ATHENS, Ohio –The Ohio softball team (28-17, 9-6 MAC) returns to the Ohio Softball Field for one final time this season when they take on Mid-American Conference foe Miami (26-14, 9-4 MAC) for a three-game series April 26-27. The Bobcats will take on the RedHawks at 3 p.m. on Friday, before concluding the series with a doubleheader on Saturday, set to start at 1 p.m.
This weekend the Bobcats will honor six seniors who have made major contributions to the Bobcats over the five-year that they have all been on the squad. Seniors Natalie Alvarez, McKenzie Brunswick, Deanna Cole, Alex Day, Morgan Geno and redshirt senior Michaela Dorsey will all be honored in a pregame ceremony before the start of Friday's game.
Prior to Saturday's doubleheader, the Bobcat seniors will be able to officially graduate on the field. Ohio University President, Dr. Duane Nellis will be on hand to perform the pregame ceremony.
The RedHawks are currently 26-14 overall and 11-4 in MAC play. As a team, they are batting .269 with 56 doubles, nine triples and 34 four homeruns. They have scored 168 times off of 1,086 hits with 157 RBI.
Leading Miami is sophomore Ashton Sloane. In 114 at-bats, Sloane has a .386 batting average with 44 hits, 14 doubles, five homeruns and 29 RBI. She holds the team-leading slugging percentage, .640, and the highest on-base percentage, .485. Also contributing at the plate is junior Kara Leckinger. Leckinger currently has a .317 batting average with 26 hits, four doubles, one homrun and 13 RBI. She also holds the second-highest on-base percentage, .387.
In the circle for the RedHawks is sophomore Courtney Vierstra. Vierstra currently has a 2.23 ERA in 28 appearances and 13 starts. She has an 11-7 record, 11 complete games, three shutouts and four saves on the season, while giving up 39 earned runs and striking out 188 batters in 122.1 innings pitched. Also contributing is freshman Brianna Pratt with a 3.13 ERA, a 13-6 record and 88 strikeouts in 103 innings pitched.
The Bobcats are 28-17 overall and 9-6 in the MAC. The Bobcats are coming off a 4-3 loss to Ohio State on April 16.
Offensively, the Bobcats are hitting .305 as a team, scoring a total of 265 runs with 385 hits, 54 doubles, 11 triples and 63 homeruns. They've also registered 239 RBI and have a team slugging percentage of .515. The Bobcats have a .388 on base percentage, while drawing 142 walks.
Individually, sophomore Katie Yun is leading the Bobcats with a .415 batting average, 68 hits in 164 at bats, scoring 43 runs with 18 doubles, 13 homeruns and 34 RBI. Senior Morgan Geno has a .372 batting average with 48 hits, six doubles, 17 homeruns and a team-leading .509 on-base percentage and holds the all-time record in runs batted in. Meanwhile, freshman Charlee Pond is batting .337 with 33 hits, two doubles, two triples and four homeruns and senior Natalie Alvarez is batting .340 with nine doubles and eight homeruns.
In the circle, the Bobcats have a 3.51 team ERA. In 295.1 innings pitched, Ohio has allowed 148 earned runs on 286 hits and has struck out 234 batters, while opponents are hitting .246 against them.
Individually, freshman Mackensie Kohl has a 9-4 record and one save, while recording a 3.26 ERA in 19 appearances with 15 starts and seven complete games. She's allowed 43 earned runs on 96 hits in 92.1 innings, while striking out 54. Sophomore Madi McCrady is next with a 3.45 ERA in 176.2 innings, allowing 87 earned runs and striking out 165 batters.
LAST TIME OUT
The Bobcats dropped a battle to Ohio State on April 16, falling to the Buckeyes, 4-3, on the road.
LAST TIME VS. MIAMI
The Bobcats and Ohio State last met Wednesday, May 9, 2018 during the 2018 MAC Tournament, where the Bobcats won 1-0.
A RACE TO THE FINISH LINE
With the final two weekends of the regular season in full swing, the Bobcats currently sit in fourth place in the MAC standings with a .600 winning percentage in conference play. Miami currently sits in first with a .733 MAC mark, followed by Kent State at .714 and Central Michigan at .607.
With a number of games forced to be canceled due to weather this season, conference rankings will be determined by conference winning percentage and not wins alone.
HOME SWEET HOME
While the Bobcats saw their 22-game home winning streak come to an end last weekend, the Bobcats are still an impressive, 32-7 at the OSF in the last three seasons.
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 16. She also already has 57 RBI, which is four away from matching Lauren Gellerman's 60 in 2013.
On Tuesday, March 26, Geno became the Ohio record holder in RBI, notching her 139th in the 3-1 victory.
Homerun wise, Geno is now second all-time in program history in career homeruns with 39. Geno needs nine homeruns to tie and 10 to pass Gellerman's career mark of 48. Geno also needs nine to tie and 10 to pass Gellerman's single season mark of 26.
OHIO IN THE NCAA
Ohio ranks in the top-100 in a number of offensive categories in the NCAA. The Bobcats are 40th in batting average (.305), 30th in scoring (5.89), eighth in homeruns per game (1.40), 52ndin triples per game (0.24), and 23rdin slugging percentage (.515).
Individually, Morgan Geno is tied for fifth in the nation in RBI, 10thin homeruns, 28th in slugging percentage, 23rdin walks, and 14th in homeruns per game (0.38). Geno is also tied for 33rd in total bases and 43rdin on base percentage.
Katie Yun ranks in the top-100 in a number of categories as well. Yun is third in hits, 52ndin homeruns per game (0.29), eighth in doubles per game (0.40), 47th in slugging percentage, ninth in total bases (125) and 31sthomeruns. Yun is also tied for fourth in doubles and 47thin batting average.
OHIO IN THE MAC
The Bobcats are leading the MAC in batting average (.305) and third in ERA (3.51). Ohio is also leading the MAC in hits (385), slugging percentage (.515), triples (11), homeruns (63), total bases (650) and at bats (1,263).
Katie Yun is second in the conference in batting average (.415), first in hits (68), runs scored (43) at bats (164), second in homeruns (13), second in doubles (18), and second in slugging percentage (.762). Morgan Geno is first in slugging percentage (.814), first in on base percentage (.509), seventh in hits (48), first in RBI (57) and first in homeruns (17).
Madi McCrady is first in innings pitched (176.2), third in strikeouts (165) and first in wins (18).
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.
Geno earned her third MAC Player of the Week honor on April 2.
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 wrap up the regular season May 3-4 when they head to Buffalo, N.Y. for a three-game series with Buffalo. The Bobcats game on Friday, May 3 will begin at 3 p.m., with a doubleheader on Saturday, May 4 set to start at 1 p.m.