Story Courtesy of Ohio Media Relations
AKRON, Ohio - Junior shortstop Alexis Joseph (Alvin, Texas) of the Ohio University softball team scored the game-winning run on an Emily Wethington (New Palestine, Ind.) base hit to cap a three-run seventh inning, as the second-seeded Bobcats defeated seventh-seeded Miami in the first round of the Mid-American Conference (MAC) Championship on Wednesday at Firestone Stadium.
Ohio (24-21), the 2011 MAC East Division Champions, entered the bottom of the seventh trailing 4-2. Freshman Alexandria Basquez (Elk Grove, Calif.) and junior Jillian Van Wagnen (Lorain, Ohio) led off the frame with back-to-back base hits. After Joseph was hit by a pitch to load the bases and put the game-winning run on first, senior Melissa Bonner (Kings Mills, Ohio) drove a one-out single to left field, and plated two runs to tie the game at 4-4. Wethington, a First Team All-MAC selection, knocked the game-winning single up the middle, and scored Joseph to give the Bobcats the first round victory.
Miami (30-21) jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first as the Red Hawks sent eight batters to the plate in the inning. After the first run had crossed the plate, Miami added a pair of runs on a Taylor Rice shot to left field. Rice reached on an error.
The Bobcats cut the lead to 3-1 in the bottom of the second an RBI single by Van Wagnen that scored junior Brooke Morgart (Wayne, Ohio). Morgart was pinch running for designated player Lauren Gellerman (San Diego, Calif.). Van Wagnen finished the game 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI and a run scored.
The Red Hawks grew their lead back to three runs, 4-1, in the top of the sixth. Jenna McGivney drove an RBI single to right centerfield which scored Jordan McElroy. The run gave Miami a 4-1 advantage through the middle of the sixth.
However, Ohio cut the deficit back down to two runs, 4-2, in its half of the sixth. Senior Paige Kemezis (Hackensack, N.J.) scored on an RBI single by Gellerman. She went 2-for-3 with an RBI on the day.
Wethington improved to 19-10 on the year and defeated MAC Pitcher of the Year Jessica Simpson in the game. Simpson took the loss for Miami and fell to 25-14. Wethington claimed the single-season record for strikeouts and finished the game with four. She now has 156 this season, which bests her previous single-season record of 154 set in 2009.
All three games played in the first round of the MAC Tournament have been one-run decisions. Ball State defeated Eastern Michigan 2-1 in eight innings in the first game, while Western Michigan shutout Kent State 1-0.
With the win, Ohio's third in a row, the Bobcats advance to the quarterfinals of the MAC Championship. Ohio will take on the winner of third-seeded Northern Illinois and sixth-seeded Central Michigan on Thursday, May 12, at 5 p.m. The game will be played at Firestone Stadium.