DEKALB, Ill. –Led by Mikayla Cooper's four-hit day, the Ohio softball team (20-13, 8-1 MAC) rallied in the top of the seventh inning to down Northern Illinois (14-22, 5-4 MAC), 7-6, in the final game of the three-game series. The victory gave the Bobcats the series win and improved them 8-1 in Mid-American Conference play.
The Bobcats got on the board first in the top of the first inning, with Cooper (Delaware, Ohio) leading the game off with a second pitch homerun over the leftfield scoreboard, giving Ohio the early 1-0 lead.
NIU would get a runner on in the bottom of the first inning when Jenny Van Geertry led the inning off with a base hit through the right side. However, starting pitcher Madi McCrady (Brimfield, Ohio) would get the next batter to hit into a ground ball double play, and then get the final batter of the inning to ground out, ending the inning and sending the game to the second with Ohio leading 1-0.
NIU tied the game up in the bottom of the second inning. With one out, Bekah Harnish led off with a walk and then moved to second on a hit by Kayla Scaperrotta. Then with two outs, Katie Wingerter would hit a single over the head of the shortstop, scoring Harnish. The with two outs and runners on second and third, McCrady would get the last batter to pop out, ending the inning with the game tied at 1-1.
Ohio would regain the lead in the top of the third inning. With two outs, Cooper would single to right center. Alex Day (Hilliard, Ohio) would then come to the plate and demolish the ball to the right center wall for a triple, scoring Cooper from first and putting Ohio back up 2-1 going to the bottom of the frame.
Ohio would try and add on in the top of the fourth inning. With one out, Michaela Dorsey (Grove City, Ohio) and Morgan Geno (Chillicothe, Ohio) would both draw walks, putting runners on first and second. However, after an NIU pitching change, the Huskies would get the Bobcats to hit into a double play, ending the inning and sending the game to the bottom of the fourth with Ohio leading 2-1.
NIU would take the lead in the bottom of the fourth inning. Alaynie Woollard would lead off with a base hit and then move to second on a passed ball. With one out, Woollard would move to third on a ground out and then score on a fielding error, tying the game. NIU would take the lead when Abby Howlett registered a pinch-hit triple to give the Huskies a 3-2 lead going to the fifth inning.
The Bobcats regained the lead in the top of the fifth inning. Allie Englant (Long Beach, Calif.) led the inning off with a base hit. Taylor Saxton (Circleville, Ohio) then reached on a fielding error, putting runners on first and second with no outs. Cooper would then come to the plate and crush a triple to the right field wall, scoring Englant and Saxton. Cooper would then score when Day reached on fielder's choice and she slid under the tag on a play at home, giving Ohio the 5-3 lead.
NIU would get the lead back in the bottom of the fifth inning when Woollard hit a three-run homerun, giving the Huskies the 6-5 lead going into the top of the sixth.
Ohio would try to tie the game up in the top of the sixth inning. Geno would lead the inning off by reaching on an error. She would be replaced on the bases by Deanna Cole (Akron, Ohio). With two outs, Cole would steal second. Unfortunately, the Bobcats would be unable to score and would go to the bottom of the inning down 6-5.
NIU would try to add on in the bottom of the sixth inning when Anne Allen led the inning off with a base hit. She would then steal second and Van Geertry would draw a walk, putting runners on first and second with two outs. However, the Bobcats would collect the final out of the inning and go to the top of the seventh trailing 6-5.
The Bobcats would retake the lead in the top of the seventh inning. Cooper led the inning off with her fourth hit of the day with a single to second. She then moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from Day. Then with one out, Yun would crush a stand up double to the wall in centerfield, scoring Cooper and tying the game at 6-6. Yun would move to third on a ground out from Alvarez. Then with two outs, Dorsey would smash a ball between the first and second baseman, scoring Yun from third and putting Ohio up 7-6 going to the bottom of the seventh inning.
NIU tried to mount a rally in the bottom of the seventh inning, getting one runner on. However, the Ohio defense would come up clutch, and Danielle Stiene (Loveland, Ohio) would strike out the final batter of the game to give Ohio the 7-6 victory.
At the plate, Ohio scored seven runs on eight hits. Cooper went 4-for-4 with a homerun, triple, three RBI and four runs scored. Day went 1-for-3 with two RBI and a triple and Yun went 1-for-3 with an RBI double. Dorsey Added a hit and an RBI and Englant recorded a hit and a run scored.
In the circle, McCrady got the start, going four innings, allowing three runs on five hits, walking one and striking out one. Desirae Villanueva (Surrey, British Columbia) entered the game in the bottom of the fifth, pitching 0.1 innings, allowing three runs on one hit. Stiene entered the game in the fifth inning, going 2.2 innings, allowing no runs on one hit and struck out two batters, picking up her 13thwin of the season.
The Bobcats will head to Kent, Ohio on Wednesday, April 11 to take on Kent State in a doubleheader, with one game serving as a makeup game for the rained-out doubleheader last week. Game time for the start of the doubleheader will be determined earlier in the week.