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Taylor Saxton sprints toward first base during a game against the University of Kentucky at the Ohio University Women’s Softball Complex. 

Softball: Ohio gets swept in weekend series against Ball State

Ohio was swept by Ball State after strong pitching from Cardinals' ace Nicole Steinbach. 

Danielle Stiene said previously she was confident Ohio would be able to take two of three games from each conference opponent.

Those expectations fell short over the weekend. Ball State (17-18, 3-3 Mid-American Conference) swept the three-game series against Ohio (20-13, 2-4 MAC) during Friday and Saturday. 

Ohio coach Jodi Hermanek was unavailable for comment. 

The series finale, the second of two games on Saturday, was a slugfest in the sleet, in which Ohio nearly pulled off a remarkable comeback. The Bobcats were on the board first after a Morgan Geno single scored Deanna Cole in the second inning.

Ball State, however, would score the next eight runs, thanks to a defensive mishap from Ohio and two home runs, one a grand slam, from Ball State first baseman Amanda Arnett off Stiene. 

Stiene pitched six innings and allowed eight runs, but only three were earned in the series finale. Down 8-1 in miserable weather, Ohio manufactured four runs in the sixth inning.

It began with a double from catcher Madison Claytor followed by a single from center fielder Cole and an RBI groundout from Geno. A few batters later, a Taylor Saxton infield hit accompanied by a throwing error scored right fielder Sloan Walker and pinch runner Alex Day to make the score 8-5. 

After a weather delay, Ohio got closer after a Walker sac bunt scored Claytor and moved Cole to third. But, the comeback finally flamed out and Ohio lost 8-6. 

The first two games of the series were pitching showcases from Ohio ace Savannah Jo Dorsey and her Ball State counterpart Nicole Steinbach. 

The first game on Saturday saw Ball State grab a two-run lead in the first frame. Ohio tied the score at two thanks to RBI's from Walker and third baseman Mikayla Cooper, but a throwing error gave Ball State the deciding run in the third. 

Ohio loaded the bases in the seventh, but could not plate the elusive third run, losing 3-2. 

On Friday, Ball State started with a bang. A solo home run from center fielder India Steward gave the Cardinals a one-run lead that would last four innings. 

In the fifth, left fielder Michaela Dorsey smashed one off the left field wall to score pinch runner Alex Day and tie the game. But, Ball State left fielder Rachel Houck's RBI hit to right field gave Ball State its second run of the game. 

That was all it took.

For the weekend, Dorsey allowed five runs (three earned), struck out 14 batters and walked seven in 12 innings pitched. Maybe it wasn't the dominance she displayed against Kentucky (13 innings, three runs allowed, 15 strikeouts and three walks) but it was enough to win on most days. 

But, Steinbach held the Bobcats down for parts of all three games. In 15 innings, Steinbach allowed just three runs, struck out 15 and walked five. 

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Ohio came into the weekend with confidence after splitting a mid-week doubleheader with nationally ranked Kentucky, but it stumbled this weekend with sloppy defensive moments and missed opportunities with runners in scoring position. 

@JAjimbojr

jw331813@ohio.edu

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