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The Ohio University softball team celebrates at the game against Toledo at Ohio Softball Field on April 25, 2023, in Athens, Ohio.

Softball: Skipp Miller, Ohio's defense conquers Toledo

Fresh off of a week-long break, Ohio's (25-18, 15-6 Mid-American Conference) 2-1 victory over Toledo (18-23, 11-12 MAC) on Tuesday came into the hands of Skipp Miller. She led the Bobcats' defense in the circle once again in a complete game, her 15th of the season.

The Bobcats started off by retiring the first 10 batters of the game. The command was the building block for Miller's phenomenal seven-inning performance, where she allowed hits in the fourth and fifth inning.

"She's just a talented pitcher. We're so lucky to have her and we're so happy she's a Bobcat but I think what you're getting to see is just some really talented kids and us being able to find the right group and combination, "Ohio coach Jenna Hall said. "Coach Brown has been working with our pitching staff all year and does a great job."

Miller's stat line for the game featured three hits, one earned run and five strikeouts. Miller improved her record to 13-10 for the year and brought her ERA down to 2.64, which both ranks second in the MAC. 

Every successful team has a core of a strong pitching rotation, and Miller's performance was another game that shows the potential that Ohio has for both MAC Tournament with her and Kylie Coffelt in the circle.

Ohio's fielding unit has also been solid. It kept the game clean and did not commit an error. Ohio's last error-free game was April 4 against Ohio State. Tuesday's game ended an eight-game streak. 

During Ohio's week-long break, improving its defense was the main focus for the squad. However, that is not a momentary thing. Ohio hopes to continually improve to secure the possibility of hosting the MAC Tournament. 

"We've always pushed defense. We work a lot on hitting but 90% of our practices are defense because defense wins championships," Shelby Westler, who hit the go-ahead two-run home run, said. "We really locked up on our defense and that's what has kept us in games."

Toledo and Ohio's pitching showdown on Tuesday might be a recurring event for Wednesday's doubleheader, both teams being ranked in the top five in team ERA. Miller might appear again before the week is over.

Ohio, Central Michigan, and Miami are tied at 15-6 for conference record. With less than 10 games left for each team, defense will be more important than ever. 


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