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Ohio softball players celebrate after winning a game against Akron at the Ohio University Softball Field. In the first game Saturday, Ohio won 2-1 but lost the other two games against Akron that weekend. (PATRICK CONNOLLY | PHOTO EDITOR)

Softball: Alvarez hits walk-off grand slam for Sunday sweep

Natalie Alvarez threw her arms up as her teammates surrounded home plate. 

As Alvarez crossed home from a walk-off grand slam, Ohio completed a Sunday sweep over Saint Francis at the Ohio Softball Field. 

The Bobcats won 3-2 in game one and took game two 7-5, a positive end to a four-game weekend. 

Alvarez was the most notable of Ohio's offense, hitting the go-ahead runs in both games. 

She had the go-ahead run in game one, too — an RBI-double in the sixth inning.

"Last year we used her a lot as a pinch hitter to come up into a spot when we need a big hitter to come in and change the game for us," coach Jodi Hermanek said. "I'm really happy for her. She works hard and is really convicted in her offense."

Alvarez has a new role this fall. With Madison Claytor injured, Alvarez has been the Ohio catcher, meaning she's spending more time on the field and less in the dugout. 

While Clayton will be back this spring, using Alvarez on the field as well as a pinch hitter makes her more flexible to Hermanek's disposal.

Pitching

After Danielle Stiene pitched a complete game in Saturday's second matchup against Northern Kentucky, she was brought in as a reliever Sunday.

Freshman Desirae Villanueva started game one and pitched six scoreless innings before Stiene replaced her. 

Stiene also pitched 5 2/3 innings before sophomore Morgan Geno was brought in.

"(Stiene) was a big part of our pitching staff last year, and she's going to be an instrumental part of this year as well," Hermanek said. "I expect a lot out of that veteran."

Ohio will host Charleston (WV) in a doubleheader this Saturday. Game one begins at 1 p.m.

@JimmyFarmer13 

jf744915@ohio.edu

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