Updated Sat, May 10, 2014 12:08 pm
It took 13 innings, but Dakota Pyles and Savannah Jo Dorsey sent the Bobcats soaring past the Buffalo Bulls to move on to a showdown for the MAC championship.
Pyles – who only recently got her starting spot back in left field after Taylor Saxton moved to second base – cracked a two-run home run to put Ohio ahead in the top of the 13th frame.
The junior seemed to be the only Bobcat who consistently saw the ball well off of Buffalo pitcher Tori Speckman. Pyles ended up with four hits alone. It came as no bug surprise that Ohio struggled with Speckman, who was on top of her game. Speckman had previously no-hit the Bobcats on April 5th.
Despite sitting through three-plus hours of scoreless softball, the Bobcats maintained enthusiasm throughout the debacle.
Ohio missed an opportunity to score in the seventh inning when Pyles appeared to score on a would-be Casie Hutchinson sacrifice fly. After an appeal from the Bulls, Pyles was deemed to have left third early, wiping the only run of the game off the board.
Both Dorsey and Buffalo pitcher Tori Speckman dueled for 13 innings, with Dorsey getting the better of the matchup. A day after dialing up a perfect game against the MAC’s best offense in Ball State, Dorsey shut down the Bulls to the tune of 13 innings, zero runs allowed and 13 strikeouts. She conceded five hits and a pair of walks, but no Buffalo batter had more than one hit after more than five times through the lineup.
Dorsey has now pitched 27 innings in the MAC tournament and has allowed one run in that time, while earning all three victories.
Speckman gave up 10 hits and struck out nine in her 12th loss of the season.
Madison Claytor contributed two hits and was on base when Pyles hit the go-ahead home run. The only other hits on the team came from Hutchinson, Taylor Saxton, and Alyssa Wolfe, all of whom finished with one.
Each team committed three errors, with none of them figuring in the decision.
Ohio has now defeated the No. 1 and No. 2 seeded teams in the tournament.
The Bobcats will play Buffalo again at 1:30 p.m. Saturday for the MAC Tournament championship. With a win, they are conference champs. Because of the tournament’s double elimination format, they can also lose at 1:30 and win an elimination final, tentatively scheduled for 4 p.m., to earn the same result.