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Softball: Bobcats battle Colonels to split as start of MAC season awaits

After 23 games and six consecutive out-of-state road trips, the Bobcats were finally able to open their season at home with a split against Eastern Kentucky Tuesday afternoon.

In what was its last tune-up before Mid-American Conference play begins on Friday, Ohio (11-14) defeated the Colonels 4-1 in the first game of the afternoon before dropping the second game 9-0.

“I think today was a really good preview of what we can expect once MAC play begins,” coach Jodi Hermanek said. “Eastern Kentucky is a very good team. I thought we were forced to play good defense and battle at the plate. A split isn’t what is desired, but it’s not bad.”

In the first game, the Bobcats never trailed after jumping out to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning.

Leading the way at the plate was Lauren Gellerman, who belted a two-run home run in the bottom of the fifth to give her team a three-run cushion.

Freshman Lauren McClary led Ohio from the pitching circle with a complete game to earn her sixth win of the season. She allowed only one run while striking out ten batters.

“It felt great to finally play at home,” McClary said. “We came out really strong in the first game, but then lost in the second. Our effort just wasn’t the same and we fell short, but we’re on our way.”

In the second half of the doubleheader, Ohio was able to manage just two hits off Eastern Kentucky hurlers Leanna Pittsenbarger and Hannah Driver.

The Colonels jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the top of the first and added to that lead in a piecemeal fashion as the game progressed, scoring at least one run in five of the seven innings.

Pitch location was a problem for the Ohio pitchers as nine batters reached base by a way other than a base hit. The Colonels put a runner on base in each of the seven innings.

“We still need to work on minimizing the amount of walks we allow,” Hermanek said. “Runners get on base for free and we give them a chance to score. If we can keep those at a minimum, we will be able to stay in almost any game.”

Tuesday’s games were the first of six straight at the Ohio Softball Field for the Bobcats.

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