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Madison Claytor prepares to throw the ball toward first base during Ohio University’s game against the University of Kentucky on March 29 at the Ohio University Women’s Softball Complex. The Bobcats have moved to the next round of the MAC Tournament after a win against Western Michigan.

Softball: Late game RBI's push Ohio past Western Michigan

Mikayla Cooper's late game at-bats help advance Ohio to the next round in the MAC Tournament.

Mikayla Cooper saved Ohio’s season. 

Cooper played savior in the seventh inning to give Ohio its first lead in the tournament since playing Akron on Wednesday. 

She echoed that in the eighth inning with a double to extend Ohio’s lead to two before scoring the winning run on Ohio’s next at bat, giving it an 8-5 win over Western Michigan. 

Before Cooper’s seventh inning when Ohio scored four runs, the Bobcats had just one run through 21 innings. Leading off the seventh was Taylor Saxton. She got on base and stole second — finishing with three stolen bases. 

Jamie Wren then hit a single, sending Saxton home, which tied the game at two. 

On Cooper's first pitch, she smacked the ball to deep center and it was gone. Running around the bases, arms flailing and cheering, she presumably kept Ohio’s season alive. 

But the bottom of the seven inning went south for Ohio. 

Savannah Jo Dorsey came in to save the game. The team’s best pitcher, though she had already pitched three innings in the same game, was ready. 

She relinquished Ohio’s three-run lead, however, and just like that, Ohio was playing its second straight extra-innings game. 

Thursday night, Dorsey pitched over 220 pitches through 12 innings in Ohio’s 3-0 loss to Miami. Coach Jodi Hermanek decided to start her against Western Michigan and through just three innings, the MAC Pitcher of The Year had given up two runs and three hits. She was relieved by Morgan Geno.

Though she is Ohio’s best pitcher, after throwing the equivalent of two consecutive games, her day was seemingly over. 

But fatigue set in, and when she returned to the circle, she wasn’t able to keep the Broncos off of the scoreboard as they were able to tie the game at five. 

Pitching, however, wasn’t Ohio’s downfall.

It was the Bobcats inability to score.

Ohio got the hits and the runners in scoring position, but when batters later in the order needed to produce, they simply couldn’t. 

The first four batters in Ohio’s lineup produced 10 of the team's 12 hits. From catcher Madison Claytor through the rest of the order, the team only managed two hits. Ohio's 19-inning scoring drought wasn't necessarily a result of simply hitting, but rather timely hitting.

So for Ohio, a win in the first game means a second later, on the same night.

Ohio got the necessary runs to get past Western Michigan and end its scoreless streak, however, as Ohio will play the winner of Akron vs. Kent State at Firestone Stadium.


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