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Ohio head softball coach Jodi Hermanek gives a peptalk before game two of a doubleheader against Central Michigan University on April 3, 2015. The Ohio softball team lost to CMU 14-3. 

Softball: Ohio finishes weekend 3-1 despite a slow start at the plate in 2016

The Bobcats are off to a 3-1 start to the season, but it's largely because of their pitching.  

The weather is starting to break in Athens and Ohio's season is in full bloom. Though Ohio (3-1) capped off it’s four-game weekend in South Carolina with a 5-1 win Sunday against Winthrop, it struggled to get multiple runs across all weekend.

Ohio actually put together its best offensive performance of the early season Sunday, but considering Ohio pushed across just four runs in three games prior to Sunday, the Bobcats' pitching is what helped them start the season on the right foot. .  

Sunday’s game was a microcosm of the weekend as a whole, with Ohio's pitcher in the circle — this time sophomore Danielle Stiene — dominating. Stiene pitched six innings Sunday and struck out six batters while only surrendering one earned run.

“Dani’s change-up is always a very effective pitch against most teams,” said junior catcher Madison Claytor. “So we just stuck to the strength, and went straight at the batters and let our defense work behind us.”  

On the other hand, Ohio's offense started quickly against Winthrop, scoring one run in the in the first inning on an RBI single up the middle from Claytor, before the bats fell silent for two innings.

Ohio's offense opened things up again in the fourth, scoring one run on an RBI single from senior Amanda Dalton, and two on an errant throw to first because of a bunt from senior Sloan Walker.

Winthrop finally put a dent in Stiene’s second impressive start of the weekend in the bottom of the sixth, but Ohio added a run right back in the next frame on a Mikayla Cooper single to left field.

Ace Savannah Jo Dorsey came in to close the game out in the seventh inning.

Ohio relied heavily on the mostly dominant pitching duo of Stiene and Dorsey to get them by over the weekend.

This worked out most of the weekend, with the Stiene-Dorsey one-two punch shutting down UNC Greensboro, Longwood and Winthrop.  But, on Saturday when Ohio ran in to some better competition in South Carolina, and Dorsey ran into some trouble on the mound, the Ohio bats were not there to pick her up.

Dorsey finished Saturday's 8-0 loss to South Carolina surrendering six earned runs and six hits in four innings of work. 

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It is early in the season, and the Bobcats pitching staff has gotten off to a strong start in 2016.  Coach Jodi Hermanek said she is proud of her team's start. But, if this team wants to reach the heights that Hermanek envisions, the bats may have to improve. 

"3-1 is just a tribute to these girls coming out and working so hard in practices Monday through Thursday," Hermanek said. "I'm just really happy with their drive and with their motivation and always wanting to be better."

@JAjimbojr

jw331813@ohio.edu

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