Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
The Post - Athens, OH
The independent newspaper covering campus and community since 1911.
The Post
Members of the Ohio softball team gather on the field to celebrate as they get another run during a game against Western Michigan at Ohio Softball Field, April 21, 2024, in Athens.

Softball: Ohio ends season with a pair of losses in MAC Tournament

Season's endings are always bittersweet. On the optimistic side, looking back on all the accomplishments over the past few months gives a great perspective on how far a team has come. In a pessimistic sense, the feeling of leaving stones unturned and goals not met gives the notion of failure to a certain extent. 

As Ohio (31-24, 18-8 Mid-American Conference) walked off the field at Firestone Stadium, both senses could be seen as an accurate representation of the team’s season. However, Ohio saw great growth through the season’s bittersweet ending.

Ohio played two games on Friday, losing both, and was eliminated from the MAC Tournament. Both losses saw Ohio have multiple chances to reverse its fortunes, but ultimately Ohio came up short. 

Game One vs. Miami 

Facing its rival in No. 1 Miami (47-7, 26-1 MAC), Ohio had previously been bested by Miami in a three-game sweep on the road earlier this season. Outside of the rivalry, Miami ended Ohio’s season last season in the MAC Tournament, with both teams representing the conference’s top two seeds like they have this season.

Ohio started the game by scoring a run in the first inning against Miami starter Madelyn Reeves. Lauren Yuhas led off the game with a walk and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Yasmine Logan. With a runner in scoring position, Emma Hoffner walked as well, but Yuhas advanced on a passed ball, putting runners on the corners for Izzie Wilson. Wilson, the All-MAC Second Team selection, flew out to left field, but that was enough to get the run in for Ohio, making it 1-0. 

Skipp Miller took the circle in the bottom of the first coming off a complete game shutout of Ball State the night prior. Her outing got off to a rough start as she walked Kate Kobayashi to lead off the inning before Karli Spaid, the MAC Player of the Year, crushed a ball over the right field wall to give Miami the lead. 

Miller was not out of the woods yet, though. The next batter, Jenna Golembiewski, smoked a double and after Miller recorded an out, Golembiewski scored on a single by Allie Cummins, making it 3-1 in favor of Miami. 

Ohio brought in Mikie Lieving to help get out of the inning and Ohio’s twin ace did just that, escaping the frame. 

In the top of the second, Ohio appeared to be on its way to getting runs back as a walk and bunt single by Yuhas brought up Logan. With two on and two outs, Logan struck out to end the inning, leaving a pair of runners on base for Ohio. 

Lieving and Reeves would begin a stretch that saw both teams go scoreless for the rest of the game. The final score would end up being 3-1 in favor of Miami in what was an uncharacteristic offensive performance for Ohio.

The uncharacteristically quiet offensive performance for Ohio sent it to the loser’s bracket where it awaited the winner of the game between No. 4 Toledo and No. 6 Ball State. 

Game 2 vs. Ball State

After Ball State (29-28, 12-13 MAC) escaped with a narrow win over Toledo, Ohio would face Ball State in a rematch from the night before. Starting the game for Ohio was Lieving, who had a strong performance in the game prior. She got through the first without allowing a run despite giving up a walk and single. 

Ohio would face Ball State’s left-handed starter, Emma Eubank, who entered the game with a 7.62 ERA. Ohio had yet to face Eubank as she was one of the pitchers that Ohio did not see in the game between the teams on Thursday. Like Ball State, Ohio put runners on base via a walk and a single before failing to bring them home. 

Lieving pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the second, stabilizing her somewhat rocky first inning. On the other end, Eubank managed to pitch another scoreless inning. 

The third inning was a major turning point for Ohio. Ball State had a runner reach to begin the inning via an error before a single and hit batter loaded the bases with no outs. Ball State hit a sacrifice fly, making it 1-0 in favor of Ball State. With one out and two runners in scoring position, Lieving was able to get a pick off and line out to emerge only surrendering the lone run. 

Another inning went by as the Bobcats got a runner on base, but could not get a run home. The Cardinals, on the other hand, were just getting going. They began a lengthy rally with two outs with a single and RBI double by pinch hitter Jessica Hoffman that knocked Lieving from the game. Miller took over and gave up a single that scored another run, increasing the lead to 3-0 for the Cardinals. 

With Ohio unable to get anything going against Eubank it was beginning to look bleak. That feeling was intensified when Ball State got another pair of runs in the top of the fifth with some aggressive baserunning, bringing the lead to 5-0. 

Miller got a scoreless inning under her belt in the sixth* and Ohio scored a run on a triple by Wilson, who later scored on a wild pitch to get Ohio within a grand slam of its opponent. 

Ball State led off the inning with a double, forcing Ohio to turn to Ellie Greene to get the final three outs of the seventh inning. Greene did just that, getting Ohio to the dugout down by the same 4 runs. That margin would stand when the dust settled as Ohio’s season came to an end with its 5-1 loss to Ball State. 


Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2016-2024 The Post, Athens OH