Everything clicks for Ohio in MAC Tournament win over Ball State

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AKRON, Ohio (WOUB) — The anticipation for the Ohio Bobcats’ first MAC Tournament game was enough in its own right, but fans would have to wait even longer to see the team take the field after a seven-hour weather delay on Thursday in Akron. The No.2 Bobcats began their quest for the program’s second-ever MAC Tournament title and their first since 2018 with a bout against the No. 6 Ball State Cardinals. Ohio would start its tournament run off right, routing Ball State by a final score of 8-0 in five innings.

The Game

After standout pitcher Skipp Miller worked out of a jam in the top of the first, Ohio’s hitters wasted no time giving her some insurance. Yasmine Logan walked with one out in the inning, while Emma Hoffner followed with a double over the head of Ball State left fielder Kaitlyn Mathews, which moved Logan to third. Annalia Paoli came up huge with two outs in the bottom of the first, tallying a double to drive in both runners and give Ohio a 2-0 lead.
The Bobcats would find themselves in a similar situation again in the bottom of the second–two runners on with two outs. This time, Logan would bring around one of the runners on a double to give Ohio a 3-0 lead. This forced the Cardinals to make an early pitching change before the game got out of hand.
However, the game would get out of hand rather quickly. Hoffner walked her second time around to load the bases, and Izzie Wilson came through in a rather odd way. Wilson hit one to the second baseman so hard that it ricocheted out to the warning track and cleared the bases. Ohio found itself with a staggering 6-0 lead at the end of the second.
After a brief delay due to a power outage at Firestone Stadium, the Bobcats found another way to make this game even whackier than it had already been. CiCi Keidel laid down a bunt and reached on a single, but an errant throw into right field sent her around the bases to make it 7-0, Ohio.
Ohio would wrap this one up via the run rule after Westler drove in the eighth and final run with an RBI double in the bottom of the fifth to advance to the next round of the MAC Tournament.

Skipp Miller’s dominance continues

Miller was named to the All-MAC First Team on Tuesday and played up to the honor. Miller worked efficiently again, which will help her availability heading into the weekend. Her location was on point, as she collected three looking strikeouts through the first three innings alone. Miller’s final line: 5 IP, 8 K, 3 H, 3 BB, 0 ER. Her eight strikeouts were a season-high and the most she’s had in a game since last year’s MAC Tournament against Central Michigan.

No shortage of run support

Ohio’s bats were working early and often. The Bobcats have now scored at least five runs in five of their last six games and have scored less than three runs just once during their eight-game win streak. If Ohio wants to win the MAC and make the NCAA Tournament, it’ll have to keep putting up crooked numbers in large quantities, especially considering its next opponent.

What’s Next?

The Battle of the Bricks will head north to Firestone Stadium, as the Bobcats will renew their rivalry with the Miami Redhawks. Despite several scheduling changes due to inclement weather, the first pitch is still scheduled for noon Friday, with the winner advancing to the championship game on Saturday and the loser dropping into the loser’s side of the double-elimination bracket on Friday afternoon.