Danielle Stiene continued to dominate in the Mid-American Conference, and Ohio's offense produced the one run it needed to beat Miami 1-0 on Wednesday in the first round of the MAC Softball Tournament.
Stiene, the recently named MAC Pitcher of the Year, threw her 11th complete game, and second against Miami, of the season to lead the Bobcats to the quarterfinals of the tournament.
With her 11 strikeouts, Stiene moved to second all-time in strikeouts at Ohio with 559, passing Emily Wethington with the game-ending strikeout. In the first four innings, Stiene had nine strikeouts, but then did not have any until the seventh. There, she did all the work by striking out two and fielding a ground out for the other out.
This is the second time this season Ohio (35-15, 20-3 MAC) has beaten Miami (24-24, 11-13 MAC) by a 1-0 scoreline with Stiene on the mound. The first time, however, it took 11 innings.
The first time a leadoff runner from either team reached base, a run was scored. In the bottom of the fourth, Morgan Geno led off with a double to right center field.
Natalie Alvarez twice attempted to move the pinch runner, Deanna Cole, to third with a bunt but failed to do so before hitting a two-strike single into right field. The throw home beat Cole to the plate, but bounced off the chest protector of catcher Lizzie Bohlinger, allowing Cole to slide in safely for the game’s lone run.
The only other hit by the Bobcats was a triple by Alex Day in the third inning.
Both teams had two runners reach base with one out in the first inning, but Stiene in the top of the inning, and Courtney Vierstra in the bottom, each struck out the next two hitters to get out of the inning.
Despite being a high-powered offense, Ohio had three or fewer hits for the sixth time this season.
The RedHawks only managed four hits in the game, but were unable to string two together once like the Bobcats did. The two extra-base hits Miami had were both with two outs. Each was followed by a strikeout.
Ohio moves on in the winners’ bracket to face No. 4 seed Kent State, which beat Western Michigan 3-2. When these teams played earlier in the season, Ohio swept the doubleheader.
The Golden Flashes are led by one of the top hitters in the country, Holly Speers, who has a .500 batting average and 17 home runs this season. The MAC Player of the Year only had one hit in four at-bats against Stiene when the teams played earlier in the season.
Madi Huck is the ace and threw the opening game of the tournament for Kent State, going the distance while allowing two runs and striking out four batters. She gave up 11 hits in the game but was able to work around the base runners.
The game will be at 1 p.m. with the winner moving on to the semifinals of the double-elimination tournament.