Morgan Geno stands at the plate during her at-bat in the 6th inning of the Bobcats’ 3-1 win over Northern Kentucky on March 26, 2019. PHOTO: Nick Mullens/WOUB

Ohio Softball: ‘Cardiac ‘Cats’ Strike Again on Geno’s Record-Breaking Home Run

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ATHENS, OH — Not everyone is clutch. Not every athlete can handle the pressure of being in a scenario where their team could win or lose a game based on their performance.

But Morgan Geno can.

The senior slugger for the Bobcats stepped to the plate in a tie game with two outs and a runner on first with two outs in the bottom of the sixth. After fouling off a few pitches, she finally got a hold of one and sent it over the fence in deep left-center field.

Geno’s late-game heroics would be enough for the Bobcats (22-10) to hold off Northern Kentucky 3-1 for their fifth straight win on Tuesday afternoon.

“I’m confident. We had Katie (Yun) on second and I knew I wanted to hit her in,” Geno said. “When I go up to the plate, I’m confident. I know you have to beat me with three different pitches.”

Not only did that home run provide the winning runs for Ohio today, but those RBIs also gave Geno the new school record for RBIs in a career with 139.

“It feels pretty good. It’s something I’ve worked hard for,” Geno said. “I’ve been through a lot of adversity, so this feels pretty good.”

Geno seemed to downplay the personal aspect of breaking the record, saying that it was better help win the game than to break the record. But the importance of the record-breaking performance wasn’t lost on her teammates or coaches.

“I’m over the moon for her. No one deserves it more. She’s worked so hard to get where she is today,” Ohio third baseman Alex Day said. “I’m just proud…so proud of her.”

“She’s the most selfless player that you could ask for. You talk to her about any of the things she’s accomplished, and she’s like ‘oh, our win-loss record matters’,” Ohio head coach Kenzie Roark said.

“She works hard. She’s battled adversity through her entire career, she basically had shoulder reconstruction at one point and she’s still out here. She goes to rehab, she goes to practice and gets everything done,” Roark continued. “You love to see good things happen to good people.”

Geno’s home run capped off a three-run sixth for the Bobcats that started with Alexa Holland picking up the ‘Cats first hit of the day with a little flair just short of the outfield grass. Yun got her home with a single up the middle to tie the game at one. Two batters later Geno delivered her game-winner, her second in the last three games.

The five prior innings for the ‘Cats were the opposite of what they had done to Bowling Green all weekend. Northern Kentucky pitcher Taylor Ginther was actually tossing a perfect game through four innings before walking Geno to start the bottom of the fifth.

“Early on, (the hitters) were not going up there and executing our plan and they were second-guessing a little bit,” Roark said. “Once they decided ‘hey we’re tired of this’, they got after it.”

“I think today was a little bit of a wake-up call, that we can’t come not at our best for every game,” Geno said. “It was good for us.”

An aspect of the Bobcats’ game that didn’t struggle in the early going, or at all for that matter, was starting pitcher Madi McCrady.

The right-handed sophomore picked up her 14th win Tuesday afternoon by tossing a complete game and striking out 10 Norse to tie her season-high for punchouts. She gave up no earned runs and just four hits to Northern Kentucky. The win gives her a victory in each of her last three starts.

Next up for the ‘Cats in a weekend series against Northern Illinois at OSF where they will look to improve on their 3-0 record in MAC play. First pitch on Friday is set for 3 p.m.