Ohio finishes 3-2 at Spartan Classic behind strong at bats and pitching.
The Bobcats went 3-2 over a busy weekend and showed what the team is capable of at its best: controlling games behind ace Savannah Jo Dorsey's pitching and an offensive onslaught by Ohio's core of batters.
In losses to Virginia and Virginia Tech, 8-7 and 5-4, respectively, Ohio (6-3) showed its ability to capitalize on the worst moments that haunted it throughout last season.
That trait almost resurfaced Saturday in Ohio's second game against Virginia, a 3-2 win, but a late rally in the sixth and seventh inning led by Michaela Dorsey and Taylor Saxton saw it finish the weekend with a winning record.
"They had a great weekend offensively,” Jodi Hermanek said. “Even though we didn't get that win we wanted against Virginia, we still had 10 hits and accumulated a number of runs."
It was a strong offensive weekend for the Bobcats, who struggled to score runs during their first tournament of the season. Ohio scored nine runs during last weekend's *Carolina Classic — a stat that is heavily buoyed by the team's 5-0 win over *Winthrop.
The Bobcats, however, scored eight runs in their first game of the Spartan Classic, a three-day event, during an 8-0 win over La Salle.
But with increase in offensive authority comes defensive fragility, and that was on full display in the Bobcats' 8-7 loss to the Cavaliers on Saturday and Sunday's 5-4 loss to the Hokies.
Hermanek tends to prides herself on giving her team a hard non-conference schedule to prepare them for a marginally easier Mid-American Conference schedule.
Facing teams like Virginia Tech and Furman, which are within the top 100 in RPI, helps the seventh year coach establish an identity and fix problems.
A one-run loss to Virginia Tech and a dominating 4-0 win over Furman are resume building wins for an Ohio team that entered the season in the mid 200s in RPI.
It also gives Hermanek the opportunity to look at the new pieces that she added to her program this year.
Pitcher Danielle Stiene, who came to Athens from Hillsdale College, has done well deputizing for Jo Dorsey in the circle. Freshmen Natalie Alvarez, Deanna Cole and Dorsey have helped fill holes in Ohio's roster, too.
It is those players, and ones who played smaller roles or faced injuries in previous years like Samantha Bowlsbey, Saxton and Dorsey, that will aid the Bobcats' in their quest for a MAC title this season.
Ohio was picked to win the regular season title in the preseason polls, and if it continues to play like they did this weekend, it could be an indicator of good things to come.
“[Scoring early] takes the pressure off, for sure,” Hermanek said after Ohio's first series. ”It allows us to know that there’s more to come so that we can build on it, and then defensively and pitching-wise, it takes the pressure off and allows us to get more aggressive.”