MADEIRA BEACH, Fla. – Led by a career-high 14 strikeouts from starting pitcher Danielle Stiene, the Ohio softball team (3-2) wrapped up the final day at the Madeira Beach Invitational, defeating Jacksonville State (5-6), 3-0. The Bobcats wrapped up their first weekend of play going 3-2 with two shutouts from Stiene.
The Bobcats would serve as the away team in the final game at the Madeira Beach Invitational. Ohio would get the baserunners started in the top of the first when freshman Allie Englant (Long Beach, Calif.) singled up the middle. However, she would be erased from the base path after senior Mikayla Cooper (Delaware, Ohio) reached on a fielder's choice. However, the JSU pitcher would be able to get the next Bobcat batter to strike out, erasing the threat.
After starting pitcher, senior Stiene (Loveland, Ohio) sent Jacksonville State down in order, the Bobcats would strike first in the top of the second inning. Freshman Katie Yun (North Canton, Ohio) would lead the inning off by drawing a walk and then would promptly steal second. Junior Deanna Cole (Akron, Ohio) would then draw a walk of her own, putting runners on first and second with no outs. Junior MacKenzie Brunswick (Bellefontaine, Ohio) would then crush a double down the right field line, scoring Yun. Then with one out, redshirt senior Taylor Saxton (Circleville, Ohio) would reach first on a fielder's choice, moving Brunswick to third, but Cole would be thrown out at home. With two outs, Saxton would steal second, putting runners on second and third, but the Bobcat offense would be unable to add on and would go to the bottom of the frame leading 1-0.
In the bottom of the second, the Ohio defense would once again send the JSU offense down in order. Then in the top of the third, Ohio would get another baserunner when Cooper was hit by a pitch, but she would be unable to score, keeping the game at 1-0.
In the bottom of the third, JSU would try to tie it up, when with one out, Taylor Rodgers would double to left field. However, Stiene would get the next batter to strikeout and then the last batter to ground out to third to end the inning with Ohio's 1-0 lead in standing.
After a quick fourth inning from both teams, Ohio would add on in the top of the fifth inning. With two outs, Englant would draw a walk. Then Cooper would take a 3-1 pitch and crush it down the right field line for a triple, scoring Englant from first. Then with Cooper on third, Geno would draw a walk, putting runners on first and third, however the Bobcats would not get another run and would go to the bottom of the frame leading 2-0.
In the bottom of the fifth, Stiene would get the first JSU batter to strike out. The Gamecocks would then get a runner on when Caitlyn Sapp drew a walk. However, Stiene would again show her dominance in the circle, striking out the next two batters and sending the game to the sixth with Ohio leading 2-0.
Ohio would pick up where they left off the inning before when Cole led off with a triple to right field. She would then score when Brunswick singled to left, giving Ohio a 3-0 lead with no outs. With one out, Saxton would reach first on a fielder's choice, however, removing Brunswick from the bases. With two outs, the JSU pitcher would be able to get the final Ohio batter out, sending the game to the bottom of the sixth inning with Ohio leading 3-0.
After Stiene struck out the side in the bottom of the sixth inning, Ohio would attempt to add on in the top of the seventh. With one out, Cooper would single to the shortstop, placing another runner on base. Cooper would then move to second when Morgan Geno (Chillicothe, Ohio) singled through the left side. Then with one out, Yun would reach first on a fielder's choice, moving Cooper to third, but erasing the runner on second. Then with runners on first and third and two outs, Yun would move to second on a passed ball, however Copper would be called out at home trying to score, and the inning would end with Ohio leading 3-0 going to the bottom of the seventh.
Jacksonville State would try to mount a comeback in the bottom of the seventh when Taylor Beshears led the inning off with a single up the middle. However, Stiene would record another strikeout before forcing the final batter to hit into the game-ending double play, sealing the 3-0 victory for Ohio.
At the plate, the Bobcats recorded three runs on seven hits and were led by Brunswick who went 2-for-3 with two RBI and a double. Cooper also went 2-for-3 with a triple and an RBI. Englant recorded a single and a run score, followed by Cole with a triple and a run scored. Geno also registered a hit for the Bobcats.
In the circle, Stiene (2-0) was dominate, pitching seven innings and allowing no runs on two hits. She walked one batter while striking out a career-high 14, while throwing 103 pitches and facing 23 batters.
Up next, the Bobcats will head to Raleigh, N.C. Feb. 23-25 to participate in the NC State Tournament. While there, Ohio will face off against Delaware State, Wagner and NC State.