ALLENDALE, Michigan – The Ohio Dominican softball team began its journey in the NCAA Regional Tournament by securing a 2-1 victory over Northwood University during the opening round of competition on Wednesday afternoon.
Junior Sydney Long (Ashland, Ohio) allowed just two hits and struck out four batters in her seven innings of work. The Panther pitcher collected her 18th complete game of the season in her first NCAA Tournament appearance.
Fans in attendance were treated to a pitcher's duel as both teams combined for just three hits in the first three innings. Senior Raemon Meents (Downers Grove, Illinois) struck for ODU's first extra-base hit of the afternoon as she doubled to right-center field in the top of the first inning. Freshman Allison Madden (Cincinnati, Ohio) added a single in the top of the third inning.
Northwood struck for their only run of the day in the fourth inning as Tara Gross drove in a run after she grounded out to second base.
ODU responded quickly in the fifth inning as designated player Erika Case (Holland, Ohio) clubbed her second home run of the season over the left-field fence to tie the game at 1-1. Senior Carson Hackerd (Frankfort, Indiana) followed with a two-out double to right-center field. She traded spots with Meents as the Panther catcher doubled to left-center to drive in Hackerd and give the Black and Gold a 2-1 lead.
Long enjoyed a 1-2-3 inning as she retired the side in the bottom of the sixth inning. She would strike out one batter in the seventh inning and enjoy some great defense that lifted the Panthers to victory and punched a ticket into the second round of competition on Thursday afternoon.
A RAE OF SUNSHINE
The Panther catcher not only thrived at the dish with two doubles and an RBI on Wednesday afternoon, but she played a key role defensively as well. Meents threw out a runner in the bottom of the fifth inning that could have posed a significant scoring threat, giving the Black and Gold some momentum heading into the latter part of the game.
PARTY LIKE IT'S 2014
With its victory on Wednesday afternoon, Ohio Dominican has secured its first victory in the NCAA Tournament since 2014. The Black and Gold's last win in the tournament came at the expense of Truman State University in May 2014. ODU claimed a 3-2 victory and moved on to face the University of Missouri St-Louis in the second round of competition during the 2014 tournament.
ODU has a date with the two-seed and seventh-ranked University of Indianapolis on Thursday afternoon. Setting up a rematch from April 28 when the Black and Gold claimed a 4-3 win against the then fifth-ranked Greyhounds.
First pitch is scheduled for 1:30 PM from Grand Valley State University.
Contact: Ralph Schudel