ATHENS, Ohio –The Ohio softball team (22-10, 3-0 MAC) returns to action this weekend for a three-game series against Mid-American Conference West foe Northern Illinois (14-15, 1-1 MAC) March 29-30 at the Ohio Softball Field. A doubleheader on Friday is set to begin at 1 p.m., with a single game on Saturday at 11 a.m.
SCOUTING NORTHERN ILLINOIS
Northern Illinois is currently 14-15 overall and 1-1 in the MAC. As a team, the Huskies are batting .278 with 198 his, 34 doubles, six triples, 17 homeruns and 100 RBI. With 61 walks, they have a .306 on-base percentage.
Leading into Friday, the Huskies opened Mid-American Conference play, splitting the weekend against Buffalo. The weekend before, Northern Illinois played in the Billiken Tournament where they defeated Saint Louis University, University of Nebraska at Omaha, University of Northern Colorado and Detroit Mercy.
Leading the way for Northern Illinois is freshman Katie Keller with a .455 batting average, .727 slugging percentage and .524 on-base percentage. In 55 at-bats, Keller has 25 hits, nine doubles, two homeruns, 12 RBI and scored 12 times. Just behind her is freshman Bianca Barone. Barone is batting .346 with 18 hits on the season.
In the circle for the Huskies are sophomore Mackenzie Bryan and senior Alex Frenz. In 20 appearances and 13 starts, Bryan currently has a 3.04 ERA with eight wins, three shutouts and 64 strikeouts. In 73.2 innings pitched, she's given up 81 hits and 32 earned runs. In 19 appearances and 15 starts, Frenz currently has a 3.10 ERA with five wins, two shutouts and 38 strikeouts. In 81.1 innings pitched, she's given up 83 hits and 36 earned runs.
The Bobcats are 22-10 overall and 3-0 in the MAC.
Offensively, the Bobcats are hitting .306 as a team, scoring a total of 187 runs with 282 hits, 36 doubles, eight triples and 41 homeruns. They've also registered 164 RBI and have a team slugging percentage of .496. The Bobcats have a .391 on base percentage, while drawing 107 walks.
Individually, sophomore Katie Yun is leading the Bobcats with a .413 batting average, 50 hits in 121 at bats, scoring 31 runs with ten doubles, 11 homeruns and 25 RBI. Senior Morgan Geno has a .381 batting average with 37 hits, five doubles, 12 homeruns and a team-leading .504 on-base percentage and holds the all-time record in runs batted in. Meanwhile, senior Natalie Alvarez is batting .370 with 40 hits, seven doubles and five homeruns. Freshman Charlee Pond is batting .326 with 31 hits, two triples, three homeruns and 12 RBI.
In the circle, the Bobcats have a 3.51 team ERA. In 217.1 innings pitched, Ohio has allowed 109 earned runs on 1,207 hits and has struck out 177 batters, while opponents are hitting .306 against them.
Individually, freshman Mackensie Kohl started her career off strong, with an 8-2 record and one save, while recording a 2.88 ERA in 15 appearances with 11 starts and six complete games. She's allowed 32 earned runs on 78 hits in 77.2 innings, while striking out 48. Sophomore Madi McCrady is next with a 3.43 ERA in 124.2 innings, allowing 61 earned runs and striking out 117 batters.
LAST TIME OUT
The Bobcats defeated Northern Kentucky, continuing its win streak in a comeback, sixth-inning 3-1 victory.
Senior Morgan Geno added a two-run homerun that made her the all-time RBI leader at Ohio with 139 RBI and drew a walk for the Bobcats. Sophomore Katie Yun (North Canton, Ohio) singled for an RBI and added a stolen base. Junior Alexa Holland (Rochester, Ind.) added Ohio's first hit of the game in the sixth inning, going 1-for-2 on the day.
In the circle, Madi McCrady pitched seven innings, striking out 10 batters and allowing one earned runs.
LAST TIME VS. NIU
The Bobcats and Huskies last met on May 12, 2018 in the MAC Championship game, where the Bobcats won, 2-0, securing them the MAC Tournament title for the first time since 2014. Last season Ohio was 4-1 against NIU.
HOME SWEET HOME
The Bobcats have currently won 21-striaght games at the Ohio softball field, and not have lost a contest at the OSF since April 12, 2017.
Over the last three seasons, Ohio is an impressive 29-3 at the OSF.
GENO + HR = RBI
Senior Morgan Geno's offensive numbers this season have her moving up in the record book.
This season, Geno has already surpassed her single season homerun high at 12. She also already has 47 RBI, which is 13 away from matching Lauren Gellerman's 60 in 2013.
On Tuesday, March 26, Geno became the Ohio record holder in RBI, notching her 139thin the 3-1 victory.
Homerun wise, Geno is two away from moving into second all-time in program history in career homeruns. two would give her 34, passing former Bobcat power hitter, Mikayla Cooper, who finished her career with 33.
POWER NUMBERS ALL AROUND
In the last few weeks, the Bobcats have put up power number that haven't been seen since the 2013 season.
In the last 10 games, Ohio is hitting .317 with 96 hits, nine doubles, four triples, 25 homeruns and 76 RBI, while slugging as a team, .620. The Bobcats have also drawn 39 walks.
OHIO IN THE NCAA
Ohio ranks in the top-100 in a number of offensive categories in the NCAA. The Bobcats are 30th in batting average (.306), 38th in scoring (5.84), 22nd in homeruns per game (1.29), 57th in triples per game (0.25), and 33rd in slugging percentage (.496).
Individually, Morgan Geno is second in the nation in RBI, 11th in homeruns, 45th in slugging percentage, 42nd in walks, and 21st in homeruns per game (0.38).
Katie Yun ranks in the top-100 in a number of categories as well. Yun is second in hits, 34th in homeruns per game (0.34), 100th in doubles per game (0.31), 65th in slugging percentage, fourth in total bases (93.0) and 15th in homeruns.
OHIO IN THE MAC
The Bobcats are leading the MAC in batting average (.310) and fourth in ERA (3.63). Ohio is also leading the MAC in hits (279), slugging percentage (.501), on base percentage (.395), triples (8), homeruns (40), total bases (451) and at bats (901).
Katie Yun is first in the conference in batting average (.415), first hits (49), runs scored (30) at bats (118), homeruns (11), doubles (10), total bases (92) and in slugging percentage (.780). Morgan Geno is second in slugging percentage (.779), fourth in on base percentage (.500), fourth in hits (36), first in RBI (45) and first in homeruns (11). Meanwhile, Natalie Alvarez is second in hits (40) and eighth in doubles (7) while Charlee Pond is sixth in hits (31), fourth in triples (2) and fifth in at bats (95).
Madi McCrady is first in innings pitched (117.2), first in complete games (15), ninth in opponent batting average (.228), second in strikeouts (107) and first in wins (13). Mackensie Kohl is sixth in innings pitched (74.1).
MAC PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Morgan Geno has earned the MAC Player of the week honor twice this season. Once on Feb. 12 and again on March 19.
On March 26, sophomore Katie Yun was named the MAC Player of the Week for the first time in her career for her performance the week of March 18.
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, Roark 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 Furnal 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 RBI, 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 RBI. 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.
The Bobcats return to action on Tuesday, April 2 when Ohio heads to Kent State for a doubleheader set to begin at 1 p.m. at the Diamond at Dix.