AKRON, Ohio –The Ohio softball team (31-19) begins play at the 2019 Mid-American Conference Tournament on Wednesday, May 8, when the No. 3 Bobcats take on No. 6 Ball State (34-18). First pitch is set for 6 p.m. at Firestone Stadium in Akron, Ohio.
OHIO ENTERING THE TOURNAMENT
The Bobcats enter the 2019 MAC Tournament as the number three seed. Ohio finished the regular season with a 31-19 overall record and a 12-8 mark in MAC play. The Bobcats also had a .600 winning percentage in conference play, which was how this year's seeding was decided.
ALL TIME AT THE MAC TOURNAMENT
Ohio is 33-32 all-time at the MAC Tournament, winning last season's crown.
LAST YEAR AT THE MAC TOURNAMENT
Last season, Ohio entered the tournament as the first seed and ran through competition, defeating Northern Illinois, 2-0 in the Championship game to earn their first MAC title since 2014.
During the tournament, the Bobcats defeated Miami in the first round, Kent State in round two and Northern Illinois in the semi-final round, before defeating NIU again in the Championship series.
LAST TIME AGAINST BALL STATE IN THE MAC TOURNAMENT
The Bobcats and Ball State last met in the MAC Tournament on May 8, 2014 when the Bobcats downed the top-seeded Cardinals, 3-0.
In that game, pitcher Savannah Jo Dorsey tossed a perfect game, while the Bobcats scored three runs on nine hits, including a 3-for-4 day from Taylor Saxton.
THIS SEASON AGAINST BALL STATE
The Bobcats and Ball State did not meet during the 2019 regular season.
SCOUTING BALL STATE
The Cardinals are currently 34-18 overall and finished MAC play with a 9-8 record. As a team, they are batting .249 with 58 doubles, eight triples and 58 homeruns. They have scored 270 times off of 1,344 hits with 256 RBI.
Leading Ball State is Kendall Fields who is batting .330 with nine homeruns, 34 hits, 14 runs scored, six doubles, 36 RBI and a .650 slugging percentage. Stacy Payton is batting .327 with 49 hits, 33 runs scored, 11 doubles, three triples and nine homeruns. She also has 43 RBI, 91 total bases and a .607 slugging percentage, while Haley Dominique is batting .319 with 52 hits, 13 doubles, two triples and seven homeruns.
In the circle, the Cardinals have a 2.81 ERA, allowing 194 runs in 346.1 innings, while walking 158 and striking out 303. Sarah Venker is 13-5 overall with a 2.85 ERA. In 30 appearances, she has allowed 51 runs, walked 45 and struck out 98. Aeshia Miles is 7-9 with a 3.85 ERA, allowing 71 runs and striking out 84.
The Bobcats finished the regular season 31-19 overall and 12-8 in the MAC.
Offensively, the Bobcats are hitting .297 as a team, scoring a total of 275 runs with 416 hits, 58 doubles, 14 triples and 66 homeruns. They've also registered 248 RBI and have a team slugging percentage of .500. The Bobcats have a .377 on base percentage, while drawing 150 walks.
Individually, sophomore Katie Yun is leading the Bobcats with a .407 batting average, 74 hits in 182 at bats, scoring 46 runs with 18 doubles, 14 homeruns and 35 RBI. Senior Morgan Geno has a .366 batting average with 52 hits, six doubles, 19 homeruns and a team-leading .505 on-base percentage and holds the all-time record in runs batted in. Meanwhile, senior Alex Day is batting .331 with 49 hits, five doubles, one triple and 10 homeruns and freshman Charlee Pond is batting .324 with 36 hits, two doubles, four triples and four homeruns.
In the circle, the Bobcats have a 3.39 team ERA. In 330.1 innings pitched, Ohio has allowed 160 earned runs on 316 hits and has struck out 263 batters, while opponents are hitting .244 against them.
Individually, junior Kendall Meeks is 2-2 overall with a 2.12 ERA. In 10 games, she has allowed 10 earned runs, walked six and struck out 20 and is coming off of her first career complete game shutout last weekend at Buffalo. Sophomore Madi McCrady is next with a 3.31 ERA in 196.2 innings, allowing 93 earned runs and striking out 185 batters.
LAST TIME OUT
The Bobcats are coming off of a three-game season sweep of Buffalo during the final weekend of the regular season.
LAST TIME VS. BALL STATE
The Bobcats and Ball State last met April 8-9, 2017, where the Cardinals won the three-game series taking two out of three games. Ball State won the first two games by the final of 3-2, while the Bobcats took the final game of the series, also by the final of 3-2.
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 19. She also already has 59 RBI, which is one 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 41. Geno needs seven homeruns to tie and eight to pass Gellerman's career mark of 48. Geno also needs seven to tie and eight to pass Gellerman's single season mark of 26.
ALL MAC HONORS
Four members earned MAC postseason awards. Senior Alex Day and sophomore Katie Yun both earned a spot on the All-MAC First team, while senior Morgan Geno earned a spot on the All-MAC Second team. It is the fourth time for Geno, third time for Day and first time for Yun earning a spot on the All-MAC teams.
OHIO AND THE RECORD BOOK
This season has seen the Bobcats rewrite the record book on the offensive side.
As a team, Ohio has recorded 248 RBI, which is second most in program history. Ohio only needs eight more to set a new mark. The Bobcats have also hit 66 homeruns, which is also second-most in program history.
Sophomore Katie Yun has been quietly rewriting the individual hitting records. Yun already set a new mark in single season hits with 74, passing Jen Morris' 73 that was set in 1998. Currently she is third all-time in Ohio history with 18 doubles. She needs one more to be second and five more to jump to the top spot. She also has 14 homeruns, which is fourth in program history. With her 46 runs scored this season, she is third all-time. Yun only needs one more to move into second and three more to move into first.
Meanwhile, senior Morgan Geno currently sits with 59 RBI and is one away from setting the single season RBI mark. Geno's 19 homeruns are also the second most in a single season
OHIO IN THE NCAA
Ohio ranks in the top-100 in a number of offensive categories in the NCAA. The Bobcats are 49th in batting average (.297), 43rdin scoring (5.5), 12th in homeruns per game (1.32), 23rdin triples per game (0.28), and 30thin slugging percentage (.500).
Individually, Morgan Geno is 10th in the nation in RBI, 11thin homeruns, 26thin slugging percentage, 22ndin walks, and 10th in homeruns per game (0.38). Geno is also 38th in total bases and 41stin on base percentage.
Katie Yun ranks in the top-100 in a number of categories as well. Yun is seventh in hits, 57thin homeruns per game (0.28), 25th in doubles per game (0.36), 54thin slugging percentage, ninth in total bases (136) and 43rdin homeruns. Yun is also 15th in doubles and 61stin batting average.
OHIO IN THE MAC
The Bobcats are leading the MAC in batting average (.297) and third in ERA (3.39). Ohio is also leading the MAC in hits (416), slugging percentage (.500), triples (14), homeruns (66), total bases (700) and at bats (1,400).
Katie Yun is second in the conference in batting average (.407), first in hits (74), runs scored (46) at bats (182), second in homeruns (14), second in doubles (18), and second in slugging percentage (.747). Morgan Geno is first in slugging percentage (.810), in on base percentage (.505), ninth in hits (52), first in RBI (59) and first in homeruns (19).
Madi McCrady is first in innings pitched (196.2), fourth in strikeouts (185) and first in wins (20).
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 will take on either No. 2 Kent State or No. 7 Toledo on Thursday, May 9. The winner's bracket game will take place at 3:30 p.m., while the loser's bracket game will be played at 6 p.m.