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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 falls just short of an incredible comeback in the NISC

This season for Ohio was special.

But with the Bobcats just a loss away from their season ending, they needed to have a very special Thursday and pick up three wins.

Ohio opened the day against the University of North Carolina at Wilmington with a spot in the National Invitational Softball Championship regional final on the line.

Danielle Stiene was given the task of keeping Ohio alive, and she delivered by throwing a no-hitter in the 1-0 victory.

Stiene threw seven innings, striking out nine while walking five in her second no-hitter of the season. In her first no-hitter of season on March 18 against Lafayette, she struck out eight and did not walk any in five innings.

The Bobcats lone run came when Madison Claytor doubled to score Natalie Alvarez.

The victory eliminated UNCW and put Ohio in the regional final against host Liberty, who defeated Ohio 3-0 on Wednesday. Because the NISC is double elimination, the Bobcats needed to beat the Lady Flames twice to win the regional.

Ohio not only stayed alive after a 1-0 win in 12 innings, but the Bobcats were just a win away from advancing to the next round of the NISC.

Savannah Jo Dorsey took the victory in the circle and went all 12 innings, not allowing a run and striking out 13 while only surrendering five hits. It was her 25th victory this season.

Michaela Dorsey leadoff the 12th with a single, and she would later score the only run of the game on a sacrifice fly by Mikayla Cooper.

The win forced a winner-take-all game between Ohio and Liberty.

But Liberty would not be shutout in this game as they jumped Ohio’s starter, Stiene, for three runs on four hits in just 2 1/3 innings.

Savannah Jo entered the game in relief and pitched 4 2/3 innings while striking out two, but she gave up a run in the fifth that would later come back to haunt the Bobcats.

The Ohio offense would fight back with a run of its own in the third when Alexa Holland scored, as Taylor Saxton was thrown out trying to steal second to narrow the gap to 3-1.

Ohio would continue to fight back in the fifth inning when Saxton singled home Michaela Dorsey and MacKenzie Brunswick, but Liberty had gotten a run in the top half of the fifth, so Ohio still trailed 4-3.

The Lady Flames brought in Chase Cassady, who would throw two perfect innings of relief while striking out three to pick up the save in Liberty’s 4-3 regional win.

The loss also meant the end of Ohio’s season.

The Bobcats finished the season 42-18, which is the most wins by an Ohio team in program history.


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