Ohio (30-21, 20-9 Mid-American Conference) had a chance of being regular season Mid-American Conference champions at stake in its 3-0 loss against Buffalo (14-36, 8-18 Mid-American Conference).
Ohio wanted to send its seniors off with a win and become co-MAC regular season champs, but its offense wasn't effective enough to win the game. Still, the Bobcats' biggest goal of winning the MAC tournament is still in front of them.
Senior starter Kylie Coffelt put herself into a jam in the very first inning on Sunday. After allowing the first three hitters of the game to reach base, Coffelt forced Mia Mitchell into foul territory. However, the ball was hit well enough to score the first run of the game. Abbey Nagel continued her strong series with an RBI single and after her third walk of the game, Coffelt's day was done.
Coffelt only pitched 1/3 of an inning and allowed two earned runs.
Skip Miller went to work in relief of Coffelt and forced back-to-back Buffalo hitters into hitting balls poorly to the outfield. Miller did well enough to limit the damage to only two runs.
Miller struck out the side in the second, but in the third inning, she allowed a home run hit to deep centerfield from Alexis Lucyshyn.
The Bobcat's offense didn't have a baserunner until the third inning when Shelby Westler hit a lead-off double. One at-bat later, Tori O'Brien hit an infield single to set up a runners-on-the-corners situation with only one out. Unfortunately for Ohio, Belle Hummel popped out and although Yasmine Logan hit a ball sharply in the next at-bat, the ball went directly to second and Logan was thrown out.
Miller collected her sixth and seventh strikeout of the game in a perfect fourth inning, but in the bottom half of the inning, the Bobcats missed another opportunity with two runners on base.
While the Bobcats' offense continued to stall, Miller set a new career high in strikeouts in a single game in the top of the sixth inning. Miller struck out her eight and ninth batters to start the inning and kept the Bobcats down three.
Ohio's offense had its best chance to mount the comeback in the sixth inning when Annalia Paoli and Sydney Grein hit back-to-back two out singles. Ohio's scoring chances ended when Westler subsequently hit a ground ball straight to third base for the final out of the inning.
Miller achieved double-digit strikeouts in the top of the seventh when she struck out two more Bulls hitters in yet another scoreless inning.
Despite the team's loss, Miller put in an impressive individual performance. The righty pitched 6 and 2/3 innings, only gave up one earned run and struck out a career-high 11 hitters. According to Ohio coach Jenna Hall, Miller wanted to rebound from her poor performance in game one of Saturday's doubleheader.
"She did fantastic," Hall said. "I think yesterday she was a little unsatisfied with her outing and came in and just got back to being her, she was fantastic."
Ohio's first two hitters couldn't reach base, but Kaci Branch briefly kept Ohio's hopes alive with a single. Logan grounded out to third base ending the Bobcat's regular season with a 3-0 loss.
O'Brien was the only Bobcat with multiple hits, she went 2-for-3.
Despite the loss, the Bobcats should be proud of their regular season, which was good enough for the No.2 seed in the MAC tournament. Additionally, coach Hall says the graduating senior class is the reason for a lot of Ohio's success this year.
"Kaci (Branch) Alexis (Dawe) and Kylie (Coffelt) are all amazing human beings," Hall said. "I've been really lucky this first year to have them as my senior class."