The Bobcats lost a game on Wednesday, but that wasn’t all they lost.
They lost center fielder Deanna Cole to a leg injury. She injured it initially sliding at home plate, then had to be helped off the field after turning to cut in the outfield. Her status going forward is unknown.
The Bobcats lost, despite a historic pitching performance from Savannah Jo Dorsey. Dorsey recorded a career-high 22 strikeouts and allowed just one run in 11 innings.
All they have to show for it is an additional conference loss.
Coach Jodi Hermanek lost her composure, too. She was ejected for the first time all season, after Cole was called out trying to steal home plate after a wild pitch. That run would’ve been the winning one.
But the Bobcats don’t have time to dwell on what could or should have been. Two days after their crushing loss, they will be on the road to start a three game series with Akron.
“Right now, we just have to let this one stay in our system for the night and then get over it tomorrow,” Hermanek said after Wednesday’s game. “We gotta be resilient and take a deep breath and get ready for the next opponent.”
The play at the plate and Dorsey’s performance overshadowed Ohio’s offensive struggles against Kent State. Hermanek called Kent State pitcher Ronnie Ladines one of the best pitchers in the conference, but the Ohio offensive production has dwindled recently.
The Bobcats haven’t scored more than three runs in their last five games. And since the start of conference play, they are hitting .263 as a team, which would rank eighth in the conference over a full season.
Hermanek said the recent offensive struggles are a combination of opponent familiarity and her team’s own shortcomings. But Ohio (26-11, 7-5 Mid-American Conference) is still the best offensive team in the conference when incorporating non-conference play, and Hermanek isn’t panicking yet.
“I still have confidence in our hitters,” Hermanek said. “We just need to continue to battle and continue to work quality at bats.”
The worry for this weekend lies with Akron’s baserunners. Akron has stolen 97 bases as a team this season, good for seventh in the nation.
The Bobcats can’t afford to divert their focus. They suffered an emotional defeat earlier in the week, but the Akron baserunners will require all of their attention this weekend.