Ohio strengthened its grip on second place in the Mid-American Conference standings Saturday after splitting a doubleheader with Central Michigan to take an important series win.
The Bobcats lost 5-2 in the first game, but they hit two home runs in the final inning of game two to secure an 8-6 comeback victory.
When the two programs faced each other in the first game of the series Friday, Ohio struggled to kickstart its offense until late in the game. Those struggles persisted into game one on Saturday, when Ohio managed just two runs on four hits.
Ohio were forced to play catch up, which is outside the norm for them this season. It responded well after Central Michigan scored a run in the second inning, but the runs kept piling up. It couldn’t muster an adequate response to overcome a three-run deficit by the sixth.
Mackensie Kohl struggled in the circle, giving up five runs and three home runs. It was a far cry from her dominant performance against the same offense Friday. Kohl held her own for the first five innings and contained the Chippewas to just two runs in that span, but the Chippewas broke through. They scored three runs in the final two innings to put the game away.
Although it struggled in game one, Ohio quickly alleviated any offensive concerns in the second game Saturday. It scored three runs in the first three innings, including a solo home run from Yasmine Logan. Central Michigan struck late once again, and a two-run sixth inning pulled Ohio down to a two-run lead. A monster three-run home run from Central Michigan’s Caitlyn Britton — her second of the doubleheader — erased Ohio’s lead.
Britton, who relieved Central Michigan’s starting pitcher midway through the game and hit the go-ahead home run, had the chance to be the hero on both sides of the ball.
The Bobcats had other plans. Megan McMenemy led off the seventh inning with a solo home run to tie the game. It was her second home run of the doubleheader and third of the series.
After back-to-back flyouts, the chances of the game heading into extra innings seemed probable. But after Caroline Spacek drew a walk, Caitlin Fogue came up to the plate. She’d be the last Bobcat to do so, as she sent her teammates home happy with a two-run walk-off home run to end the day.
Saturday’s second game was yet another in a season of comeback wins for the Bobcats. This was their fourth comeback win in conference play, and they also came back to defeat Marshall in mid-March. It’s their fifth walk-off win of the season, as well. Although the Bobcats come back late, Saturday proved that they are never out of the game.
“They’re not gonna lay down for anybody,” Ohio coach Kenzie Roark said.
After taking two games against against Central Michigan, Ohio has now won four consecutive series and nine of its last 11 games. This run has given Ohio a firm grip on second place in the MAC, and that position could be vital when the MAC Tournament approaches.
The Bobcats have proven that not only are they one of the MAC’s best teams, but they can also win multiple types of games. They can win pitcher’s duels and shootouts, and Saturday proved that fact again.