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Ohio outfielder, Izzie Wilson (30), looks toward the infield during the first game of the doubleheader against Central Michigan at Ohio Softball Field, March 29, 2024, in Athens.

Softball: Ohio sweeps doubleheader against Kent State, improves to 5-6 in MAC play

With a triumphant weekend in the rearview mirror, Ohio (17-18, 5-6 MAC) hit the road for a midweek doubleheader against in-state rival Kent State (18-12, 4-4 MAC). Ohio pulled out a pair of wins over Kent State, using some good pitching to shut down an offense that ranked toward the top of the conference entering the game. 

Game 1: 

The original start time of 12:35 p.m. was pushed back nearly an hour and a half. Regardless, Ohio sent Skipp Miller to the circle for the first game. Ohio started slowly against Kent State’s ace, Macy Irelan, going scoreless in the opening frame. In the bottom of the first, Kent State plated a run as Alexandria Whitmore reached on an error in center field and got to third to lead off the frame. Whitmore came around to score on a single by Bri Despines. 

That was the extent of the scoring for Kent State in the first game of the doubleheader. In the top of the second, Sydney Grein hit a two-out double and was driven in by Izzie Wilson, who also hit a double. With the game tied, Miller went to work and got into a groove. From the second inning until the fifth, Miller did not allow a hit, only walking a batter. 

Ohio’s offense would give its ace the run support it deserved. Starting in the third, Ohio used the long ball to push ahead. Lauren Yuhas collected her second trip on the base path of the day, but unlike the previous time, she scored. Yuhas came around on Shelby Westler’s two-run home run. The swing would prove to be the difference in the game. However, Ohio was not done scoring. Brenna Farmer singled up the middle to drive home Emma Hoffner and extend the Ohio lead to 4-1.

Miller stayed on her game, posting scoreless inning after scoreless inning. As Miller mowed down the Golden Flashes, the Bobcats continued to pour it on with the bats. In the fifth, Yasmine Logan led off the frame with a solo home run. For extra measure, the Bobcats tacked on another pair of runs in the seventh as Hoffner and Farmer each collected RBIs in the process. The 7-1 final score was an impressive message sent by the Bobcats, proving they are still one of the teams to beat in the MAC. 

Game 2: 

In the second game, Ohio and Kent State played a much closer contest, but Ohio again came out on top. With Megan Nuechterlein, the pitcher who relieved Irelan in Game 1 and pitched 4.1 innings, starting, it would appear, on the surface, as if Ohio had the advantage of seeing the pitcher. However, Nuechterlein completed a 1-2-3 first inning, which allowed her offense to get off to a fast start once again. 

Mikie Lieving, allowed Whitmore to reach scoring position in the first at-bat of the game for Kent State as she did in game one. Whitmore’s double allowed her to score on a single by Brynn Libler, putting Kent State up 1-0 again. Lieving was able to escape the inning with only one run surrendered. 

After another scoreless frame by Nuechterlein, Kent State went right back to work offensively. Carley Penner singled with two outs, stole second and attempted to score on a single. Penner would be thrown out at home by Yasmine Logan in center field.

Slightly turning the tide in the game with the positive play in the field, Ohio struck back to retake the lead. CiCi Keidel hit a double and was driven in by Belle Hummel’s triple. In the fourth, Ohio tacked on another run as Grein tripled as well to bring home another, making it 3-1, Ohio. 

Lieving got into a good rhythm, shutting down Kent State until the fifth inning when she was relieved by Miller. Kent State responded by scoring a run on obstruction, making it a 2-2 game heading into the final innings. 

Ohio re-took the lead taking advantage of a Kent State error with a Sacrifice fly from Grein in the fifth.

Hoffner would make it a two-run game again by swatting a home run to lead off the seventh. Miller loaded the bases with one out in the seventh, putting the tying run on second base. Miller responded by striking out the next batter and inducing a flyout to end the game with Ohio winning 4-2. 


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