Softball: ’Cats start strong in MAC opener

Kaylin Clarke pitches the ball during a double-header against the Bowling Green Falcons. The Bobcats lost the first game with a score of 4-2 and won the second game with a score of 3-1. Ohio will travel to Bowling Green and Miami to take on its next Mid-American Conference competitors. (Sam Owens | For The Post)

Ohio freshman Timmie Rappe had a great birthday on Sunday as her team serenaded her to the tune of “Happy Birthday” during the game, and the Bobcats picked up their first Mid-American Conference series win.

After the game, Rappe was the victim of a Gatorade shower to celebrate her birthday and the team’s 3-1 weekend mark to close a six-game homestand.

Ohio lost its only weekend game on Friday by a 4-2 score to Bowling Green. Ohio bounced back with a 3-1 victory in the second game of the doubleheader.  

The Bobcats out hit the Falcons 14 to 9 during the series.

On Saturday, Ohio’s bats came alive after defeating Toledo 15-1 to open the series. Sophomore Alexandria Basquez led the charge with two home runs and five RBIs for the Bobcats. She said she thought the win was a defining win for her team.

“I think it just basically shows that we can hit no matter what,” Basquez said. “We just have to come out strong and believe that we can, so I feel like it was a statement and showing this is Ohio, and this is who we are.”

Ohio concluded the Toledo series with a 4-3 win against the Rockets on Sunday. Toledo drew first blood with a home run in the top of the second by junior catcher Morgan Smith.

Ohio’s bats were silent until the fourth inning rolled around. Ohio scored all of its runs thanks to junior third baseman Jenna Giusti’s four-RBI game. Toledo made things interesting with a two-run home run in the seventh inning but could not complete the comeback.  

Giusti said this weekend was a good step in the right direction for Ohio.

“Going 3-1 in conference for the first weekend out — it’s a great accomplishment, and our pitchers did a great job,” Giusti said. “So if they keep that up and our hitting stays the way it is, I think we’ll have a great, successful season.”

Freshman Lauren McClary was the star in the pitching circle for Ohio throughout the weekend, as she threw 19 innings and picked up two of the Bobcats’ three wins. Ohio only used two pitchers throughout the four games.

Ohio coach Jodi Hermanek said she was pleased with the results during the weekend.

“3-1 is something positive for us to be proud of. I think that we competed in every game we played in, and I’m just really proud of the girls,” she said.
Hermanek said one of the points she stressed was getting every player involved, and she certainly saw that this series.

“One of the things I keep telling them is out of the last three wins, the key phrase that keeps coming up is ‘team wins,’” Hermanek said. “And that’s what we need to be proud of, is that we’re asking everybody to perform and to execute and come through, and they’re doing that.”

The Bobcats get back to conference play next Friday when they travel to Ball State and Miami.

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