Ohio Undone by Top-Seeded Kent

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Going into the bottom of the sixth, No. 8 seed Ohio had been holding its own against No. 1 seed Kent State on Wednesday.

The score was tied at 1-1 and the Golden Flashes had runners on first and second with two outs. It looked like the game had potential to go to extras but Erika Warren had other plans.

Kent’s Warren, hit a line drive to center that landed just under junior Sloan Walker’s glove. Both of Kent’s runners scored and Warren made it to second after Walker was able to recover and get a late throw to home.

The Bobcats were able to get the final out after that but with only three outs to produce two runs, they faltered, going down in order to give Kent the 3-1 win.

After giving up 18 runs in the two previous games against the Golden Flashes this season, the Bobcats (0-1) was able to hold Kent to one run through almost six innings of play. Ohio coach Jodi Hermanek said all the credit went to her pitchers and the outstanding defense her team played throughout the game.

“I thought our pitchers did an awesome job,” she said. ” I think Madison (Claytor) did a great job of mixing the zone and I think our pitchers did a great job of executing pitches and I think they had their back right away.

“I was just really, really proud of the pitching and defensive effort and … I thought that we just had some timely outs.”

One of which included Claytor popping up and throwing out Dani Ramos — a player who Hermanek cited as not being thrown out all year — at second in the fifth inning after being caught stealing.

But that tenacity that made the defense so effective was lacking for much of the game on the offensive end. The Bobcats only managed two hits on the day, only one of which was highly influential.

Senior Dakota Pyles’ hit in the top of the fifth put runners on the corner before Claytor hit a sac bunt that brought sophomore Casie Hutchinson home for the tying run.

But outside of that and junior Sloan Walker hitting a bouncing grounder to third that she narrowly beat to first base, it was a hard night for the Ohio hitters.

Facing someone like Kent’s Emma Johnson, who holds a 22-5 record and a 0.98 ERA, was always going to be hard for the Bobcats, but they will need to be better if they hope to beat Western Michigan in the loser’s bracket game Thursday at 10:30 a.m.

When asked what her plans were for the WMU game, Hermanek’s answer was very simple.

“Come out and be the best team on the field and be one run better than them,” she said.

Easier said than done, but if her Bobcats can manage that, they might find themselves on a run similar to the one they had last season.