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Ohio's infielder Annalia Paoli (3) throws the ball to first base during the home game against Northern Illinois University on Saturday, March 20, 2021, in Athens, Ohio. The Bobcats won 6-5. 

Softball: Ohio picks up first mercy rule of the season, sweeps Akron in doubleheader

Ohio got a morale boost Tuesday.

After splitting a four-game series with Bowling Green, which saw the Bobcats losing the last two games, Ohio welcomed the struggling Akron Zips to Ohio Softball Field for a doubleheader. Winning both games meant the Bobcats would have their first sweep since the beginning of March and would also boost the team’s spirits going forward.

The Bobcats got that shot in the arm after sweeping Akron with a 9-1 game one win in five innings followed by a 7-1 win in game two. The two wins put Ohio back over .500 once again. 

“Morale is going to be high after two dominant victories,“ Ohio coach Kenzie Roark said. “Everybody came with a lot of excitement today and put up a lot of runs.”

Here’s what happened in both games: 

Game 1: 9-1 Ohio

When Ohio (16-15, 12-10 Mid-American Conference) went three up and three down in the bottom of the first, it seemed as if it would be another game with only a few hits from the Bobcat’s offense. However, things started to look up shortly thereafter. 

Ohio came to life in the bottom of the second inning, scoring five runs on five hits and finding the momentum it needed to crush Akron 9-1 in game one of Tuesday’s doubleheader. 

It all started when Annalia Paoli led off the bottom of the second with a single to third base. Sophia Bernard followed suit, hitting a single up the infield. Moments later, Caroline Spacek took one for the team by hitting a sacrifice bunt that allowed Paoli and Bernard to advance to second and third. 

The Bobcats then looked to Caitlin Fogue, who was next up to bat. Before Tuesday, Fogue had earned six RBIs on the season, and they needed her to hit another one right here. Fogue did not disappoint. She got up to the plate, swung as hard as she could and hit a two-RBI double off the centerfield wall. Bobcat players and fans alike erupted in cheers as Paoli and Bernard ran home, and Ohio took a 2-0 lead. Fogue finished the game with a season-high three RBIs. 

Alexis Dawe and Katie Yun also hit for RBIs in the second inning, making Ohio’s lead 5-0 after only two innings played. 

The Bobcats allowed the Zips to score one run in the top of the fourth but did not let it diminish their fire. Ohio went on to earn four more hits and score four runs in the bottom of the fifth, invoking the mercy rule and ending the game after only five innings played. The game ended after yet another two-RBI double, this time by freshman Emily Walker. This was the first time the Bobcats have had a mercy rule in their favor this season. 

Pitcher Mackensie Kohl started for the second-straight game and picked up the win, bringing her personal record this season to 7-7. She faced 21 batters and struck out three. 

Game 2: 7-1 Ohio

The second game went pretty similarly to the first, with the exception that it was a full game. 

After a double from Spacek brought in Paoli and Mikenzie Vaughn in the bottom of the first, Ohio held the lead for the rest of the game. Spacek had Ohio’s best offensive performance in game two, going 2-for-3 on hitting and leading the team with two RBIs. 

Akron’s only score of the game was a second-inning home run by Tiffany Stevens. Following the Zips’ lone home run, pitcher Madi McCrady and the rest of Ohio’s defense kept Akron scoreless.

The Bobcats’ other scores were brought in by Allie Englant twice, Brooke Rice and Paoli. Four of Ohio’s runs, however, were unearned. Akron was charged with three errors in game two, which only served to boost the Bobcats’ morale all game. 

Ohio coach Kenzie Roark was satisfied with her team’s performance regardless of how the opponent played.

“A win is a win is (a) win,” Roark said. “At the end of the day, our focus from the weekend was just making sure that we can control what we can control and take care of our business.” 

The Bobcats will look to keep their morale up when they travel to take on Ball State for a four-game series starting Friday. 



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