Raleigh, N.C. – The Ohio softball team (7-2) continued play at the 2018 Homewood Suites Invitational, hosted by NC State on Saturday. The Bobcats once again swept the day's games, defeating NC State (8-5) in the first game, 5-2 and followed that up with a 6-4 victory against Delaware State (0-8) in the afternoon game.
GAME ONE: Ohio 5, NC State 2
The Bobcats would strike first in the top of the first inning after Alex Day (Hilliard, Ohio) led the game off by being hit by a pitch, she then moved to third when Allie Englant (Long Beach, Calif.) reached first on a throwing error. A batter later, Day would score after Mikayla Cooper (Delaware, Ohio) singled to left center. Morgan Geno (Chillicothe, Ohio) would then draw a walk, loading the bases with no outs. Katie Yun (North Canton, Ohio) would reach first on a fielder's choice, but in the process, Englant would be thrown out at home on the play. After Cooper would be thrown out at home after Deanna Cole (Akron, Ohio) also reached on a fielder's choice, MacKenzie Brunswick (Bellefontaine, Ohio) would reach on a fielding error, scoring Geno. With the bases still loaded and two outs, the NC State pitcher would be able to get the final out, giving Ohio a 2-0 lead after the first frame.
After starting pitcher, Danielle Stiene (Loveland, Ohio) would send the Wolfpack down in order in the bottom of the first, Ohio would be unable to get anything going in the top of the second. NC State would get their first runners of the game when in the bottom of the second, Cheyenne Balzer singled to left field and then moved to second with Alyssa Compton walked, putting runners on first and second with one out. Stiene would be able to get the next two batters to strikeout and pop out, ending the threat with the Bobcats leading 2-0.
The Bobcats would add on in the top of the third inning, when with one out, Geno would smash her first home run of the season to center field, giving the Bobcats a 3-0 lead.
NC State would threaten again in the bottom of the third when with one out, Jade Caraway singled to left center. Sam Russ would then draw a walk, placing runners on first and second with one out, before Stiene would get the next two batters to strike out and fly out, ending the inning with the Bobcats leading 3-0.
After the Bobcats went down in order in the top of the fourth, NC State would get on the board in the bottom of the inning. Timberlyn Shurbutt would lead off the inning with a single to left field. Then with no outs, Compton would hit a homerun to left center, cutting the Ohio lead to 3-2. Stiene would then send the next three batters down in order and send the game to the fifth inning with Ohio still leading, 3-2.
After an uneventful fifth inning from both teams, the Bobcats would add on to their lead in the top of the sixth. With one out, Cole would draw a walk, she would then score a batter later when Brunswick doubled to left field. Then with two outs, Brunswick would score after Taylor Saxton (Circleville, Ohio) reached on an error, putting Ohio up 5-2 going into the bottom of the sixth.
NC State would get runners on again in the bottom of the sixth inning when with one out, Shurbutt doubled to left field. Then with two outs, Shurbutt would move to third on a wild pitch and then Garner would draw walk, outing runners on first and third with two outs. The Ohio defense would then get the last batter to ground out, ending the inning with Ohio still leading 5-2.
After a scoreless top of the seventh for the Bobcats, NC State would try to mount a comeback in the bottom of the seventh. With one out, Caraway would double to left center. Then the next batter, Russ would double to left field, putting runners on second and third with one out. However, Stiene would get the next two batters to strike out and then pop out, ending the game and giving Ohio a 5-2 victory.
At the plate, Ohio scored five runs on three hits. Geno went 1-for-3 with a home run, two runs scored and an RBI. Brunswick added a double, a run scored and an RBI, while Cooper added a hit, RBI and a run scored as well.
On the circle, Stiene (5-0) got the start, pitching all seven innings, allowing two runs on seven hits while walking four and striking out 10.
GAME TWO: Ohio 6, Delaware State 4
In the second game of the day, and the first of the seeded game, the top-seeded Ohio and fourth-seeded Delaware State would square off.
Delaware State took the early 1-0 lead when in the top of the first inning when the leadoff batter, Jasmine Melgoza walked. The next batter, Kaleigh Berry singled to center. She would then move to second after Melgoza was thrown out at third. Berry would move to third after a base hit from Moreno. Berry would then score on a double steal. With runners still on, starting pitcher, Madi McCrady (Brimfield, Ohio) was able to get the final two batters of the inning out, sending the game to the bottom of the first with DSU leading, 1-0.
Ohio would get runners on in the bottom of the first, when Day led the inning off with a single. Day then advanced to second on a bunt single from Englant. Englant would then move to second after Cooper hit into a double play at third, erasing Day from the bases. After Geno walked to put runners on first and second, the Bobcats would be unable to get a run across and would go to the second down 1-0.
After McCrady sent the Hornets down in order in the top of the second, the Bobcats would strike in the bottom of the inning. The scoring started when Cole led off with a single to short. Then with one out, Brooke Rice (Mason, Ohio) would single to center, moving Cole to third, putting runners on first and third with one out. The next batter, Saxton, would single to center, scoring Cole and moving Rice to second. Both runners would then advance on a wild pitch, followed by Day drawing a walk, loading the bases.
Cole would then score on a sacrifice fly from Englant and moved the runners up a base. The next batter, Cooper, would then smash a double to center, scoring Geno and Saxton. The DSU pitcher would get the final out of the inning, but by then the Bobcats would take a 4-1 lead going to the top of the third.
Delaware State would get a run back in the top of the third, when with one out, Desiree Moreno would hit a home run to left center. The Hornets would try and add on, when the next batter, Khaliyah Flournory singled to left center, but McCrady would pitch out of the jam, sending the game to the bottom of the frame with Ohio leading 4-2.
After an uneventful third inning for Ohio and an uneventful fourth inning for both teams, Delaware State would try to chip away at the Ohio lead in the top of the fifth. Moreno would single to lead off the inning and then she would move to second on a single from Flournory. Kendall Meeks (Guysville, Ohio) would then enter the game and get the next three batters out, leaving the runners on and keeping the Ohio lead at 4-2.
After a scoreless inning for Ohio in the bottom of the fifth, DSU would continue to try and chip away in the top of the sixth. Jordan Casey would lead the inning off with a single to left field and then move to third after a double from Vanessa Washington. DSU would load the bases after Melgoza reached on a fielding error. The next batter, Berry, would then drive in two runs on a single. Then with a runner on third, Meeks would get the final two DSU batters out, ending the inning with the game tied at 4-4 going to the bottom of the sixth.
Ohio would get the runs back in the bottom of the frame. When with one out, Day would single to center and then move to second on an error after Englant reached on a fielder's choice. Both runners would move up a base on a field pitch. Cooper would then draw a walk, loading the bases with one out. The DSU pitcher would get another out, however, Yun would drive a single to right field, scoring Day and Englant and putting Cooper on third. Yun would move to second and then Michaela Dorsey would draw a walk, however the Hornets would end the inning with the final out, but the Bobcats would regain the 6-4 lead.
Meeks would then send the Delaware State batters down in order in the top of the seventh, sending the Bobcats home with the 6-4 victory.
At the plate, the Bobcats scored six runs on nine hits. Ohio was led by Day who went 2-for-2 with two runs scored. Cooper went 2-for-3 with two RBI and a double, followed by Yun who went 2-for-4 with two RBI. Englant went 1-for-3 with a run scored and an RBI, and Saxton went 1-for-3 with a run and an RBI.
In the circle, McCrady got the start, pitching four innings, allowing two runs on two hits and striking out two. Kendall Meeks (1-0) earned her first win as a Bobcat, pitching two innings, allowing two runs on three hits and striking out one.
The top-seeded Bobcats will take on the winner of NC State and Wagner in the championship game of the Homewood Suites Invitational Sunday, Feb. 25 at 12:15 p.m.