DEKALB, Ill. – The Ohio softball team (19-3, 7-1 MAC) continued Mid-American Conference play on Saturday, with a doubleheader against MAC West foe Northern Illinois (14-21, 5-3 MAC). The Bobcats dropped the first game, 15-5 in five innings, but bounced back in the second game, as Danielle Stiene would toss a one-hitter in Ohio's 2-0 victory.
GAME ONE: NIU 15, Ohio 5 (Five Innings)
The Bobcats opened the top of the first inning making some noise on the bases. Mikayla Cooper (Delaware, Ohio) led off with a walk and then moved to second when Alex Day (Hilliard, Ohio) singled. Then with one out, Natalie Alvarez (Long Beach, Calif.) drew a walk to load the bases, unfortunately, the NIU defense would get the next two batters out, sending the game to the bottom of the inning scoreless.
NIU would strike first in the bottom of the first inning. Jenny Van Geertry led the inning off by drawing a walk and then moving to second on a single from Dominique Greeno. The Huskies would get their first run on an RBI single from Sam Schmidt. Then with one out, NIU would add two more runs on a shallow single and a wild pitch, taking a 3-0 lead. NIU would then add six more runs before the inning was over to take a 9-0 lead after the first.
The Bobcats would get on the board in the top of the second inning. Morgan Geno (Chillicothe, Ohio) would lead the inning off with a base hit to right. She would then be erased from the bases when Allie Englant (Long Beach, Calif.) hit into a fielder's choice. Taylor Saxton (Circleville, Ohio) would reach first in an infield single, putting runners on first and second with one out. Cooper would then come to the plate and crush a double to left field, scoring Englant and Saxton and cutting the NIU lead to 9-2.
Day would then draw a walk and then move to second when Katie Yun (North Canton, Ohio) reached on an error, loading the bases with one out. Cooper would then score when Alvarez was hit by a pitch. Then with the bases loaded and one out, Michaela Dorsey (Grove City, Ohio) would crank a single over the head of the third baseman, scoring Day and Yun, cutting the NIU lead to 9-5. After a pitching change, NIU would get the final two outs, sending the game to the bottom of the second with NIU leading 9-5.
After a quick bottom of the second, Ohio would try to chip away more in the top of the third inning. Englant would lead off with a walk. Then with two outs, she would move to second on a single from Day. However, the NIU defense would get the final out of the inning, going to the bottom down 9-5.
NIU would add on in the bottom of the third inning, scoring six runs on four hits, including a grand slam from Alaynie Woollard, taking a 15-5 lead going to the top of the fourth.
In the top of the fourth inning, NIU would load the bases, but Desirae Villanueva (Surrey, British Columbia) would pitch out of the jam, sending the game to the top of the fifth draining 15-5.
At the plate, Ohio scored five runs on six hits. Day went 2-for-2 with a run scored. Cooper went 1-for-2 with two RBI and a run scored and Dorsey went 1-for-3 with two RBI. Geno and Saxton both added hits for Ohio.
In the circle, Madi McCrady (Brimfield, Ohio) got the start, pitching 0.1 innings, allowing six runs on three hits and walking two. Kendall Meeks (Guysville, Ohio) entered the game in the first inning and pitched 1.2 innings, allowing eight runs on six hits and striking out one. Villanueva pitched two innings, allowing one run on one hit and striking out two.
GAME TWO: Ohio 2, NIU 0
Ohio would get a runner on in the top of the first inning, with one out, Day reached first on an error, but would end up doubled off first on a line drive to end the inning and go to the bottom of the first with the game scoreless.
NIU would get a runner on base in the bottom of the first inning when Van Geertry walked to lead off the inning. However, with one out, she would be thrown out trying to steal and then starting pitcher Danielle Stiene (Loveland, Ohio) would strikeout the final batter to end the inning and send the game to the second, scoreless.
Ohio would get another runner on in the top of the second inning. Alvarez led off when she reached first on a fielding error. She would be erased from the bases after Dorsey hit into a fielder's choice. NIU would then get the final two outs of the inning, sending the game to the bottom of the second still scoreless.
After Stiene struck out the side in the bottom of the second inning, Ohio would get a runner on again in the top of the third. With two outs, Cooper would reach first on an error and then steal second. However, she would be unable to score and would go to the bottom of the frame with the game still scoreless.
Ohio would get another runner on in the top of the fourth inning. Yun led off with a walk and then would move to second on a sacrifice bunt from Alvarez. She would then move to third on a ground out. Unfortunately, Ohio would be unable to get the run across and then go to the bottom of the fourth scoreless.
NIU would get runners on base for the first time since the first inning when Woollard reached on an error. She would then move to second on a sacrifice bunt. Then with one out, Anne Allen would reach after being hit by a pitch, putting runners on first and second. Stiene would get the last batter to strikeout, ending the inning and sending the game to the sixth with the game scoreless.
NIU would get the first hit of the game in the bottom of the sixth inning. When with two outs, Greeno would single through the right side. However, Stiene would get the final batter to strikeout and send the game to the seventh with it still scoreless.
The Bobcats would finally get on the board in top of the seventh inning. Alvarez would draw a leadoff walk. She would then be replaced on the bases by Deanna Cole (Akron, Ohio). She would then move to second on a sacrifice bunt and then with one out, Geno would crush Ohio's first hit of the game to leftfield, scoring Cole as she slid in under the tag to put Ohio up 1-0.
MacKenzie Brunswick (Bellefontaine, Ohio) would enter the game to run for Geno and then move to second when Englant reached first on a single.
Then with two outs, Villanueva would reach first on a dropped fly ball in right field, scoring Brunswick and putting runners at the corners. After an NIU pitching change, the Huskies would get the last batter out, sending the game to the bottom of the seventh inning with Ohio leading 2-0.
In the bottom of the frame, Stiene would send the Huskie batters down in order, giving the Bobcats the 2-0 win.
At the plate, the Bobcats scored two runs on two hits, with Geno going 1-for-3 with an RBI and Englant also registering a hit for Ohio.
In the circle, Stiene was masterful, going seven innings and not allowing a run on one hit, she struck out 11 and walked one while facing only 24 batters.
The Bobcats wrap up the three-game series with NIU on Sunday, April 8. First pitch is set for 12 p.m.