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Ohio senior Caitlin Fogue (11) swings and misses against Northern Illinois on Saturday, April 23, 2022.

Softball: Ohio takes series finale 9-4 over Northern Illinois

Ohio saved its weekend with a 9-4 win over Northern Illinois in Sunday’s series finale, and just about everything that went wrong for Ohio in Saturday’s doubleheader sweep went right on Sunday.

The Bobcats had 10 errors across both games of the doubleheader and lost both games despite leading after five innings, but on Sunday they committed just one error and were able to easily hold onto the dominant lead they had built.

Most importantly, Ohio was able to avoid giving up the big innings that killed it on Saturday. Northern Illinois left runners on base in four different innings, as Mackensie Kohl was consistently able to work out of trouble.

Kohl was fantastic in her senior day start, throwing her fifth consecutive complete game while allowing just two earned runs on seven hits while striking out three batters. While Kohl went just 1-1 this weekend, only six of the 14 runs she allowed were earned, and she knows how important picking up the win Sunday was.

“It was definitely a team win and everyone worked together,” Kohl said. “We pulled out a win like this after a day like yesterday where we didn’t play our best all the way around.”

After blowing leads in both games of Saturday’s doubleheader, Ohio made sure it had plenty of cushion Sunday.

Every time Northern Illinois tried to make a move, Ohio answered with a couple runs of its own, making sure that the two-run home run Kohl gave up in the sixth had no impact on the final. Ohio’s offense kept the lead large enough that it was never really stressed about the result.

“You shouldn’t have to outhit your mistakes and that’s what we had to do yesterday,” Ohio coach Kenzie Roark said. “We made it a little bit easier on ourselves today.”

Saturday’s doubleheader sweep featured a pair of uncharacteristic losses for the Bobcats, but Sunday they were back to doing the things that have them in second place in the Mid-American Conference with just two series remaining.

Consistent defense, dominant offense and solid pitching has been the recipe for Ohio all season long, and that was exactly what Sunday’s game looked like. Ohio took the lead early and did not let Northern Illinois back in the game the way they did Saturday.

The Bobcats, as they have for much of this season, got contributions from up and down the lineup. The Bobcats’ heavy hitters produced as usual, as Allie Englant drove in a pair of runs and Caroline Spacek hit a two-run home run in the third.

But Ohio also got production from some of its other hitters, as Lauren Yuhas, Ohio’s ninth hitter, drove in a run and scored another, and Brooke Rice got things started with a three-run double in the second.

With just two series to go this season, Ohio has a great opportunity to secure one of the four spots in the MAC tournament, and Sunday’s game was the ideal performance to build on.

@willocunningham

wc425318@ohio.edu

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