Ohio Softball Heads West for 2019 UCLA/Long Beach Invitational 

Ohio Softball Heads West for 2019 UCLA/Long Beach Invitational 

ATHENS, Ohio –The Ohio softball team (11-7) returns to action Friday, March 8 – Sunday, March 10 when they travel to Los Angeles, Calif. to compete in the UCLA/Long Beach Invitational.    

On Friday, March 8, Ohio will take on BYU at 2:30 p.m. ET before facing off against Robert Morris at 7:30 p.m. ET. On Saturday, March 9, the Bobcats will play San Diego State at 12 p.m. ET and Long Beach State at 5 p.m. ET. The tournament will conclude for Ohio on Sunday, March 10 when they take on Liberty at 12 p.m.

The Cougars are currently 7-9 on the season. As a team, they've hit 16 doubles, 17 homeruns and 60 RBI. In 340 at bats, Brigham Young has scored 63 times, has a .456 slugging percentage and a .351 on-base percentage with 43 walks. 

Last weekend, the Cougars traveled to San Diego, Calif. to compete in the San Diego Classic. There, they went 1-2, defeating Florida Gulf Coast 2-0 on Friday before their final two games of the weekend against Illinois Chicago and UC Davis were canceled. 

Leading BYU is junior Rylee Jensen with a .429 batting average. In 35 at bats, Jensen has scored 10 times, hit three doubles, four homeruns and 12 RBI. She also leads the team with a .857 slugging percentage and a .512 on-base percentage. Just behind her is senior Olivia Sanchez with a .375 batting average. Sanchez has nine hits on the season with one double and two homeruns. 

In the circle for the Cougars is sophomore Autumn Moffat with a 2.73 ERA in 29.2 innings pitched. Moffat has made seven appearances, started in four games and pitched two complete games. Junior Kerisa Viramontes is also contributing for Brigham Young with nine appearances, one complete game and one save. 

The Colonials are currently 3-10 overall. As a team, they have a .198 batting average; they've hit 11 doubles, one triple, nine homeruns, 40 RBI and scored 41 times. With 23 walks, they've fielded a .262 on-base percentage. 

Last weekend, Robert Morris headed to Lynchburg, Virginia where they competed in the Liberty Softball Classic, going 1-4 on the weekend. There, they downed Cleveland State 6-4. 

Leading the way for the Colonials is senior Abrielle McCartney with a .351 batting average and a .514 slugging percentage. McCartney has scored five times, hit two doubles, one homerun and 6 RBI. Just behind her is freshman Madison Shiderly. Shiderly has a .273 batting average; she's hit one homerun and four RBI. 

In the circle for Robert Morris is freshman Dana Vatakis with a 4.70 ERA. She currently has a 2-2 record with one complete game and six appearances. Also pitching for the Colonials is freshman Katie Gasvoda. Gasvoda has a 4.85 ERA in 17.1 innings pitched. 

The Aztecs are currently 10-9 overall. As a team, they currently have a .258 batting average. San Diego State has scored 71 runs, hit 21 doubles, one triple, three home runs, and 55 RBI. 

Last weekend, the Aztecs hosted the San Diego Classic, where they went 2-1 on the weekend, defeating Brigham Young and the University of Illinois-Chicago. They hosted a mid-week game against Florida Gulf Coast, losing 10-4 in five innings. 

Currently leading San Diego State is sophomore Kelsey Munoz. Munoz has started in all 19 games this season; in 58 at bats, she's hit two doubles, two homeruns and 11 RBI. Just behind her is senior Molly Sturdivant with a .309 batting average, 17 hits, four doubles and five RBI. Freshman Maddi Ayers is making a strong debut with seven hits, one double and two RBI in 19 at bats, giving her a .368 batting average. 

In the circle for San Diego State is junior Marissa Moreno. Moreno currently has a 3.65 ERA in 55.2 innings pitched. She's struck out 50 batters. Also contributing is junior Alicia Garcia; Garcia has made 11 appearances, started four times and struck out 14 batters. 

Long Beach State is currently 7-10 overall. As a team, they have a .290 batting average, 138 hits, 29 doubles and 16 homeruns. With 54 walks, Long Beach has an on-base percentage of .375. 

Last weekend, Long Beach traveled to San Diego for the San Diego Classic where they went 1-2 on the weekend. There, they defeated San Jose State 5-0. 

Leading the way for Long Beach is junior Sydney McCollum with a .350 batting average. In 40 at-bats, McCollum has 14 hits, two doubles and one homerun on the season. Sophomore Justine Briones is just behind her with a .333 batting average, 15 hits and 6 RBI. 

In the circle for Long Beach is junior Ashley Coleman. Coleman's ERA is 3.93; she's made 11 appearances, started eight times with one shutout and struck out 26 batters.  

The Flames are currently 13-6 overall. As a team, Liberty has a .297 batting average with a .455 slugging percentage. In 19 games, they've scored 95 runs, hit 27 doubles, eight triples and 11 homeruns. 

Last weekend, Liberty hosted the Liberty Softball Classic, where they went 5-0. They defeated Sacred Heart, Robert Morris, Cleveland State and Quinnipiac. 

Currently leading the team is junior Amber Bishop with a .419 batting average. In 62 at bats, Bishop has hit five doubles, five homeruns and eight RBI. She currently has a .742 slugging percentage. Also a big contributor is sophomore Alexis Erich. Erich has a .414 batting average, 12 hits and nine RBI on the season. 

In the circle for the Flames is senior Julia DiMartino with a 1.12 ERA and a 7-3 record. In 15 appearances, DiMartino has pitched four complete games, two shutouts and has two saves under her belt. Senior Chase Cassady is also having a good season, currently holding a 1.71 ERA, three wins and one shutout. In 32.2 innings pitched, she's struck out 42 batters. 

The Bobcats are 11-7 overall after the fifth weekend of action. 

Offensively, the Bobcats are hitting .283 as a team, scoring a total of 79 runs with 142 hits, 25 doubles, three triples and 13 homeruns. They've also registered 71 RBI and have a team slugging percentage of .423. The Bobcats also have a .360 on base percentage, while drawing 52 walks. 

Individually, sophomore Katie Yun is leading the Bobcats, batting .400 with 26 hits in 65 at bats, scoring 13 runs with seven doubles, two homeruns and 11 RBI. Sophomore Allie Englant next with a .366 batting average, with 15 hits, one triple, 10 runs scored and a team-leading .449 on-base percentage. Meanwhile, senior Natalie Alvarez is batting .357 with 20 hits, five doubles, six doubles, five RBI and a .464 slugging percentage. Senior Morgan Geno is hitting .321 with 18 hits, five homeruns and a .418 on base percentage. 

In the circle, the Bobcats have a 3.52 team ERA. In 119.1 innings pitched, Ohio has allowed 60 earned runs on 113 hits and has struck out 85 batters, while opponents are hitting .240 against them. 

Individually, freshman Mackensie Kohl started her career off strong, with a 5-2 record and one save, while recording a 2.68 ERA in 10 appearances with seven starts and four complete games. She's allowed 20 earned runs on 55 hits in 52.1 innings, while striking out 33. Sophomore Madi McCrady is next with a 3.42 ERA in 59.1 innings, allowing 30 runs and striking out 47.

The Ohio softball team roster supports four Bobcats form the state of California. Senior Natalie Alvarez and sophomore Allie Englant are both from the Long Beach area, while freshmen Charlee Pond (Redondo Beach, Calif.) and Mackensie Kohl (Corona Del Mar, Calif.) also hail from the Golden State. 

The Bobcats will also see a familiar face against Long Beach State in former Bobcat Jamie Wren. Wren was a member of the Bobcats from 2015-17 before returning to California to play in her home state. 

The Bobcats traveled to Durham, North Carolina to compete in the Duke/ N.C. State Invitational where they went 4-1 on the weekend. On Friday, Ohio opened the weekend with an 8-5 victory over Charleston Southern. Charleston Southern struck first in the top of the second, leading the game until freshman Charlee Pond hit a two-RBI double with two outs in the bottom of the third, tying up the game. After Charleston Southern put another two runs on the board in the top of the fifth, the Bobcats responded in the bottom of the inning by tying up the game again. After a solo homerun for Charleston Southern, senior Morgan Geno responded with a three-run homerun in the bottom of the sixth, pulling the Bobcats ahead one last time. 

In the second game of the day, Mississippi State pulled ahead in the top of the first with an RBI single before Pond tied up the game by scoring on a wild pitch. Sophomore Katie Yun scored in the bottom of the third before Mississippi State reclaimed the lead in the top of the fourth off of a two-RBI double. Due to rain, the game was postponed in the bottom of the fifth and was picked up again on Saturday at 6 p.m. ET. After resuming the game, Mississippi State extended their lead to 4-2 in the top of the sixth before Pond hit a solo homerun in the bottom of the sixth and then Geno hit a walk-off two-run homerun in the bottom of the seventh to defeat Mississippi State 5-4. 

The Bobcats opened Saturday with a 9-6 victory over Campbell. Campbell pulled ahead quickly, scoring four of their runs in the first two innings. They added another two to their lead in the bottom of the fifth. Yun put the Bobcats on the board in top of the sixth with a solo homerun. After holding Campbell in the bottom of the sixth, Ohio rallied and scored eight runs in the top of the seventh.

In their next game, the Bobcats scored their first run against Charleston Southern in the top of the first inning. Charleston Southern tied up the game in the bottom of the first and the game remained even through the bottom of the seventh, forcing the game into extra innings. In the top of the eighth, Geno smacked a two-run homerun before Pond followed up with another homerun, putting the Bobcats up 4-1. Charleston Southern put two more runs on the board, but were unable to tie-up the game again. 

On Sunday, Ohio fell to Duke 2-1. Senior Deanna Cole scored the Bobcats' sole run of the game with a solo-homerun in the top of the second inning. Duke tied up the game in the bottom of the third before taking the lead in the bottom of the sixth. 

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. 

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.

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 EnglantBrooke Rice and Madi McCrady, juniors Desirae VillanuevaAlexa Holland, and Kendall Meeks, and seniors MacKenzie BrunswickDeanna Cole and Natalie Alvarez.  

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. 

On Friday, March 15, the Bobcats will travel to Bloomington, Ind. for the Hoosier Classic. On Friday, they will take on Indiana at 6:30 p.m. ET. On Saturday, they will take on St. Francis at 6:30 p.m. ET. On Sunday, play will conclude at 2:30 p.m. when Ohio faces off against Indiana for the second time.