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Softball Opens MAC Play with Kent State, Buffalo

Ohio's Tessa Bailey

March 28, 2013

Gametracker (KSU 1) | Gametracker (KSU 2) | Live Stats (Buffalo 1) | Live Stats (Buffalo 2)

ATHENS, Ohio – The Ohio University softball team (15-10) opens Mid-American Conference play this weekend, taking on Kent State and Buffalo. The Bobcats will host Kent State for a doubleheader on Friday beginning at 1 p.m. and will play at Buffalo on Saturday (2 p.m.) and Sunday (1 p.m.).

In a peculiar twist, Ohio will serve as the visiting team for official purposes during the Friday doubleheader against Kent State. The Bobcats were originally scheduled to play these two games in Kent on Friday, but weather and field conditions necessitated a change of venue.

Ohio went an impressive 14-8 through 22 MAC regular-season games during the 2012 season. This marked the second time in the last three seasons the program recorded 14 MAC wins. In her five seasons as head coach of the Bobcats, Jodi Hermanek has posted a conference mark of 52-34 (.605).

The Bobcat offense has been hot through the first 25 games of the 2013 season. Ohio has clubbed 67 extra-base hits, 36 of which have been home runs. Ohio's offense is stacking up well on a national scale, ranking within the 81st percentile in three team categories and among the nation's top 50 in multiple individual areas.

Scouting the Golden Flashes
Kent State enters Friday's doubleheader the owner of a 9-11 record. The Golden Flashes have won two of their last three games, beating Delaware State (5-3) and Radford (4-3) before most recently falling to Binghamton (8-0) on March 23.

The Golden Flashes have hit .241 as a team this season, hitting three home runs in 507 at bats. Kent State has four hitters who are at or above the .300 mark, as Jessacca Gironda (.400), Lauren Balodis (.321), Dani Ramos (.317), and Kim Kirkpatrick (.317) have been swinging the bats well for the Golden Flashes this season. Inside the pitching circle, Emma Johnson has been especially effective. Johnson (7-6, 1.87 ERA) has thrown eight complete games in 14 appearances and leads the team in strikeouts (82) and innings pitched (78.2). The Bobcats will likely encounter her and Lauren McNeli (2-4, 4.85 ERA) on Friday afternoon.

Ohio - Kent State Series History
Friday's doubleheader will mark the 101st and 102nd all-time meetings between Ohio and Kent State. The Golden Flashes hold a 58-41-1 edge in the series which has its roots in the 1974 season. Ohio has won three of the last four meetings between the teams, taking two regular-season meetings in Athens last season by final scores of 3-2 and 6-0. Kent State defeated the Bobcats in Ohio's second game of the 2012 MAC Tournament, winning 9-5.

Scouting the Bulls
Buffalo enters the first MAC weekend of the season with a 5-17 record. The Bulls have dropped four of their last five games but most recently won against Texas-Arlington (3-1) on March 17. Buffalo will begin the weekend by hosting Akron in a doubleheader on Friday.

Buffalo hits .222 as a team with Alexis Curtiss (.348) being the lone Bull hitting over .300 on the year. Tori Speckman (3-4, 4.26 ERA) is the team's No. 1 pitcher this season. The Bobcats will likely encounter her and either Nicole Aviles (2-1, 5.84 ERA) or Dani Cowan (0-7, 7.33 ERA) during their two meetings this weekend.

Ohio - Buffalo Series History
Saturday and Sunday's meetings will serve as the 29th and 30th all-time meetings between Ohio and Buffalo. The Bobcats hold a 19-9 edge in the series which has its roots in the 2001 season. Ohio began the series winning the first six meetings between the two programs and has currently won eight in a row against Buffalo. The Bobcats dispatched the Bulls in Athens last season, winning both games by scores of 11-3 and 8-0.

Fans can follow all of this weekend's action via the links provided at the top of the page. Daily recaps will be provided on OhioBobcats.com.

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