Ohio was able to take command to down Central Michigan 7-2 on Friday. The win continued the Bobcats' hot stretch, as they’ve won eight of their last nine games.
“I really feel like our offense has just taken off,” catcher Brooke Rice said. “Because of that, our pitchers are able to settle in and be a little bit more comfortable in the circle. We’ve also been scoring first and scoring early on.”
Allie Englant started the game off strong with a double to left, and the Bobcats continued to build on their success. Megan McMenemy’s deep sacrifice fly to center was enough to plate Englant.
Sophia Bernard unleashed her power and sent a home run to left center. It added to the Bobcats lead and made the score 2-0 in the bottom of the second inning. The solo shot tied her with four other teammates for most home runs this season with four.
After remaining quiet for the next few innings, the bats caught fire and caused a scoring explosion in the sixth. The Bobcats put together a two-out rally as Rice drilled a line drive to right center for a double to lead off the inning. She was followed by Lauren Yuhas, who crushed a triple just in fair territory. Immediately after, Englant cranked a home run to dead center that put the Chippewas in a deeper deficit. Yasmine Logan also hit a hard ball into left that tipped off the fielder’s glove and allowed her to leg out a triple. McMenemy followed that up with a two-run home run into left.
The lead grew to 7-1 in a flash when the Bobcats scored five in the sixth.
“I think we were being a little too patient in the middle (of the game) and then we started being more aggressive on pitches that we liked, and that paid off,” Ohio coach Kenzie Roark said.
Mackensie Kohl started out strong and went the distance yet again. She allowed just six hits and two earned runs, paired with six strikeouts in her complete-game. She was dialed in as the game went on, especially after a meeting in the circle with coach Roark.
“I told her to stop picking her own strike zone and attack people,” Roark said. “She has great stuff and you know at times I think she tries to be a little bit too particular. When she flat out just gets after it and attacks the strike zone, she's hard to hit.”
A diving attempt in right could not be reeled in during the sixth, and it allowed the Chippewas to get on the board for the first time as the runner at third took home. However, Ohio was then able to respond in the bottom of the inning.
The only other time the Chippewas scored was on a home run to right, which cut the deficit to 7-2 in the seventh. However, Kohl slammed the door shut in the rest of the seventh when she struck out her final two batters.
“She held a generally really good hitting team to a few hits for the better part of the game,” Rice added. “That’s just very characteristic of her, when she gets in there and attacks the zone. She’s been doing an incredible job and I love that I’m able to be behind the plate for her.”