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Softball players watch a fly ball during Ohio's game against Marshall on Sep. 26. The Bobcats won 5-0. 

Softball: Ohio takes two of three against Western Michigan to begin conference play

Ohio took two of three games from Western Michigan behind another strong performance from Savannah Jo Dorsey and some timely hitting.

Ohio ace Savannah Jo Dorsey saw her streak of not allowing an earned run end on Friday at 50 and 1/3 innings, but that didn't stop her from being dominant on the mound over the weekend. 

Dorsey went 2-0 on the weekend against Western Michigan by throwing 15 and 1/3 innings and allowing only three runs to go with a 26:2 strikeout to walk ratio. Ohio won two of the three-game series, with a win Friday before a split doubleheader Saturday. 

"It's the role of what a pitcher is supposed to do for a softball team," Ohio coach Jodi Hermanek said of Dorsey's performance. "She's got the mindset that she wants it, and she's gonna get it."

The final game of the weekend saw Ohio (19-9, 2-1 Mid-American Conference) finally score runs against Western Michigan pitcher Jordan Kurth in a 2-1 victory. Those two runs came in the first inning of Saturday's second game and about 30 minutes after Kurth finished a complete game shutout against the Bobcats. 

Hermanek attributed the turnaround to how the umpire in the second game viewed the plate. 

"No zone is the same," Hermanek said. "She had an umpire that had her zone in the first game and so we had to attack a zone that is definitely a gray area. She wasn't getting that so much (in the second game) and now she had to bring the ball up a little bit and we were taking advantage of it."

Dorsey cruised through most of the grudge match until Western Michigan (10-15, 1-2 MAC) shortstop Sabrina Gamboa hit Dorsey's pitch deep over Ohio Softball Field's center for the second time of the series to make the score 2-1. 

The Broncos' Abby Stoner followed up with a single, but Ohio catcher Madison Claytor threw out her third runner of the day on a failed bunt and run attempt. Dorsey struck out Erin Binkowski to end the game.

"Nothing new from Madison, she's always been like that," Dorsey said. "It's really nice to have a catcher back there that can gun people down."

Shortstop Amanda Dalton was injured on a slide into second base during the fifth inning of Saturday's win, but Hermanek said she is confident Dalton will be "OK" to play Tuesday against Kentucky.

In the first game of Saturday's doubleheader, Ohio could not muster anything offensively against Kurth, who allowed just four base runners.

On Ohio's side, Danielle Stiene had an efficient outing, too. Yet it only took three runs from Western Michigan to give Stiene her fourth loss of the season.  

"I thought Dani threw a great game, we, just as an offense, didn’t give her any support," Hermanek said. 

In Friday's 5-2 win, all seven runs came off of four home runs.

Claytor's two-run shot in the second inning gave Dorsey a cushion early in the game, but all it took was two pitches in the next two innings for the Broncos to tie the game.  

Dorsey said the first homer was on her for leaving a pitch too far over the plate, but the second was a good adjustment by Kelsea Cichocki on a riseball.

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In the bottom of the fifth inning, after a pair of infield hits from Taylor Saxton and Deanna Cole, Mikayla Cooper broke the tie with the fourth and final home run of the game.

"I kinda like when I have pressure on me," Cooper said. "It shows that I don't crack and that I can fight through it."

Ohio's 2-1 start in conference play has it in fourth place in the MAC East Division.


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