Taylor Saxton has played a lot of softball in an Ohio uniform. She is a redshirt senior, after all.
She won a Mid-American Conference championship in 2014. But that isn’t her favorite memory as a Bobcat.
That would be when Southeastern Conference opponent Kentucky came to Ohio Softball Field on Mar. 29, 2016, and the teams split a doubleheader. The score of Ohio’s win? 1-0.
“That was awesome,” Saxton said. “Especially because it was here.”
Saxton and the Bobcats will get another two chances to play — and beat — Kentucky on Saturday and Sunday. Ohio will also play two games against Southeast Missouri State in the John Cropp Classic, played at Kentucky.
One game will be played against each team on each day.
The Bobcats schedule games against teams that will challenge them to grow their strength of schedule and test themselves going into MAC play. Kentucky is this weekend, NC State was last weekend and Baylor will be next weekend.
“It’s going to be great competition,” coach Jodi Hermanek said. “That’s one of the reasons it's on the schedule in the first place.”
The Bobcats have kicked off the season on a strong note, starting with a 7-3 record and almost winning the Homewood Suites Invitational before falling in extra innings to host NC State.
They have also played two other extra inning games, and though Ohio has only won one of those, both Saxton and Hermanek have seen the Bobcats are a team that won’t feel pressure when down.
“Offensively, our confidence level is just huge,” Hermanek said. “I’m happy to see that.”
The Bobcats’ lineup is contributing and producing from top to bottom. Saxton, who usually finds herself batting ninth, is tied for second on the team in runs with eight, behind usual leadoff batter Alex Day, who has scored nine times.
Both the top and middle of the lineup are driving in runs, a sign of a good offense.
And some of those runs may come in some of the bigger wins the Bobcats have had, like the mercy-rule win over Delaware State. But even then, Ohio was down 4-0 to start the game.
To this point in the season, when down, Bobcat hitters haven’t felt pressured. They know that even if they trail by a few runs, the offense can get those right back.
“If a team scores a run or two, we’re going to come back in the dugout and get those two back,” Saxton said.