SOFTBALL AT SPRING GAMES

Softball sweeps Ohio Northern to win OAC Regular Season Title

Softball sweeps Ohio Northern to win OAC Regular Season Title
The Muskingum softball team swept Ohio Northern on Senior Day to win the Ohio Athletic Conference Regular Season Championship and hosting rights for the OAC Softball Tournament on May 3-5. The Muskies claimed the opener, 6-4 and took game two, 8-0 in six innings. 
 
THE BASICS
  • Records: Muskingum (31-9 overall, 15-3 OAC), Ohio Northern (21-15 overall, 14-4 OAC)
  • Location: New Concord, Ohio - Donna J. Newberry Field
  • Weather: Sunny, 56 Degrees
NOTABLES
  • Muskingum won the OAC Regular Season Championship for the first time since 2014 and 13th time overall (the OAC began recognizing regular season titles in 1995).
  • The Muskies will be the top seed in the OAC Tournament for the 16th time and host the tournament for the first time since 2008. 
  • The Muskies honored seniors Krissy HughesKierstyn Czuchran, Kylie Zifer, Rachel Eberling, and Jolyn Shunk prior to the start of today's contest.
  • Hughes registered her 200th career hit in game one and set the Muskingum record for runs scored in a season (55).

OAC TOURNAMENT

The OAC Tournament will feature top seed Muskingum, second seed Ohio Northern, third seed Baldwin Wallace, and fourth seed Otterbein. The format is double elimination with the champion receiving an automatic bid to NCAA Division III Tournament.

Day One - Friday, May 3
Game #1: #2 Ohio Northern (14-4) vs. #3 Baldwin Wallace (13-5), 10:00 a.m.
Game #2: #4 Otterbein (12-6) at #1 Muskingum (15-3), Noon
Game #3: Winners from Games #1 and #2, 2:00 p.m.
Game #4: Non-winners from Games #1 and #2, 4:00 p.m

Day Two - Saturday, May 4
Game #5: Non-winners #3 vs. Winner #4, 11:00 a.m.
Game #6: Winner #5 vs. Winner #3, 1:00 p.m

Day Three (if necessary) - Sunday, May 5
Game #7: Winner #6 vs. Non-winner #6, Noon

GAME ONE
 
Ohio Northern registered two runs on three hits in the top of the first inning to jump out to an early 2-0 lead. Sophomore Jaelyn Meade retaliated with a home run to left center to trim the deficit to 2-1.
 
Gabby Stewart blasted a home run in the top of the third inning to widen the gap to 3-1. Hughes secured an RBI double to left center in the bottom of the third inning to get the Muskies within one run of the Polar Bears (3-2). Freshman Haley Hawk hit a sacrifice fly to center field to tie up play at 3-3.
 
The Polar Bears capitalized on a Muskie error in the top of the fourth inning to slide past Muskingum with a score of 4-3. In the bottom of the fourth inning, sophomore Karsyn Shaffer singled up the middle, to score freshman Hannah Miller and tie the game at  4-4.
 
Hawk amped up the Muskie momentum with a home run to left field in the bottom of the fifth inning to give the Muskies a 5-4 edge over Ohio Northern. Meade smacked her second home run in the bottom of the sixth inning to lock in the 6-4 victory for the Muskies. 
 
Meade went 2-for-3 at the plate and led the Muskies with two RBIs and cranked two home runs. Shaffer went 2-for-3 at the plate, registered one RBI, and chipped in one double. Hawk tallied two RBIs and hit one home run, while Hughes registered one RBI and belted one double. 
 
Freshman Hannah Smith earned the victory for the Muskies after tossing four relief innings and allowing just one run on five hits, with two strikeouts. Eberling started and tossed the first three innings, allowing three runs on seven hits, with one strikeout. 
 
Stewart went 3-for-4 at the plate and guided Ohio Northern with a team-best two RBIs and one home run. Kaitlin Surdej took the loss for the Polar Bears after pitching a complete game eight-hitter. 
  
GAME TWO
 
In the bottom of the first inning, Meade secured a sacrifice fly to left field, to score Hughes and put the Muskies on the board. 
 
Junior Kasey Rininger fired up the Muskies with a three-run double to center field in the bottom of the fourth inning to expand the gap to 4-0. 
 
Rininger widened the Muskie lead to 6-0 with a two-run single to left field. Then, sophomore Riley Powers cranked a walk-off two-run single to end the game and secure the OAC Regular Season Title for the Muskies. 
 
Rininger went 2-for-3 at the plate and led the Muskies with a game-high five RBIs. Powers chipped in two RBIs, while Meade tallied one RBI. Hughes, Rininger, Powers, and Zifer all had one double each. 
 
Smith registered her 13th victory in the circle for the Muskies and recorded her first career shutout. Smith held the Polar Bears to just three hits - all singles. 
 
Rachel Hish, Brady Guest, and Jordan Cloonan chipped in one hit each for the Polar Bears. Maddie Anderson took the loss for Ohio Northern. Anderson tossed 5.1 innings and allowed eight runs on 10 hits, with one strikeout.