ATHENS, Ohio –The Ohio softball team (7-5) returns to action Wednesday, Feb. 27 when they travel to Huntington, W. Va. to take on Marshall (10-5). First pitch is set for 3 p.m.
LAST YEAR AGAINST MARSHALL
Last season, the Bobcats downed the Thundering Herd in six innings, bringing home a 10-2 victory.
The Thundering Herd is currently 10-5. They opened their 2019 season on Feb. 8 at the USD Tournament in San Diego, Calif., where they went 4-1, highlighted by a nine-inning, one-run victory against Cal Poly.
On Friday, February 15, Marshall traveled to the Battle at the Beach in Conway, S.C., going 3-2 on the weekend. Last weekend, they competed in the Holy City Showdown in Mt. Pleasant, S.C. There, they also finished the weekend 3-2, highlighted by an eight-inning, 4-3 victory over UMass-Lowell.
As a team, the Thundering Herd has a .272 batting average. In 15 games, Marshall has hit 15 homeruns, 74 RBIs and scored 83 runs. Leading the way with a .342 batting average is senior Hannah Giammarino. In 38 at bats, Giammarino hit three homeruns, scored 11 runs and hit 12 RBIs. She currently has a .658 slugging percentage and a .419 on base percentage.
In the circle for the Thundering Herd is senior Abigail Tolbert. Tolbert currently has a record of 6-4, a 2.75 ERA, made 11 appearances and pitched five complete games. In 56 innings pitched, she's struck out 36 batters and maintained a 1.11 WHIP. Junior Kailee Williamson is also contributing in the circle. With a 3-0 record, Williamson has a .83 ERA and has struck out 31 batters in 42 innings pitched.
The Bobcats are 7-5 overall after the third weekend of action.
Offensively, the Bobcats are hitting .285 as a team, scoring a total of 52 runs with 98 hits, 16 doubles, three triples and five homeruns. They've also registered 46 RBI and have a team slugging percentage of .392. The Bobcats also have a .354 on base percentage, while drawing 30 walks.
Individually, sophomore Allie Englant leading the Bobcats, batting .522 with 12 hits in 23 at bats, scoring six runs with one triple and three RBI. Senior Morgan Geno next with a .368 batting average, with 14 hits, two doubles, two homerun s, including a grand slam, and 13 RBI, with a .579 slugging percentage. Meanwhile, sophomore Katie Yun is batting .364 with 16 hits, five doubles, one homerun, nine RBI and a .545 slugging percentage. Senior Natalie Alvarez is hitting .324 with 12 hits, three doubles and a .40f on base percentage.
In the circle, the Bobcats have a 3.05 team ERA. In 80.1 innings pitched, the Bobcats have allowed 35 earned runs on 71 hits and have struck out 60 batters, while opponents are hitting .224 against them.
Individually, freshman Mackensie Kohl started her career off strong, with a 3-2 record and one save, while recording a 1.92 ERA in seven appearances with five starts and four complete games. She's allowed 11 earned runs on 35 hits in 40.0 innings, while striking out 26. Sophomore Madi McCrady is next with a 3.00 ERA in 37.1 innings, allowing 16 runs and striking out 31.
On the first day in Carbondale, Ohio dropped their first game against Southern Illinois 3-0. With two outs in the bottom of the first, SIU hit a two-RBI double, pulling ahead with a 2-0 lead. In the bottom of the third, SIU scored their third and final run after tagging-up on a fly ball to center field.
The Bobcats rebounded for their second game of the day, defeating Evansville 5-0. The game remained scoreless until the bottom of the third; Ohio struck with two outs, loading the bases before senior Morgan Geno (Chillicothe, Ohio) smacked a grand slam. The Bobcats grabbed their fifth and final run in the bottom of the fifth when freshman Caroline Spacek (Beaumont, Texas) hit her first career homerun.
On Sunday, Ohio fell to Southern Illinois 2-1. After three scoreless innings, SIU pulled ahead 2-0 in the bottom of the fourth. In the top of the seventh, the Bobcats attempted to pull ahead when senior Deanna Cole (Akron, Ohio) hit her first career homerun with one out, but the team was unable to score the tying run.
MAC PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Geno was named to MAC Co-Player of the Week on Tuesday, Feb. 12 for her performance the first weekend of play.
Geno batted .563 with nine hits in 16 at bats, scored two runs, had one double and one homerun. She also recorded seven RBI, had a .813 slugging percentage and a .650 on base percentage. Geno drew three walks and was hit by a pitch, while only striking out twice. Also, in her first weekend at first base, Geno recorded 25 putouts and only one error for a .962 fielding percentage.
THE KENZIE ROARK ERA BEGINS
The 2019 season marks new head coach Kenzie Roark's first season with the Bobcats. Before coming to Ohio, Roark spent four years with South Carolina Upstate as their pitching coach. Under her coaching, the Spartans won two Atlantic Sun Conference Regular Reason Championships and three ASUN Tournament Championships. Multiple of Roark's pitchers were recognized, including two ASUN Pitchers of the Year.
Before Upstate, Roarke was the pitching coach at East Tennessee State from 2012-14 where she helped the Lady Bucs accumulate their most wins since 2010. Roark's career began at Virginia Tech as a student assistant in 2011; this coaching staff was named the 2012 NFCA Mid-Atlantic Region Coaching Staff of the Year.
Before working for the Hokies, Roark played for Virginia Tech. She was named an Atlantic Coast Conference All-Tournament and Player of the Week during her career. As a freshman, she made an appearance in the 2008 College World Series. She ranks second all-time with 155 career appearances and fourth with 510 strikeouts, solidifying Roark as one of Virginia Tech's greatest pitchers of all time.
NEW STAFF FACES
Along with Roark, Ashley Taylor and Garrett Furnel were also added to the Bobcats staff to round out the 2019 coaching staff.
Taylor comes to Ohio after one year as the assistant softball coach at Tennessee Tech., after a successful collegiate career at Austin Peay.
Furnal spent last season at UNC Wilmington. In 2018, UNCW advanced to the CAA tournament for the second consecutive year. The CAA head softball coaches in the conference identified UNCW sophomore Dominique Travers and freshman Emily Langkamp as top athletes in the conference. Langkamp was also named All-Rookie Team after starting all 49 games recording the fewest strikeouts on the team. Two other girls joined the 100-Hit Club and multiple athletes received spots on the North Carolina Collegiate Sports Information Association All-State Second Team.
2018 BOBCAT REWIND
Ohio finished the 2018 season 40-17, 20-3 in-conference, clinching the Mid-American Conference Regular season crown for the first time since 1995 and earning their first ever number one seed in the MAC Tournament. The Bobcats would go on to win the 2018 MAC Tournament crown for the first time since 2014. After downing Northern Illinois 2-0, the Bobcats continued on to the NCAA Tournament Regionals in Knoxville, Tenn. While there, the Bobcats earned their first two NCAA victories, defeating Monmouth and James Madison, helping them advance to the Regional Finals for the first time in program history.
Overall, the team finished with a collective on-base percentage of .365, a .462 slugging percentage and a .283 batting average. The Bobcats scored 304 runs, had 274 RBIs, hit 72 doubles and 57 homeruns, stole 37 bases and had 16 shutouts.
The Bobcats have six returning seniors, including Alex Day and redshirt senior Michaela Dorsey. Day finished the 2018 season with the highest batting average of the returners, .333. In 195 at-bats, she knocked 12 homeruns and 44 RBIs. Dorsey falls not far behind with a .329 batting average, 46 hits, 10 doubles and eight homeruns. Last Season, Day and Dorsey both earned NFCA All-Mideast Region honors, while Day was also named to the All-MAC first team.
Morgan Geno also returns for the Bobcats, last season the designated hitter finished the season hitting .254 with a .571 slugging percentage, nine homeruns and eight doubles. Geno also earned All-MAC second team honors.
Other returners include sophomores Katie Yun, who was named to the MAC All-Freshman Team, Allie Englant, Brooke Rice and Madi McCrady, juniors Desirae Villanueva, Alexa Holland, and Kendall Meeks, and seniors MacKenzie Brunswick, Deanna Cole and Natalie Alvarez.
NEW TO THE SQUAD
Ohio is welcoming five newcomers to the team. Charlee Pond looks to add depth to the Bobcats' infield along with Caroline Spacek. Pond was named the Coastal League's Offensive Player of the Year and named All-State First Team twice while Spacek was named Newcomer of the year in 2014 as well as the Offensive "MVP" the following year. Mackensie Kohl looks to contribute in the circle; she lettered three times and helped lead her team to a Division I Championship in 2016. Taytum Hargrave brings additional speed to the outfield; she led her high school team in both batting average and stolen bases for three years and was named All-Conference three times as well. Justice Ruggles will be contributing in the outfield; she was named All-Conference, All-District, All-Regional and First Team All-State multiple years in a row.
The Bobcats were picked to finish third in the Mid-American Conference preseason poll. Both Ball State, who received six first place votes, and Kent State, who received two first place votes, finished ahead of Ohio in first and second place, respectively. Western Michigan finished fourth.
Up next, the Bobcats head to Durham, North Carolina to compete in the Duke Invitational on Friday, March 1 through Sunday, March 3. On Friday, Ohio will play Charleston Southern at 10 a.m. ET and Mississippi State at 1 p.m. ET. Play will continue on Saturday when the Bobcats take on Campbell at 10 a.m. ET and Charleston Southern at 12:30 p.m. ET. The tournament will conclude on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. ET when Ohio faces off against host Duke.