Flashes on Thursday afternoon, falling by a final score of 9-5. The Bobcats battled back from an early 5-1 deficit but were ultimately unable to keep Kent State at bay in the later innings.
Kaylin Clarke (North Royalton, Ohio) got the start for Ohio and threw 1.1 innings while allowing five hits and four earned runs. Lauren McClary (Pasadena, Texas) came on in relief in the second inning and threw a solid 4.2 innings, allowing four hits and only one earned run.
Erin Lashley had a great day for the Bobcats, collecting two hits in her three at-bats. She was also very solid defensively, making numerous difficult plays in left field.
Brooke Morgart (Wayne, Ohio) got things started for the Bobcats in the top of the first inning, hitting the second home run of her career over the right center field fence to give the `Cats a 1-0 lead. The Golden Flashes answered back immediately in the bottom of the first frame, hitting two home runs off the bats of Lauren Grimes and Alex Marcantonio to pull out to a 3-1 lead.
Kent State added two more runs in the bottom of the second inning when Jessica Blanton ripped an RBI single through the right side of the infield.
The Bobcats were able to battle back in the top of the third inning, scoring two runs when Alexis Joseph (Alvin, Texas) hit a clutch single up the middle to bring Jillian Van Wagnen (Lorain, Ohio) and Erin Lashley (Pickerington, Ohio) around to score. The at-bat was an impressive one by the senior, as she fouled off a few good pitches and worked the count full before hitting her single. The rally was started by Lashley's double, a perfect shot over the third baseman's head and right off the left field line.
Ohio loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the fourth inning but was unable to bring any runs around to score. A popup to the second baseman was the first out of the inning and a smart double-play connection between the first baseman and the catcher ended the inning before any `Cats could reach the plate.
The Bobcats (28-29) were able to take advantage of a similar opportunity in the sixth inning, plating two runs to tie the game at five apiece. Van Wagnen reached on a fielder's choice to bring in the first run of the inning while Lauren Gellerman (San Diego, Calif.) brought in the second, hitting a sharp shot to the shortstop which was not fielded properly.
With the game tied, Kent State (27-29) took the lead for the final time in the bottom of the sixth inning when Caitie Kilbane hit a solo home run to left field. The ball went just over the fence and Lashley nearly pulled it in, running through the temporary fence in an attempt to run down the ball. The Golden Flashes were then able to put the game away, adding three more runs to push their advantage to 9-5.
Dakota Pyles (Galloway, Ohio) and Chelsea Hortman (Cincinnati, Ohio) attempted to spark a run in the seventh inning by hitting a single and walking, respectively, but Kent State's Emma Johnson was able to close things out from there.
Ohio 5, Kent State 9 WP: Emma Johnson (16-15) LP: Lauren McClary (17-17) S: None HR: Brooke Morgart (2), Lauren Grimes (5), Alex Marcantonio (7), Caitie Kilbane (2)