MacKenzie Brunswick came to the plate in the 11th inning with two runners on, two outs and Ohio down 1-0. It was Ohio’s last chance to tie the game.
Brunswick swung and hit a soft popup to Kent State’s Kellie Abeska, who drifted over in front of the second base bag to make the catch and end the game.
For Ohio, the loss was heartbreaking. The Bobcats got seven hits, worked two walks and forced three errors, but they couldn’t bring home a run.
“We offensively had opportunities to score,” coach Jodi Hermanek said. “I know my kids are trying. We just need to be better at execution.”
The lack of execution has been a new problem for Ohio. At the beginning of the season, Ohio was averaging five runs a game and was only shutout three times through the first 30 games. But in the seven games since, Ohio has only averaged two runs a game and has been shutout twice.
Ohio is still the top offense in the Mid-American Conference, but the team batting average has fallen from .305 on March 27 to .290.
On March 27, the Bobcats had eight players hitting over .280. Now, Ohio has just six.
A problem Ohio has faced recently that is out of the team’s control has been figuring out a consistent lineup with players returning from injuries. Casie Hutchinson and Brunswick are two such players that have returned to Ohio’s lineup after being hurt, which forced changes earlier in the season.
Even with players such as Alexa Holland emerging when given the opportunity because of injuries, it is still tough for the coaches to put together a consistent lineup, and the players to find a consistent role when injuries are forcing changes.
Hermanek said the combination of more experienced MAC pitching against Ohio’s lineup and recent hiccups have been another problem for the Bobcats, but she still has faith her team will break out of the slump.
“I think we need to make some adjustments offensively that I don’t know some of our hitters have made,” Hermanek said. “But I still have confidence in our hitters, and I still know that they are tough to pitch to. So we need to just continue to battle, continue to work our game plan and continue to work quality at-bats. We are doing that really well, and I have faith in them.”