March 26, 2012
ATHENS, Ohio – Spring is in the air in Athens and it couldn’t be coming at a better time for Ohio Softball. The Bobcats are set to play their first home games of the 2012 season beginning this Tuesday, hosting Eastern Kentucky University in a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m. Tuesday’s series marks the beginning of a six-game homestand which will also see the ‘Cats begin Mid-American Conference play against Bowling Green and Toledo later in the week.
Ohio (10-13) split its last doubleheader, earning one win and one loss at Western Carolina on Mar. 20. The Bobcats’ bats were very much alive in this two-game series, scoring 16 total runs and belting out 25 hits. Freshman pitcher Lauren McClary (Pasadena, Texas) kept up her strong start to the season, picking up her team-leading fifth victory of the season in the first game. McClary has pitched 73.1 innings so far this season, allowing only 46 hits and 44 earned runs while striking out 69 batters.
Something for Bobcat fans to look out for this week is Ohio’s impressive fielding. Compared to 48 errors committed by their opponents during the 2012 season, Ohio has only had 19 miscues compared to 432 putouts and 157 assists. The ‘Cats rank among the top defensive squads in the Mid-American Conference, successfully fielding 96.9 percent of their opportunities.
Jillian Van Wagnen (Lorain, Ohio) has proven herself to be one of the best hitters on the team, clubbing 23 hits in 60 at-bats to find herself near the top of the team with a .383 batting average. The senior has proven to be a force on the basepaths as well, successfully stealing 15 of her 16 attempts. Van Wagnen is not alone in plate prowess, as eight Bobcats currently boast batting averages of .300 or higher. Joining her in this group are Tessa Bailey (Acworth, Ga.), Adrienne Gebele (Annapolis, Md.), Dakota Pyles (Galloway, Ohio), Erin Lashley (Pickerington, Ohio), Raven King (Alpine, Utah), Chelsea Hortman (Cincinnati, Ohio) and Alexis Joseph (Alvin, Texas).
Eastern Kentucky enters Tuesday’s series the owner of a 12-15 record which includes a 3-6 mark on the road. The Colonels hit .272 as a team and field the ball at a 95.5 percent clip. Raquel Howes has proven to be a problem for opposing pitchers this season, as she has hit at a .330 pace and has belted seven home runs and 25 runs batted in. Katie Tackett is not far behind, having hit six home runs and generated 24 RBI. The Bobcats will likely face off against pitchers Shaylon Robb and Leanna Pittsenbarger, who have combined for an 11-14 mark and an ERA in the low 4.00 range.
The first pitch of game one will be at 1 p.m. on Tuesday at the Ohio Softball Complex behind Ohio University’s West Green.