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Ohio University third baseman Annalia Paoli (No. 3) runs hard to first base after hitting a ground ball at Ohio Softball Field on April 5, 2022.

Softball: Ohio sweeps Akron in doubleheader

Ohio trailed Akron by three runs while heading into the seventh inning of the first game in its doubleheader Wednesday. In the previous six innings, Ohio had mustered just five hits with no more than one per inning.

But the seventh inning proved to be a turning point for the Bobcats. They came back from the three-run deficit and outscored the Zips 8-0 across the rest of the doubleheader. A three-run burst in the seventh inning of game one sent the Bobcats into extra innings and carried them for the remainder of the afternoon.

The next three runs came from a walk-off home run by Allie Englant in the eighth inning. The blast to center field was Englant’s first home run of the season, and it was a continuation of her excellent performance since she returned from injury. In her eight games since returning to the lineup, Englant has hit .387 with five stolen bases on six attempts.

She has also made a number of excellent defensive plays, including throwing an Akron runner out at home in the second game of Wednesday’s doubleheader.

“I’m just having fun with it, honestly, as cheesy as that sounds,” Englant said. “I’m just making the most of it and keeping things simple.”

When the second game began, with the looming threat of rain hanging overhead, Kylie Coffelt found an opportunity to shine for Ohio. Coffelt was coming off a start against Miami in which she allowed seven runs in the first two innings, but she pitched a shutout the rest of the way and allowed Ohio to come back.

There was no need for the Bobcats to come back Wednesday. They took the lead in the bottom of the first, and Coffelt threw a complete game shutout to complete a sweep of both the doubleheader and the series against Akron.

Annalia Paoli followed up her recent Mid-American Conference Player of the Week honors with a game-tying double in game one and a solo home run that provided the Bobcats with much-needed insurance in game two.

Paoli has been nothing short of incredible on both sides of the ball in her first season as a regular starter for the Bobcats. She leads the team in OPS and home runs, and she has made a host of incredible defensive plays throughout the season.

“She brings such great energy to practice and to games,” Coffelt said. “She’s just awesome.”

Ohio’s comeback in the first game of Wednesday’s doubleheader was already its third comeback win since the start of MAC play. The Bobcats are no strangers to pulling out comeback wins, but the second game proved they can also shut their opponents down.

“They just compete and never say die,” Ohio coach Kenzie Roark said. “At this point, they’ve proven that they’re not going to go away, so they just kept fighting.”

The series sweep has extended Ohio’s win streak to five games, and it is now 7-4 in MAC play. Ohio is quickly rising up the conference standings. As its schedule lightens, it has the chance to become one of the top teams in the MAC.

@willocunningham

wc425318@ohio.edu

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