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Deanna Cole cries out as she slides into home base during Ohio's game against Kent State on Wednesday (BLAKE NISSEN | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER)

Softball: Ohio will be the second seed in the MAC Tournament after sweeping Buffalo

Ohio will be the No. 2 seed in the Mid-American Conference Tournament after completing the regular season with a weekend sweep of Buffalo. 

The Bobcats defeated the Bulls, 9-3 and 11-9, in the Saturday doubleheader before completing their third straight conference sweep with a 6-4 Sunday victory. The wins completed a nine-game winning streak that helped Ohio, 17-7 in the MAC, jump from sixth to second in the conference.

The biggest key in Ohio’s late season surge was the reemergence of its powerful offense — Ohio scored 67 runs during the nine-game winning streak to finish out the regular season.

In the Buffalo series, Ohio's bats pushed across 26 runs on 33 hits. Contributions came from everyone on the team, including freshman pitcher Desirae Villanueva, whose pinch-hit two-run double in the sixth inning gave Ohio the victory Sunday.

The top of Ohio's lineup — Mikayla Cooper, Alexa Holland and Alex Day — also made major contributions in the series. The three set the table for the Ohio offense, hitting a combined 14-for-35, scoring 13 runs and bringing in five RBIs.

Helping to clear the table in the series were Jamie Wren, Taylor Saxton and Morgan Geno. Wren went four-for-10 with a home run and five RBIs, while Saxton went four-for-nine, picking up one RBI and a stolen base. Geno went three-for-three with four RBIs.

The offensive production helped support the Ohio pitching staff that rested ace Savannah Jo Dorsey.

Danielle Stiene picked up the lion's share of the work, throwing 16 innings with only four earned runs while striking out 21 batters in three appearances. Stiene picked up two wins and a save in the series.

Villanueva picked up the game two win Saturday in her first MAC start. She threw five innings, giving up nine runs while striking out two.

While Ohio (36-14) was sweeping Buffalo (9-46) to clinch the MAC East division title, Central Michigan traveled to Eastern Michigan in an important series that decided the top seed for the MAC tournament. Rain forced the series to be shortened from three games to two, which meant Ohio needed Eastern Michigan to win both games in order to get the top seed.

But Central Michigan won the first game of the Sunday doubleheader, 6-4, clinching the regular season MAC championship and the top seed in the MAC tournament.

With the seeding decided, Ohio will now turn its attention to the MAC Tournament and to No. 7 seed Akron. The Zips (26-28) took two out of three games from the Bobcats earlier this season.

First pitch between Ohio and Akron is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday at Firestone Stadium in Akron.


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