ATHENS, Ohio –The Ohio softball team (7-6) returns to action Fri., March 1 through Sun., March 3 when they travel to Durham, N.C. and Raleigh, N.C. to compete in the Duke/N.C. State Invitational. The combined invitational will see the Bobcats play three games on the campus of Duke and two on the campus of N.C. State.
On Friday, March 1, Ohio will take on Charleston Southern at 10 a.m.ET and Mississippi State at 1 p.m. ET. Play will continue on Saturday, March 2 when the Bobcats play Campbell at 10 a.m. ET and then Charleston Southern at 12:30 p.m. ET. The tournament will conclude on Sunday, March 3 at 12:30 p.m. ET when Ohio faces off against Duke.
SCOUTING CHARLESTON SOUTHERN
Charleston Southern opened their 2019 season at home on Feb. 7, 2019 when they hosted the Charleston Southern Willie Jewell Invitational, where they went 3-2.
The Buccaneers are currently 5-12 overall with a collective .255 batting average, .338 on-base percentage and a .337 slugging percentage. Leading the way is senior Jade Gandara. Gandara currently has a .367 batting average with 13 RBI, one homerun and three triples. Right behind her with a .350 batting average is junior Summer Moore. In 40 at-bats, Moore has 14 hits, one double and six RBI.
In the circle for Charleston Southern is senior Arizona Pilgrim. In 12 appearances and 54.2 innings pitched, Pilgrim has and ERA of 3.71, pitched four complete games and struck out 43 batters. Also pitching for the Buccaneers is Junior Holly Clark. Clark currently has two wins, one complete game and has struck out 13 batters.
SCOUTING MISSISSIPPI STATE
The Bulldogs opened their season at home with the Bulldog Kickoff Classic on Feb. 8, 2019. They went 4-1 on the weekend, highlighted by a 10-0, five-inning victory over Valparaiso on Saturday, February 9.
Mississippi State is currently 12-4 overall and are coming off of a mid-week victory against Mephis, where the Bulldogs won, 10-7. As a team, the Bulldogs have scored 94 runs, hit 23 homeruns, 89 RBI, and have a .305 batting average. At the head of the pack, with a .526 batting average, is sophomore Mia Davidson. In 38 at bats, Davidson has hit 10 homeruns, 24 RBI and has a 1.342 slugging percentage.
In the circle for the Bulldogs is junior Alyssa Loza. In 33.2 innings pitched, Loza has a 1.66 ERA, four wins and three complete games. Also pitching for Mississippi State is sophomore Emily Williams. She currently has a 2.81 ERA, struck out 50 batters and four wins.
Campbell opened their 2019 season at the Cowgirl Classic in Lake Charles, Louisiana, where they went 1-4 for the weekend The Camels are currently 4-10 overall. As a team, they have a .252 batting average, a .666 on-base percentage and have scored 57 times.
Currently leading the team is junior Kynadi Tipler. Tipler has a .333 batting average and a .844 on-base percentage. She's scored twice and hit four doubles. Just behind Tipler is sophomore Bri Bryant with a .326 batting average. Byant has hit two doubles, five RBI and scored seven times.
Pitching for the Camels is junior Megan Richards. In 41.2 innings pitched, she's pitched three complete games and one shutout. Richards has struck out 24 batters and walked 16.
The Camels took on Ohio earlier this season at the Gamecock Invitational. There, they fell 4-3, after Ohio freshman Caroline Spacek (Beaumont, Texas) hit a walk-off RBI double.
The Blue Devils opened their season at the Puerto Vallarta College Challenge on Thursday, Feb. 7. There, they went 3-2. Overall, Duke is 6-10 after falling to USC Upstate on Feb. 27.
As a team, the Blue Devils have a .222 batting average. They have hit 18 doubles, 29 RBI and have a .333 slugging percentage.
Freshman Deja Davis has a .278 batting average. In 15 games, she's had 54 at bats, 15 hits and walked twice. Also at the top of the pack is sophomore Jameson Kavel. Kavel has a .280 batting average, has hit three doubles, two triples and has a .480 slugging percentage.
In the circle for the Blue Devils is freshman Shelby Walters. She leads the pitching staff with a 2.06 ERA. In 34 innings pitched, Walters has pitched three complete games, struck out 29 batters, walked nine and given up 12 runs.
The Bobcats are 7-6 overall entering the fourth weekend of play.
Offensively, the Bobcats are hitting .281 as a team, scoring a total of 52 runs with 102 hits, 16 doubles, three triples and five homeruns. They've also registered 46 RBI and have a team slugging percentage of .383. The Bobcats also have a .354 on base percentage, while drawing 34 walks.
Individually, sophomore Allie Englant leading the Bobcats, batting .462 with 12 hits in 26 at bats, scoring six runs with one triple and three RBI. Meanwhile, sophomore Katie Yun is batting .383 with 16 hits, five doubles, one homerun, nine RBI and a .553 slugging percentage. Senior Morgan Geno next with a .350 batting average, with 14 hits, two doubles, two homeruns, including a grand slam, and 13 RBI, with a .550 slugging percentage. Senior Natalie Alvarez is hitting .325 with 13 hits, three doubles and a .400 on base percentage.
In the circle, the Bobcats have a 3.57 team ERA. In 84.1 innings pitched, the Bobcats have allowed 43 earned runs on 80 hits and have struck out 62 batters, while opponents are hitting .237 against them.
Individually, freshman Mackensie Kohl started her career off strong, with a 3-2 record and one save, while recording a 2.26 ERA in eight appearances with five starts and four complete games. She's allowed 14 earned runs on 42 hits in 43.1 innings, while striking out 27. Sophomore Madi McCrady is next with a 3.94 ERA in 37.1 innings, allowing 21 runs and striking out 31.
The Bobcats are coming off of an 8-0 loss at Marshall on Feb. 27.
Prior to the Bobcats trip to Huntington, Ohio spent last weekend in Carbondale, Ill. where the Bobcats opened play with Southern Illinois, falling 4-0. Ohio came back laster in the day, defeating Evansville, 5-0, before closing out the weekend with a 2-1 defeat at the hands of SIU.
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 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.
Up next, the Bobcats will travel to Los Angeles, Calif. for the UCLA/Long Beach State Invite. On Fri., March 8, Ohio faces off against BYU at 2:30 ET and Robert Morris at 7:30 p.m. ET. On Saturday, the Bobcats will play San Diego State at 12 p.m. ET and Long Beach State at 5 p.m. ET. Ohio ends the weekend on Sunday at 12 p.m. ET when they play Liberty.