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Senior outfielder Jillian Van Wagnen, right, hugs sophomore infielder Alexandria Basquez after Chelsea Hortman hit a grand slam during their game against Kent State Sunday. Senior Day brought a victory against the Kent State Golden Flashes. The Bobcats will enter the MAC tournament as the No. 4 seed. (Adam Birkan | For The Post)

Softball: Wins prime Ohio for tournament

Back-to-back sweeps in Mid-American Conference play have the Bobcats in a prime position heading into the MAC Tournament this week.

Ohio (28-27, 14-8 MAC) finished a series win against Kent State at home on Senior Day in a 6-0 victory at the Ohio Softball Field. That effort followed a 3-2 win against Kent State on Saturday and two wins against Buffalo on Friday.

The Bobcats will be the No. 4 seed in the upcoming conference tournament.      

“When you go to the conference tournament, you need to win four games to win it all, and we just won all four games of a weekend for the first time this season,” Ohio coach Jodi Hermanek said. “This is great preparation moving forward and I couldn’t be more pleased.”

The first game of the series against Kent State (26-28, 11-11 MAC) on Saturday was Breast Cancer Awareness Day, where the Bobcats wore pink uniforms.

Lauren McClary, Ohio’s new single-season strikeout leader, led the team from the pitcher’s circle. She threw a complete game three-hitter, allowing only two runs and five Golden Flashes to reach base.

The Bobcats scored all three of their runs in crucial moments. Raven King had the hit of the day in the fourth inning by driving in Lauren Gellerman with a double to right-center. Ohio went on to score two more runs that inning.

The Bobcats stranded nine runners in the game, as Kent State’s pitchers were effective at retiring the Ohio hitters once runners were on base. Ohio was able to secure the win and then repeated the winning effort on Sunday.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better Senior Day. I love my team and am proud of how today went,” senior shortstop Alexis Joseph said. “It is kind of emotional for me, but we are playing great right now and it’s awesome.”

Kaylin Clarke led Ohio with another dominant pitching performance to close out the weekend. She tossed a complete-game shutout and only allowed three Kent State hits.

Six Ohio hitters reached base on hits and the biggest one of the day came off the bat of pinch hitter Chelsea Hortman .

Stepping to the plate with the bases loaded in the bottom of the fourth, Hortman drove the ball over the right-field fence for a grand slam and her seventh home run of the season.

“I was pinch hitting, so it was my job to go out there and be clutch,” Hortman said. “I saw Raven (King) on second base signal to me that a change-up was coming and I drove it for the big hit.”

With six wins in seven games, Ohio will look to continue its winning ways in the MAC Tournament on Wednesday at Firestone Stadium at 5 p.m. The Bobcats will play the winner of the game between Toledo and Western Michigan.

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