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Ohio's Taylor Saxton laughs as she tosses up a softball during the Bobcats' first of two games against Akron on Friday.

Softball: Ohio moves on to MAC Tournament semifinal

Ohio defeated Kent State 3-1 on Thursday in the third round of the Mid-American Conference Tournament at Firestone Stadium in Akron, Ohio. Similar to the first round, it was the pitching performance from the conference's pitcher of the year that helped the Bobcats pick up the win. 

Danielle Stiene won her second game of the tournament with another complete game. She allowed just one run on five hits and two walks. It was her 12th complete game of the season.

After an 11-strikeout performance Wednesday, Stiene struck out eight Thursday against the Golden Flashes. The win, her 25th of the season, ties the program record for a wins in a single-season.

The top-seeded Bobcats (36-15) got the scoring started in the bottom of the third with an Alex Day single that brought Taylor Saxton across home plate.

The Golden Flashes (29-22) tied the game in the fourth, when Carlee Selle drove in a run with a two-out single.

The game remained tied until the sixth, when Ohio put up two runs that gave it the advantage. 

The Bobcats' rally started with a Katie Yun single. That was followed by a Morgan Geno walk. To load the bases, Natalie Alvarez's grounder up the middle became a fielder's choice when Kent State could not record an out. 

MacKenzie Brunswick stepped in with the bases loaded and singled in a run. Allie Englant followed that with a walk to drive in another run.

Even with the two wins so far in the conference tournament, Ohio's offense has been struggling. It has scored four runs on seven hits so far. Leadoff hitter and All-MAC First Team player Mikayla Cooper has failed to record a hit.

On Deck

Ohio will play on Friday against No. 7 Northern Illinois. The Huskies beat No. 3 Toledo 10-2 on Thursday and on Wednesday defeated No. 2 Ball State 3-1. 

NIU is led at the plate by Jenny Van Geertry and Sam Schmidt. The two are hitting .400 and .365 on the season. Van Geerty has six home runs.

The Huskies are led in the circle by Alex Frenz, who is 11-6 with a 2.37 ERA. 

Ohio faced NIU in DeKalb, Illinois, earlier this season, taking two out of three games. 

Friday’s first pitch will be at 3:30 p.m. The winner will move on to Saturday's championship round.


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