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Ohio's Danielle Stiene pitches during the Bobcat's game against Pitt on March 27. (FILE)

Softball: Ohio heads to Kent State for weekday doubleheader

Spring weather in Ohio is about as random as playing UNO with a well-shuffled deck of cards. This randomness has been a thorn in Ohio’s side has it has had to postpone, reschedule and cancel games in the last few weeks, including last week’s doubleheader against Kent State.

Fortunately, for both the team and its fans, Ohio (20-13, 8-1 Mid-American Conference) is in line to travel the 190 miles for a doubleheader at Kent State.

The Golden Flashes (19-14, 5-4 MAC) have experienced an up-and-down year thus far. A few games above .500 in its overall and conference record, where Kent State succeeds is also where it underperforms: pitching.

In its two most recent conference series, Kent State lost two out of three games to Toledo in 11-3 and 6-3 bouts. But it defeated Ball State in 5-2 and 4-1 wins, with its lone loss at 15-7.

In their two losses against the Rockets, the Golden Flashes cycled through four different pitchers as sophomore Madi Huck and freshman Brenna Brownfield took the brunt of the work and pitched for 7 and 4 1/3 innings respectively.

In Huck’s seven-inning performance, she gave up 10 hits that led to six earned runs in the series’ rubber match.

Brownfield’s performance was less impressive as in 4 1/3 innings she gave up five hits that lead to six runs (four earned).

In comparison, the 15-7 loss to the Cardinals, again Huck’s ERA hummed around a low .300.

With the Golden Flashes two best pitchers in conference funks, the Bobcats and their productive early-inning offense should dominate in Wednesday’s doubleheader.

First baseman Mikayla Cooper leads all Ohio batters in offensive stats with a .377 batting average, 40 hits, 29 RBIs and eight home runs.

The senior leadoff hitter has powered the Bobcats’ offense early and often in the one-hole and with strong hitters behind her such as junior Alex Day and freshman Katie Yun, the Bobcats top third of the order, both confident and productive, should play their usual game.

Likewise, to its offensive production, Ohio’s pitching has shown glimpses and snippets of the talent threshold it contains.

Senior Danielle Stiene holds a team best ERA at 2.27 and has thrown 145 strikeouts in 18 games. Her counterpart, freshman Madi McCrady, posts a 4.40 ERA and in 10 games has thrown 68 strikeouts. Overall, the Bobcats have a team ERA of 3.62, good for fifth in the MAC compared to the Golden Flashes 5.07 which has them at 10th.

With a MAC East showdown, Wednesday’s doubleheader is slated to begin with the first pitch at 1 p.m.


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