Ohio (1-4) opened its season in Boca Raton, Florida, finding itself ahead of one of the most challenging weekend slates of the season in the FAU Paradise Classic. In the event, Ohio took on Michigan State, Arkansas, Penn State and the event’s host, Florida Atlantic.
The Bobcats opened the weekend with a Friday morning doubleheader that featured the Spartans and Razorbacks. In the first of the two matchups, Ohio showed its full promise. The Bobcats’ star pitcher, Skipp Miller, came out for her first start of the season and pitched a three-hit shutout that only lasted five innings.
This is due to college softball’s “run-ahead rule” that allows for a premature ending to a match if one team finds itself up eight or more runs at the end of five innings, which Ohio did. The game ended 9-0, with freshman left fielder, Izzie Wilson, going 3-for-3 in her debut.
Next, the Bobcats took on their highest-ranking matchup of the season with the Razorbacks, who sit at number 12 in the nation. Ohio gave sophomore Keegan Moore a chance at her first start of the season, but the team quickly found themselves outmatched.
At the end of five innings, the Bobcats found themselves narrowly avoiding being on the wrong end of the aforementioned run-ahead rule, as the Razorbacks tallied an unanswered seven runs. In the seventh inning, it was Ohio’s turn to go unanswered, scoring three runs to finish the game, but it was too little too late as the team registered their first loss of the season.
In Saturday’s doubleheader, Ohio would be unable to escape the run-ahead rule a second time. In their first matchup against Penn State – and freshman Mikie Lieving’s first career start at pitcher – Ohio would log just four hits to Penn State’s 11, giving up eight unanswered runs.
In the second game of the afternoon, against Florida Atlantic, it would be a slightly different story. Skipp Miller would start again, and although both teams logged just four hits in the game, the Owls would generate eight runs to the Bobcats’ zero.
Recouping from Saturday’s matchups, Ohio would once again take on Penn State in their final matchup of the weekend, allowing their second-lowest run total of the event with four. After consecutive early finishes, the Bobcats would make it to the seventh inning, falling 1-4 in the weekend’s finale. Miller would once again start as pitcher, but the Bobcats were unable to keep the Nittany Lions off the bases en route to their fourth consecutive loss of the weekend.
Looking ahead to next weekend, Ohio will compete in the Spiro Classic, going north of Boca Raton to Greensboro, South Carolina. In the Spiro Classic, Ohio will find itself pitted against less high-major competition, as it had to face in the FAU Paradise Classic, going against Sacred Heart twice, as well as Drexel and UNC Greensboro.
At the close of these four matchups, seeding will be decided, and the Bobcats will take on one of the other three teams to determine where they sit in the tournament.