Ohio (32-23, 20-9 Mid-American Conference) couldn't finish its season as it wanted on Saturday when it lost 6-2 in the MAC championship to Miami (37-18, 21-8 MAC).
The Bobcats needed to beat the No. 1 seed Miami twice to become MAC Champions. Even though Skipp Miller had started three games in two days, the Bobcats needed her starting pitching again on Saturday to face the MAC's best offense.
Unfortunately for Ohio and Miller, just like in the Friday matchup, Miami's offense had success immediately. Miami began the game with two straight hits including an RBI double from Holly Blaska. Blaska was brought in to score with a sacrifice fly one at-bat later.
Down 2-0 in the top of the second, the Bobcats had a chance to answer back when Brianna Pratt walked two hitters and hit another hitter to load the bases with two outs. Lauren Yuhas hit a ball directly to second base in the next at-bat, ending the inning.
After Miller allowed the first two hitters in the bottom of the second to reach base, the Bobcats rallied with some good defense when Sydney Grein threw a runner out at home. Maddi Banks, however, hit an RBI single in the next at-bat to score the first run of the inning. Another run came into score when Allie Cummins hit a sacrifice fly to the right. The Redhawks scored their third run of the inning and fifth of the game after Blaska doubled to left.
The Bobcats' offense had most of its success during the day with a patient approach at the plate, and that approach paid off in the fourth inning. Emma Hoffner and Alexis Dawe drew back-to-back walks in the fourth to put runners on first and second with no outs. After a ground out from Shelby Westler, Grein and Cici Keidel hit two straight RBI infield singles to make the score 5-2.
After a couple of difficult innings to start the game, Miller settled in and didn't allow runs in the third or fourth innings; however, she gave up an RBI triple in the fifth inning, which put the Bobcats down four runs.
Miller finished the game with six innings pitched, giving up five earned runs on seven hits.
The Bobcats had their best chance to get back in the game in the sixth inning. Dawe led off the inning with a double, and two hitters later, Grein reached base from a Miami error. With runners at the corners and only one out, Keidel popped out to second base and Yuhas grounded out to end the inning.
The Bobcats had the top of the lineup in the seventh inning, but the 1-2-3 hitters were retired to end the game.
The Bobcat offense only had four hits as a team in the game, but both Grein and Dawe finished the game 1-for-2 with an RBI.
Although the Bobcat's season came to an end on Saturday, the players and coaching staff have a lot to be proud of for the 2023 season. The Bobcats won over 30 games, 20 of which were in conference play, and six different players received All-MAC honors.