Updated Sat, Apr 19, 2014 12:11 am
It was a pitchers’ duel in Oxford, but Ohio’s pitcher came up big on more than the mound on Friday, driving a deep triple to right center that bounced out of the fielder’s glove and gave the Bobcats a 1-0 win over rival Miami in extra innings.
Savannah Jo Dorsey pitched the entire game, nine innings, to earn her 18th win (18-12) of the season and to keep Ohio’s (24-17, 9-2) six-game Mid-American Conference winning streak alive. Dorsey was a force on the mound, snagging seven strikeouts and allowing only six hits the entire game before hitting her game-winning triple.
“It was awesome,” Dorsey said. “We have been hyping up this game all week. We’ve been pumped for it, and then we just got out here and we knew that we could do it.”
The play started with Madison Claytor, when a Miami (17-21, 5-6) fielder mishandled the ball and allowed her to get to first. Dorsey then brought her home as her deep hit sent the traveling crowd into hysterics at Miami’s Softball Diamond as the whole team came to meet Claytor at home plate.
But Ohio wasn’t the only team that looked offensively strong all game. Both teams looked sound on the offensive end all game, each getting into threatening positions during multiple at-bats.
More than once the rival teams found themselves with runners on second and third with minimal outs, but each team’s pitcher dug in and pitched them out of the inning to keep the game scoreless and tense throughout.
The first extremely threatening play of the game came in the top of the sixth, as Alyssa Wolfe slapped a leadoff double that hit the top of the wall. The ball bounced back onto the warning track and escaped the centerfielder in what looked like a sure-scoring chance for Ohio with no outs.
Dalton bunted and made it to first, advancing Wolfe to third but a pitching change by the RedHawks changed everything. The new pitcher proceeded to eat through the ‘Cats’ lineup and ended Ohio’s most promising chance of the game. Now it was Miami’s turn to try and seal the game in their favor.
In the bottom of the sixth, a RedHawks batter slammed the ball deep to left field but it hit the top of the wall to rob Miami of its run with two outs. The next at-bat ended the inning with the score still knotted up.
The day hadn’t been going well for Adrienne Gebele as she took the plate in the top of the seventh with Ohio down 3-0. But her day got a whole lot better as she smacked a long shot three-run homer that ultimately led the Bobcats to a 4-3 win over Miami in game two.
Gebele had gone 0-4 in the previous game and had been struck out before she took the plate in the last frame of the game. The hit was huge for Gebele, her seventh home run of the season, but she was more focused on what it meant for her team.
“It felt great to come through for my team in that clutch situation,” she said. “I was thinking little base hit, you know, move the runners and it just jumped off my bat. It was great to come through for my team like that.”
Following Gebele’s hit, Kaylin Clarke came in to pinch hit and was swiftly walked by the Miami pitcher. Chelsea Hortman was then brought in to pinch hit and, after some jiving from the audience, with a strong single down center, she silenced the Softball Diamond.
The RedHawk faithful could sense another late run by Ohio (25-17, 10-2) might sink their win chances and indeed they were right as Amanda Dalton put a single between the legs of the second baseman to bring home the ‘Cats’ game-winning run.
“You just got to be one run more than the opposition,” Ohio coach Jodi Hermanek said. “And that’s what we were in the right moments. Just really proud of this team for the fight they put in and out. Defensively and offensively, long game for the first game, they nailed it out and fought all the way to the end. Just really proud of the team effort.”
Miami (17-22, 5-7) came out in the second game with a strong offensive set, earning nine hits on Ohio and adding consecutive runs in the second, third and fourth inning to give it a commanding lead over its rival.
Savannah Jo Dorsey started the game once again for the ‘Cats but after her 13th straight inning, Hermanek could see her ace getting tired and brought in Lauren McClary in the fifth to relieve her.
McClary had a strong outing, pitching two scoreless innings and allowing only two runs during her time in the circle. As Miami retook the plate in the bottom of the seventh, Dorsey came back into the circle and grabbed three quick outs to end the game.
The win gave Ohio a 10-2 record in the Mid-American Conference, putting it at the top of the conference and continuing its six-game winning streak. The win also marked the first time that Ohio has swept the RedHawks in the regular season since 2009.
Hermanek was happy with the sweep of her team’s main rivals but also said she’s very focused on the game on Saturday against Ball State at 2 p.m.
“Their offense is very strong,” she said. “So we need to come out and be ready to play A-game style defense, you know. Every out, every pitch is just going to count for us. We have to win every at-bat knowing it’s a battle.