ATHENS, Ohio – The Ohio softball team (18-12, 6-0 MAC) is back on the road this weekend when they head to DeKalb, Ill. to take on Northern Illinois (13-20, 4-2 MAC) April 7-8. On Saturday, April 7, the Bobcats and NIU will play a doubleheader set to begin at 2 p.m. ET. The teams will conclude the series on Sunday, April 8 at 12 p.m. ET.
Reminder, due to weather, the series between Ohio and NIU has been changed from the originally scheduled dates and times.
ALL-TIME AGAINST NORTHERN ILLINOIS
The all-time series against NIU is tied at 19-19 and the last time the two teams faced off was May 11, 2017 at the MAC Tournament where the Bobcats won the matchup 1-0.
While the Bobcats won two regular season games last season against NIU, they were not considered conference games. The last time they faced off during the regular season was May of 2014 where the Bobcats and Huskies split the two-game series.
LAST TIME AGAINST NORTHERN ILLINOIS
The Bobcats and NIU met three times during the season last year. The Bobcats and Huskies met in February 2017, with Ohio defeating NIU twice by the final of 4-3 in 10 innings and 3-2. However, those games did not count for the conference schedule.
Ohio and NIU last met May 11, 2017 in the MAC Tournament Quarterfinals, with Ohio winning 1-0.
SCOUTING NORTHERN ILLINOIS
Northern Illinois is currently 13-20 overall and 4-2 in the MAC. The Huskies doubleheader scheduled for April 3 against Ball State was cancelled, so the Huskies are coming off of a three-game sweep of Buffalo March 30-31.
As a team, NIU is batting .283 with 137 runs scored on 246 hits, with 40 doubles, 15 triples and 16 homeruns with a .419 slugging percentage. The Huskies has drawn 91 walks, have 33 stolen bases and a.356 on base percentage.
Leading NIU is Jenny Van Geertry who is batting .450 with 45 hits, nine doubles, five triples, four homeruns and 19 RBI and a .760 slugging percentage. Sam Schmidt is batting .409 with 38 hits, six doubles and 12 RBI.
Alaynie Woollard is batting .318 with a team-leading 23 RBI and seven triples and six stolen bases.
In the circle, the NIU staff has a team ERA of 4.06 with 123 earned runs in 212.0 innings. They have walked 104 batting while striking out a total of 118.
Tara Thacker is 5-10 with a 3.86 ERA. In 83.1 innings, she has allowed 58 runs, walked 48 and struck out 49. Alex Frenz is 5-5 overall with a 3.58 ERA. In 60.2 innings, she has allowed 38 runs with 15 walks and 33 strikeouts. MacKenzie Bryan registers a 3.34 ERA with a 3-4 record. In 44 innings, she has allowed 30 runs on 52 hits with 17 walks and 29 strikeouts.
REWINDING LAST WEEK
Since the Bobcats doubleheader against Kent State scheduled for April 3 was cancelled, Ohio is coming off of a three-game sweep of Eastern Michigan this past weekend. In a doubleheader on March 30, the Bobcats defeated EMU, 8-0 in six innings and 6-1 in the second game. The Bobcats completed the sweep with a 4-3 win on Saturday, March 31.
Over the weekend, Ohio hit .302 at the plate, scored 18 runs on 26 hits, hit five doubles, three home runs and has a .465 slugging percentage.
Individually, Mikayla Cooper hit .545 with six hits, one homerun and three RBI with a .818 slugging percentage. Desirae Villanueva hit .500 with three hits in six at bats, scored two runs and drove in one run. Alex Day registered five RBI, two runs scored and two homeruns.
In the circle, the staff registered a 1.40 ERA and allowed four runs on nine hits and struck out 23 batters in 20.0 innings.
Madi McCrady did not allow a run on two hits and struck out six in her one start. Stiene earned a win and registered a 1.75 ERA, allowing three runs on six hits and struck out 16. Villanueva earned a win on Saturday, pitching two innings and allowing one run on one hit and struck out one batter.
Ohio is currently 18-12 overall and 6-0 in the MAC and are coming off of a three-game sweep of Eastern Michigan this past weekend. The sweep helped Ohio start conference play 6-0 for the first time in program history.
As a team, Ohio is batting .271 with 138 runs scored, 36 doubles, eight triples, 25 homeruns and 121 RBI. The team has drawn 90 walks and has 20 stolen bases on the year.
Leading the Bobcats is senior Mikayla Cooper. Cooper is batting .365 with 35 hits, 19 runs sacred, seven homeruns, five doubles and 24 RBI. She also has a .667 slugging percentage and has drawn a team-leading 18 walks. Next is redshirt junior Michaela Dorsey who is batting .348 with 23 hits, four homeruns, 15 runs scored and 20 RBI. Junior Natalie Alvarez has come on strong as of late, batting .326 with 15 hits, four doubles and eight RBI.
Freshman Katie Yun and junior Alex Day are also registering solid offensive numbers. Yun is batting .320 with 32 hits, five doubles, two triples and four home runs, while driving in 15 runs. Day is batting .314 with seven homeruns, five doubles, 19 RBI and 23 runs scored.
In the circle, the pitching staff has a combined 3.29 ERA. In 202.1 innings, they have allowed 95 earned runs, walked 91 batters and have struck out 220 while opponents are batting .249 against them.
In the circle, senior Danielle Stiene has a 2.48 ERA and an 11-5 record in 20 appearances. Stiene has made 14 starts with nine complete games and three shutouts, all while striking out 132 batters.
Sophomore Kendall Meeks is 1-1 with a 2.96 ERA in 12 appearances and two starts. In 20.2 innings, Meeks has allowed 10 earned runs and has struck out 14 while also registering two saves.
Freshman Madi McCrady is 5-4 overall with a 3.89 ERA in 14 appearances with 67 strikeouts.
BOBCATS IN MAC PLAY
Since the start of conference play, Mikayla Cooper is batting .500 with 10 hits, four homeruns, eight RBI and a 1.100 slugging percentage. Natalie Alvarez is batting .471 with eight hits, three doubles and five RBI with a .647 slugging percentage.
Taylor Saxton is batting .375 in MAC play, registering six hits, scoring three runs and stealing two bases.
In the circle, Madi McCrady has a 1.65 ERA in 17.0 innings. She's allowed four runs and has struck out 14. Meanwhile, Danielle Stiene has pitched 19.0 innings and has allowed six earned runs and has struck out 23 while registering a 2.21 ERA in three appearances.
The Bobcats have now won nine in a row and are 6-0 in MAC play for the first time in program history.
MAC WEEKLY HONORS
Danielle Stiene was named the MAC East Pitcher of the Week on Feb. 27.
Senior Mikayla Cooper earned the MAC East Player of the Week award on March 27.
Stiene was named the MAC East Pitcher of the Week on April 3 for her work during the week of March 26.
OHIO IN THE MAC
The Bobcats are currently at the top of the MAC after finishing this past weekend with a 6-0 conference record. Ohio is ahead of Ball State and Toledo who are both 5-2 during conference play.
Ohio is currently fourth overall in pitching with a 3.29 ERA, and first in strikeouts with 220.
Individually, Danielle Stiene is ranked fifth in pitching with a 2.48 ERA and is first in strikeouts with 132.
The Bobcats are currently seventh in batting with a .271 average. They are fourth overall in homeruns with 25.
OHIO IN THE NCAA
The Bobcats rank in the top-50 in a few individual statistical categories. Danielle Stiene ranks 28thin strikeouts per seven innings. Stiene also ranks 31stin strikeout-to-walk ratio and is 27thin total strikeouts. Kendall Meeks is 43rdin saves with two.
As a team, Ohio is ranked 54thin homeruns per game (0.83) and 39thin triples per game (0.27). Pitching wise, Ohio is 59thin the nation in strikeout-to-walk ratio at 2.42.
OHIO AND RPI
The Bobcats are currently 74th in this week's RPI ranking and are the highest ranked MAC school.
The Bobcats have played eight teams that are ranked in the top-100 and 11 teams in the top-150.
Tuesday's opponent, Kent State, is ranked 196th.
THE 2017 SQUAD
Ohio will return with four seniors, including Taylor Saxton and Mikayla Cooper. Both started in all 60 games. Saxton finished the season with a .317 batting average, a .377 OBP and led the team with 19 stolen bases. Cooper led the team with 18 doubles and 25 walks. She finished the season with a .337 batting average and a .425 OBP. Cooper was named the MAC player of the week once and made the All-MAC First Team.
Starting in the circle for the Bobcats is Senior Danielle Stiene. She finished the 2017 season with an ERA of 2.37 and was named Distinguished Scholar Athlete. Highlights from the previous season include her five-inning no-hitter against Lafayette and her seven-inning no-hitter against UNC Wilmington.
Also returning are infielder MacKenzie Brunswick and outfielder Deanna Cole. Brunswick finished the 2017 season with 28 hits and RBIs and five stolen bases. Cole was named Academic All-MAC and held the second-most stolen bases on the team.
NEW TO THE SQUAD
The Bobcats will welcome four newcomers to the 2018 team. Madi McCrady will look to contribute in the circle. She recorded an ERA under 1.3 all three years of high school. Allie Englant will look to contribute in the outfield; she was ranked first in the state during her 2017 season.
Katie Yun will look to join the infield after leading her team to the Regional Championship and Brooke Rice will look for time behind the plate after her high school team reigned supreme four years in a row.
Mercy College transfer Kendall Meeks also joins Ohio this year. At Mercy, she was named ECAC Rookie of the Week four times and ECC Rookie of the week three times. Prior to college, Meeks played softball for Alexander High School.
The Bobcats finished second in the Mid-American Conference preseason poll behind Kent State, who received six out of the possible 12 votes. They finished ahead of Miami.
The 2018 season marks head coach Jodi Hermanek's tenth season with Ohio. Out of her 375 career wins, 270 of them are with the Bobcats. Under her coaching, the 2017 squad recorded a program record of 42 wins and a MAC East Championship. For the first time, the Bobcats won the conference tournament and then went on to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 19 years.
The Bobcats will continue MAC play on Wednesday, April 11 when the Bobcats head to Kent State to take on the Golden Flashes. The Bobcats and Kent State will now play a doubleheader to make up for Tuesday's rained out doubleheader. First pitch for the first game is still to be determined.