The Muskingum softball team saw its Ohio Athletic Conference Tournament championship hopes dashed on Saturday when Ohio Northern handed the Muskies a 2-1 setback to eliminate Muskingum from tournament play. The Muskies' hope for NCAA postseason play now rests with the possibility of receiving an at-large bid which will be unveiled during the NCAA Division III Softball Championship selection show on Monday, May 6, at 1:00 p.m.
Ohio Northern (22-18) grabbed the momentum in the first inning by scoring two runs on four hits. Abby Elliott and Hailee Loughman each had an RBI.
Muskingum (31-11) chipped away at its deficit in the top of the second inning when senior Rachel Eberling smashed a solo home run. The long ball was the 11th of the year for Eberling.
Muskingum threatened in the sixth when senior Krissy Hughes doubled and senior Jolyn Shunk walked. The Muskies had two runners on with one out but Polar Bear pitcher Kaitlin Surdej induced two straight infield pop-ups to halt the Muskie charge. Muskingum went 1-2-3 in the seventh to end the game.
Eberling started for the Muskies and allowed two runs on seven hits in six innings of work. She also led the team at the plate with a solo home run. Hughes added the other lone hit for Muskingum. In the field, the Muskies flashed some leather by turning two double plays.
Surdej was masterful in the center of the diamond limiting Muskingum's high-powered offensive attack to just two hits. Rachel Hish and Gabby Stewart each had a pair of hits for Ohio Northern.
Following the conclusion of the tournament, Eberling was named to the all-tournament team.