Ohio's offense was in a rut during the Mid-American Conference tournament.
Despite winning three games in the tournament, the Bobcats only scored five runs in five games including being shut out by Kent State in both games of the championship series.
In the opening game of the National Invitational Softball Championships, the Bobcats knew they needed better offensive production if they wanted to become the tournament’s first-ever champion.
Natalie Alvarez and Danielle Stiene gave the Bobcats that much needed production Tuesday on their way to a 5-1 opening win over Iona.
Alvarez went two-for-three with two RBI singles including a third inning single on the 11th pitch of the at-bat that opened the scoring for Ohio.
Stiene, getting the start at designated player over Morgan Geno, who struggled in the MAC Tournament, would go one-for-two with a two-run double in the fifth inning that capped Ohio’s scoring.
Eight of Ohio’s starters picked up at least one hit in team’s nine-hit effort.
In contrast, Iona’s offense was held to just one run on one hit as Savannah Jo Dorsey turned in another brilliant performance following an impressive MAC Tournament.
Dorsey threw six scoreless innings only allowing one hit while striking out seven en route to picking up the win.
The Gaels' first and only run was unearned and came in the seventh inning against Stiene, who saw her first action in the circle since Ohio’s win over Buffalo on May 7.
Stiene threw just one inning to close out the game giving up just that one-unearned run.
The win was victory No. 40 on the season for the Bobcats, which broke the school record for most wins in a single season. The previous record was 39 wins by the 1995 Bobcats.
Ohio (40-16) is now 1-0 in Region 6 of the inaugural NISC Tournament and will face host Liberty (38-22) on Wednesday.
Liberty is coming off a 4-0 victory over the University of North Carolina at Wilmington in its tournament-opening game.
First pitch between the Bobcats and the Lady Flames is scheduled for 3 p.m.