Softball Battles but Falls to Ohio in MAC Tournament
AKRON, Ohio.- Western Michigan fell to No. 3 seed Ohio in an elimination game of the Mid-American Conference Softball Tournament Friday at Firestone Stadium, 8-5.
The No. 5 seeded Broncos took an early 2-0 lead but the Bobcats rallied in the seventh to pull ahead, 5-2. Western Michigan fought back and tied the score in the bottom of the seventh before falling 8-5 in eight innings.
The Broncos dropped their opening round game to Northern Illinois, 3-1, on Wednesday before bouncing back with a 2-0 win over rival Central Michigan on Thursday.
Senior shortstop Sabrina Gamboa closed out her career with her 20th career home run, fifth of the season, becoming one of just two players in WMU history with 20 home runs. Lexi Jager (2008-11) holds the school record for most career home runs with 25.
Senior Allyson Kus (16-15) pitched six innings in the loss, striking out seven and yielding five runs. Freshman Jordan Kurth (4-8) came in relief in the seventh and pitched two innings, striking out one and allowing allowed three runs.
Gamboa's long ball over the center field fence gave Western Michigan a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the third. Senior Melissa Palmer was on base after hitting a double down the right field line. It was Palmer's 219th career hit, she became the school's career hit leader with her 218th hit yesterday.
Ohio cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the fifth, pushing one run across.
The Broncos took their 2-1 lead into the seventh, but were unable to shut the door. Taylor Saxton started the rally for the Bobcats, legging out a leadoff infield single. Saxton stole second, moved to third on a single and tied the game scoring on a fielder's choice. With two runners on, Mikayla Cooper delivered the big blow for Ohio, hitting a three-run home run to give the Bobcats a 5-2 lead.Headed into the bottom of the seventh trailing by three, Western Michigan dug deep to knot the score and force extra innings.
Freshman Brooke Wyman recorded a base hit to right field and then beat the throw at second as Aspen Williams reached on a fielder's choice. With runners on first and second and two outs away, junior Ivy Schaaf came through with a two-out RBI single to left field. In the next at bat, it was again Gamboa in the clutch, driving a two-run single to tie the game up at five runs apiece.
Ohio had one last offensive spurt in the eighth, plating three more runs to pull back on top for good, 8-5. The Bobcats had three hits in the inning and Western Michigan committed two errors.
Western Michigan put one runner on base in the bottom of the eighth, as freshman Jenna Faultersack was able to reach on a walk, but the Broncos were unable to score bringing the back-and-forth competition to an end.
Western Michigan finishes the season with a 22-28 overall record, 12-10 MAC record.