Ohio forced a winner-take-all final with a 1-0, 12-inning victory at Liberty, Thursday in game eight of the 2017 NISC Lynchburg Regional.
The Bobcats (42-17) and Lady Flames (40-23) match up for the Regional title at 5 p.m. today at Liberty Softball Stadium. The winner advances to the NISC Championship Round, which will take place from Sunday through Wednesday at a site to be determined. Ohio will be playing its third game of the day, after downing UNCW and Liberty by matching 1-0 scores earlier.
Ohio's Savannah Jo Dorsey (25-9) pitched all 12 innings, allowing five hits while striking out 13 and walking five.
Julia DiMartino (19-10) drew the loss, giving up one run on six hits, with three strikeouts and one walk in 6 2/3 innings of relief work. Liberty starter Chase Cassady went 5 1/3 innings, yielding two hits while fanning four.
Mikayla Cooper, Jamie Wren and Taylor Saxton all went 2-for-5 for Ohio. Cooper drove in the only run of the game with a sacrifice fly.
Liberty's Autumn Bishop went 2-for-3 while Jasmeen Click, Kaitlin McFarland and Taylor Hoffman had one hit apiece.
The Bobcats took a 1-0 lead with a rally in the top of the 12th. Michaela Dorsey hit a leadoff single and went to second on a sac bunt. A fielder's choice put runners on the corners, before Cooper plated the go-ahead run with a sacrifice flyout to center.
McFarland led off the bottom of the 12th with a single, going to second on a throwing error. A sacrifice bunt sent her to third. Savannah Jo Dorsey struck out the next two batters to end the game.
Dorsey walked Sarah Robertson and Deidra See in the bottom of the second. However, she fanned McFarland to end the inning and keep the game scoreless.
Hoffman drew a leadoff walk in the third frame. After a fielder's choice, Click took second on a wild pitch before advancing to third on a groundout. Tori Zavodny flied out to center, bringing the rally to a close.
Autumn Bishop hit a two-out single during the fourth, but Savannah Jo Dorsey fanned See for the third out.
Alex Day singled to left with one out in the fifth, giving Ohio its first baserunner of the game. Cassady retired the next two batters and the score remained tied, 0-0.
McFarland walked to lead off the bottom of the fifth. Hoffman sent pinch runner Cassie Gingerich to second with a sacrifice bunt. Click doubled to left, putting runners on second and third. Dorsey escaped the jam unscathed, striking out Amber Bishop and Zavodny.
Saxton singled up the middle with one out during the sixth stanza. DiMartino then came on in relief of Cassady, giving up a base hit to Cooper. Wren flied out deep to left center, with Hoffman tracking it down for the final out of the frame.
The Lady Flames saw a glorious chance go by the boards in the home half of the seventh. See drew a leadoff walk and went to second courtesy of a sac bunt by McFarland. Hoffman then singled, putting runners on the corners. Click flied out to a diving left fielder, Michaela Dorsey, before Amber Bishop struck out.
Ohio threatened to score in the eighth, getting two baserunners after two outs. DiMartino fanned Desirae Villanueva to end the rally.
Wren led off the ninth with a single up the middle. A sac bunt and groundout sent her to third, but Michaela Dorsey's flyout sent the game to the bottom of the inning.
Autumn Bishop hit a leadoff single in the ninth, but was left there following three straight outs.
Click reached on a fielding error to start the bottom of the 10th. Amber Bishop sent her to second with a sacrifice bunt. Click was caught stealing at third before Savannah Jo Dorsey struck out Zavodny.
The visitors were unable to capitalize on a leadoff double by Wren in the 11th frame after the next three batters popped out.