Whitney and the Broncos Cruise Past Ohio, 7-2
AKRON, Ohio - The combination of Meredith Whitney in the circle and WMU softball's offense was too much for No. 4 seed Ohio as the Broncos upset the Bobcats, 7-2, in the second round of the 2012 Mid-American Conference Tournament.
Western Michigan set the tone early with three runs in the top of the first. Whitney, who was 2-for-5 with two runs scored and an RBI (but we will get to that later), led off the game with a single up the middle. After a Tara Buchanan one-out walk, Gracie Barstad laced a double to left center field, clearing the bases. Diana Patterson scored Barstad on a single to center field.
WMU put the lead off batter of an inning on base in the first three frames and four times in the victory. In the third inning, Courtney Rousseau led off with a single through the right side and scored on Elisha Handshoe's first career double.
Ohio cut WMU's lead to three on Brooke Morgart's first home run of the season but the Broncos took the four-run lead right back in the top of the sixth. Whitney unleashed a towering home run to straight away center field, her fourth of the season and 18th of her career.
The Bobcats' biggest threat came in the home half of the sixth. After the first two batters fouled out and struck out, respectively, Lauren Gellerman singled up the middle on an 0-1 offering. Raven King followed with a double down the left field lin to score Gellerman from first. Alexandra Basquez reached on a fielder's choice on a sharply hit ball to Christina Pigozzi, who went to third, attempting to get the lead runner but everyone was safe. Chelsea Hortman drew a walk to load the bases as pinch hitter Timmie Rappe stepped to the plate. Facing a 2-2 count, Rappe watched strike three cross home plate as Ohio stranded the bases loaded.
Whitney ended the game with 10 strikeouts, her fifth double-digit strikeout performance of the season, giving her 220 on the year and 715 for her career.
Ohio would put another runner on in the seventh on a Jillian Van Wagnen infield single but the next two batters flew out to left field and popped out to shortstop, ending the game.
WMU tacked on two more runs in its half of the seventh. Barstad (2-for-3) led off with a base hit up the middle and Rousseau, 2-for-4 with two runs score and an RBI, doubled to left center and aggressively advanced to third on Ohio's throw home. She would score on Patterson's, who was 2-for-3 with two RBIs, single through the left side.
Five different Broncos had multi-hit games against Ohio. Jennifer Tschetter (2-for-4) joined Barstad, Patterson, Rousseau and Whitney.
Western Michigan now faces No. 1 seed Ball State in the quarterfinals tomorrow evening at 5 p.m., a game that will again STREAM LIVE through the MAC Digital Network. WMU and Ball State did not see each other during the regular season due to the scheduled doubleheader getting rained out to start the MAC season.
A win would pit the Broncos against either (2) Miami or the winner of the game between (3) Bowling Green and (6) Central Michigan at 5 p.m. on Friday. A loss would match WMU up with either (8) Toledo or the loser between the Falcons and Chippewas at 11 a.m. on Friday.
There be live stats and a live chat for all of WMU's games during the 2012 MAC Tournament.