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Ohio Softball Heads to CMU for Three Game Series with the Chippewas

Ohio Softball Heads to CMU for Three Game Series with the Chippewas

ATHENS, Ohio –The Ohio softball team (25-12, 6-2 MAC) returns to action this week, continuing Mid-American Conference play when the Bobcats head to Mt. Pleasant, Mich. April 5-6 to take on Central Michigan (13-18-1, 4-3-1 MAC). The series is set to start at 3 p.m. on Friday, followed by a doubleheader on Saturday, April 6 with games beginning at 1 p.m. 

Central Michigan is currently 13-18-1 overall and 4-3-1 in MAC play. As a team, the Chippewas are batting .283 with 179 hits, 31 doubles, three triples and 17 RBI. In 752 at-bats, Central Michigan has walked 60 times, giving them a .306 on-base percentage. The Chippewas are coming off of a double-header against Western Michigan where they fell in the first game, 5-12 ,before bouncing back to win the second game, 11-3. 

Leading the way with a .337 batting average in 83 at-bats for Central Michigan is sophomore Shaidan Knapp. Knapp has 28 hits, four doubles, one triple, one homerun and three RBI on the season, giving her a .446 slugging percentage. Also contributing is senior Erika Underwood, who is batting .321 and holds the team-high slugging percentage of .548. 

In the circle for the Chippewas is freshman Kaitlyn Bean. In 17 appearances, 10 starts and one complete game, Bean has a 2.79 ERA. She's given up 23 earned runs, walked 20 batters and struck out 40 batters in 57.2 innings.

The Bobcats are 25-12 overall and 6-2 in the MAC. 

Offensively, the Bobcats are hitting .310 as a team, scoring a total of 221 runs with 325 hits, 42 doubles, nine triples and 51 homeruns. They've also registered 198 RBI and have a team slugging percentage of .514. The Bobcats have a .397 on base percentage, while drawing 126 walks. 

Individually, sophomore Katie Yun is leading the Bobcats with a .420 batting average, 58 hits in 138 at bats, scoring 34 runs with 13 doubles, 11 homeruns and 26 RBI. Senior Morgan Geno has a .376 batting average with 41 hits, five doubles, 15 homeruns and a team-leading .507 on-base percentage and holds the all-time record in runs batted in. Meanwhile, senior Natalie Alvarez is batting .361 with 44 hits, eight doubles and five homeruns. Sophomore Allie Englant is hitting .339 with 38 hits and 27 runs scored. 

In the circle, the Bobcats have a 3.40 team ERA. In 247.1 innings pitched, Ohio has allowed 120 earned runs on 236 hits and has struck out 205 batters, while opponents are hitting .242 against them. 

Individually, freshman Mackensie Kohl started her career off strong, with an 9-3 record and one save, while recording a 2.76 ERA in 17 appearances with 13 starts and seven complete games. She's allowed 35 earned runs on 88 hits in 88.2 innings, while striking out 53. Sophomore Madi McCrady is next with a 3.36 ERA in 143.2 innings, allowing 69 earned runs and striking out 140 batters.

The Bobcats are coming off of a series split against Kent State earlier this week, falling to the Flashes, 2-1, in game one, before bouncing back to drop Kent State, 10-2 in five innings in the second game. 

The Bobcats and CMU last met on March 24, 2018 where they defeated the Chippewas 5-1, sweeping the weekend at the OSF. 

While the Bobcats saw their 22-game home winning streak come to an end last weekend, the Bobcats are still an impressive, 32-5 at the OSF in the last three seasons. 

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 15. She also already has 53 RBI, which is seven 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 37. Geno needs 11 homeruns to tie and 12 to pass Gellerman's career mark of 48. Geno also needs 9 to tie and 10 to pass Gellerman's single season mark of 26. 

In the last few weeks, the Bobcats have put up power number that haven't been seen since the 2013 season. 

In the last 15 games, Ohio is hitting .325 with 139 hits, 15 doubles, five triples, 35 homeruns and 110 RBI, while slugging as a team, .629. The Bobcats have also drawn 58 walks.

Katie Yun is hitting .475 during that time, with 28 hits, five doubles, nine homeruns and 20 runs scored, while Morgan Geno is hitting .415 with nine homeruns and 26 RBI. 

Ohio ranks in the top-100 in a number of offensive categories in the NCAA. The Bobcats are 30th in batting average (.310), 32ndin scoring (6.00), 18thin homeruns per game (1.31), 52ndin triples per game (0.26), and 26thin slugging percentage (.508). 

Individually, Morgan Geno is second in the nation in RBI, seventh in homeruns, 19th in slugging percentage, 31st in walks, and seventh in homeruns per game (0.43). Geno is also 12th in total bases and 49th in on base percentage. 

Katie Yun ranks in the top-100 in a number of categories as well. Yun is first in hits, 46th in homeruns per game (0.31), 60th in doubles per game (0.34), 54th in slugging percentage, second in total bases (101.0) and 22nd homeruns. Yun is also 17th in doubles and 37th in batting average. 

Natalie Alvarez is ranked 32ndin sacrifice flies, while Allie Englant is ranked 64th toughest to strike out. 

The Bobcats are leading the MAC in batting average (.310) and third in ERA (3.47). 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 second in the conference in batting average (.427), first hits (56), runs scored (33) at bats (131), second in homeruns (11), doubles (12), and third in slugging percentage (.771). Morgan Geno is first in slugging percentage (.865), second in on base percentage (.511), third in hits (56), first in RBI (52) and first in homeruns (15). Meanwhile, Natalie Alvarez is second in hits (43). 

Madi McCrady is first in innings pitched (137.2), first in complete games (15), eighth in opponent batting average (.227), first in strikeouts (134) and first in wins (16). Mackensie Kohl is sixth in innings pitched (82.1).

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 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. 

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.

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. 

Up next, the Bobcats return to the OSF for some midweek MAC play when they take on Kent State on Wednesday, April 10 at 2 p.m.