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Taylor Saxton throws the ball to Mikayla Cooper after an out during Ohio's game against Buffalo on Friday, April 27. The Bobcats beat the Bulls 9-1. (FILE)

Softball: 5 takeaways from the Saturday sweep of Buffalo

Ohio continued its dominating run through the Mid-American Conference with a sweep of Buffalo over the weekend. 

The Bobcats scored 25 runs Saturday and held the Bulls scoreless in the doubleheader. 

Here are five takeaways from Saturday’s doubleheader: 

Rally-starting Taylor Saxton

With a 1-0 lead in the third inning of Game 2 of the doubleheader, Saxton led off with a bunt-single. She then stole second base and scored on a single by Alex Day. That sparked a four-run rally for Ohio, putting the game out of reach.

Batting ninth, Saxton can start rallies for the top of the order: Mikayla Cooper and Day, who have been Ohio's best hitters this year.

In the final home games of her career, Saxton had one of her best days of the season. She had five hits on the day, scoring four runs and driving in three others.

"I haven't really felt like that for a while," Saxton said. "This season has kind of been a grind for me offensively. I'm just trying to make it work any way that I can for the team, but today I think there was a little extra behind each and every pitch.”

Madi McCrady dominated in the circle

Madi McCrady had one of the best performances of her career, as she threw her second complete game shutout of the season. She struck out 11 Bulls while allowing only one hit in five innings.

When McCrady can’t get her pitches to spin, she struggles to prevent runs. She gave up six in 1/3 inning against Northern Illinois on April 7. But all her pitches were spinning well against Buffalo.

"Today my spin was just feeling good," McCrady said. "I was just trying to get it past them, and spin it to win it is what we say." 

Entire lineup contributing

Every starter picked up at least one hit in the doubleheader; the team had 23 total. With the entire lineup being a threat, runs could be scored by anybody. 

Even if one player has a bad day, someone else steps up for Ohio, so production is not lost.

In addition to the starters, the bench players got hits when they were given pinch-hitting opportunities. Brooke Rice had a two-run single and Kendall Meeks had a two-run home run.

Hitters only struck out 3 times

The ball was constantly put in play by the Bobcats. They only struck out three times over the two games. Two of those strikeouts were pinch hitters that are pitchers first, including Stiene.

The contact put pressure on the Bulls to make plays in the field with windy conditions. They did not, recording seven errors in the two games. 

"We were really proud of our hitters for just locking in and delivering at-bats,” coach Jodi Hermanek said. “It's just great to see that kind of offensive focus and the output to follow."

Scoring without home runs

Ohio has hit 51 home runs this season, but it was able to hit them Saturday. The Bobcats hit three homers, which scored six of the 25 runs.

There were only five other extra base hits for Ohio, as it used singles, walks and errors to score runs against Buffalo. 

Ohio showed that it doesn't need to rely on home runs to score runs. That will help in the MAC Tournament and potentially in the NCAA Tournament as well.


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