AKRON, Ohio - Led by a clutch two-RBI double by Madison Claytor, the Ohio softball team rallied past the sixth-seeded Akron Zips, 3-1, in the opening game of the Mid-American Conference Tournament on Wednesday evening (May11). The Bobcats will now face Miami on Thursday, May 12 at 3:30 p.m.
"The whole game we had to fight at the plate," Claytor said. "I just wanted to come through for our pitchers and coming into the sixth inning we were attacking from both sides of the plate. I felt like a squared up well and just drove the ball."
The Bobcats struck first in the bottom of the first inning. Jamie Wren (Whittier, Calif.) led the game off by walking. Taylor Saxton (Circleville, Ohio) then reached by hitting into a fielder's choice, eliminating Wren from the bases. Saxton then stole second and then advanced to third when Danielle Stiene (Loveland, Ohio) grounded out. Saxton would then score on a heads up play when the Akron catcher threw the ball past the pitcher, putting Ohio up 1-0.
Akron responded in the bottom of the frame when Savannah Fruin led the inning off with a single. Carley Childress would then single, putting runners on first and second with one out. Gabrielle Fredericks would then hit an RBI single to leftfield, scoring Fruin, tying the game at 1-1.
The Bobcats got a runner in scoring position in the bottom of the third inning when Michaela Dorsey (Grove City, Ohio) singled to the shortstop and then advanced to second on a ground out by Wren. However, the Bobcats could not push the runner across and the score would remain 1-1.
Akron threatened to take the lead in the top of the fourth inning when with one out, Fruin singled to right field and then reached third on an error by the Bobcat right fielder. Savannah Jo Dorsey (Grove City, Ohio), the 2016 MAC Pitcher of the Year, would then enter the game in the circle and get the next two batters to strikeout and fly out to end the Zips threat and keep the game tied at 1-1.
Ohio once again threatened in the bottom of the fifth inning. With one out, Madison Claytor (Alpharetta, Ga.) struck out by reached on a passed ball by the catcher. Michaela Dorsey would then single and both runners would advance to second and third on a passed ball. Wren would then hit into a force play at the plate, eliminating Clayor from the bases on a close play at home. Saxton would then walk to load the bases, however, Akron would get Stiene to strike out looking and end the Ohio rally and keep the game tied at one apiece.
The Ohio trend of late inning heroics continued in the bottom of the sixth inning. With two outs, Mikayla Cooper (Delaware, Ohio) singled and then advanced on a fielder's choice by Deanna Cole, putting runners on first and second. MacKenzie Brunswick (Bellefontaine, Ohio) would then enter the game to pinch run for Cooper. The next batter, Claytor would then rope a pitch down the rightfield line into the corner for a double, scoring Brunswick and Cole and putting Ohio up 3-1.
Akron attempted a rally in the top of the seventh inning when lead-off batter, Fruin walked. She then advanced to third when Fredericks singled with two outs. However, Savannah Jo Dorsey would get pinch-hitter, Kelly Hysong to strikeouts and end the game, giving Ohio the 3-1 victory.
In the circle, Stiene got the start, pitching 3.1 innings, allowing one run on four hits and striking out four. Savannah Jo Dorsey entered the game in the fourth inning, pitching 3.2 innings, allowing no runs on one hit and striking out three.
At the plate, the Bobcats had four hits, led by Michaela Dorsey who went 2-for-3. Claytor has a double and two RBI and Cooper also added a hit for the Bobcats.
Ohio returns to action tomorrow afternoon (May, 12) when they five the second-seeded Miami. First pitch is set for 3:30 p.m. at Firestone Stadium in Akron, Ohio.