Technically, the Bobcats completed three comeback wins in the weekend sweep of Toledo.
After Toledo second baseman Chandler Rice led off Friday’s game with a solo home run, they scored 10 unanswered runs en route to a five-inning run rule victory.
But the comebacks on Saturday were a bit more dramatic.
In both the 8-7 and 3-2 double header wins, the Bobcats were held scoreless until late in the game. And in both games, it didn’t matter in the end.
Alexa Holland wasn’t supposed to be the one being mobbed at home plate.
In the at-bat before Holland’s, Jamie Wren looked likely to win the game for Ohio.
The Bobcats trailed 2-1, but they had runners on second and third. There was only one out. Wren made strong contact on several foul balls. She seemed to have figured out Toledo pitcher Heather Webb. But she struck out swinging.
Suddenly there were two outs, and the deciding at-bat was coming from a freshman. The pressure didn’t faze Holland, though. She was ready.
“I was lowkey hoping that (Wren) would get walked,” Holland said. “I’m just glad I got an opportunity.”
On a 1-1 pitch, Holland lined a single into center field, scoring the game-tying and winning runs. Once she returned to home plate to meet up with her teammates, the celebration began.
“(Wren) like knocked me out with my helmet,” Holland said. “I just kinda blacked out from there.”
Before this weekend, she had only recorded 34 at bats in 25 games. Her at-bats came one at a time. She would only get one chance to succeed. She was only in the lineup Saturday because of an injury to Mackenzie Brunswick.
Saturday she was in a similar situation. The only difference was that the game was on the line. And because of her previous role, coach Jodi Hermanek had confidence in a freshman to win the game.
“When she got her opportunities early in the season, she came through,” Hermanek said. “When offensive adjustments needed to be made, she was already ready.”
By the fifth inning on Friday, the Bobcats were getting ready to close out a blowout victory. By that same time the next game, they hadn’t recorded a hit.
They trailed by seven runs, and it appeared they were on the wrong end of the beating they administered the day before. Hermanek told her team that one player couldn’t make up the difference. But it was only one who accounted for the game-tying and winning RBI’s.
Last season, Alex Day started just nine games and posted a .142 batting average.
Now, she is the leading hitter on the team. And on Saturday, she capped off the biggest Ohio comeback in almost two years.
After a six-run fifth inning for the Bobcats, Day tied the game in the sixth with a two out RBI single. As she stood on first base afterwards, she pumped both fists and yelled in exuberance. When she returned to the plate in the eighth inning, her job was simple.
There were no outs, and the speedy Deanna Cole was on third base. In Day’s mind, any fly ball to the outfield would score Cole.
Day singled off the left field wall to score Cole and win the game. As her teammates hounded her at the plate, she was reminded of how far she had come.
“Going back to where I was at a year ago, I never thought I could do some of this stuff,” she said. “It’s a surreal feeling.”
With the weekend sweep of Toledo, the Bobcats have won nine straight games. They will take their undefeated conference record to Kalamazoo, Michigan to play Western Michigan on Friday at 3 p.m.