MAC Softball Tournament Preview

By
Brad Friedman

Dateline
Updated Tue, May 7, 2013 4:39 pm
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Photo Credit: 
Kate Hiller
Ohio's Lauren Gellerman steps into the batter's box in game one against Ohio State. The senior had three home runs in the doubleheader against the Buckeyes on Tuesday.

For seventh year in a row, the Ohio Bobcats (26-27, 9-13) will be making their way to Akron for the Mid-American Conference Tournament. The sixth-seeded Bobcats will take on No. 7 Bowling Green Wednesday at 1:30 p.m

Ohio struggled against elite teams from the MAC, recording 4-10 this season against the other seven teams in the tournament field.

The Bobcats also face a difficult road to the championship game; the three teams they must beat, Bowling Green, Central Michigan and Kent State, have a combined record of 82-59.

However, none of those teams have Lauren Gellerman. The senior ranks second in the nation with 24 home runs, and her slugging percentage of 0.963 puts her in fourth place in the NCAA.

Should the Bobcats fall to Bowling Green Wednesday, they would have to defeat the winner of Northern Illinois and Miami/Toledo to stay alive.

 

A look at the field:

1. Ball State Cardinals (35-15, 18-3)

2012 Tournament Result: 1-seed; eliminated by Miami (OH) 4-1

Team ERA: 2.81

The good news: Reigning MAC player of the year Jennifer Gilbert dominated opposing pitchers this year, blasting 21 home runs and posting a batting average of 0.451 on the year. In addition to their offensive success, Cardinal pitcher have struck out 210 batters while only recording 120 walks.

The bad news: Every team is looking to exact revenge on the Cardinals with Miami (OH) being the only tournament team that handed them a loss during the regular season.

2. Kent State Golden Flashes (27-19, 16-6)

2012 Tournament Result: 7-seed; eliminated by Miami (OH) 5-1.

Team ERA: 2.75

The good news: The Golden Flashes are coming into the tournament having won seven out of their last ten conference games, with their average margin of defeat being only two runs. Kent State’s offense has also been balanced, with five players recording over 13 RBIs this season.

The bad news: The Golden Flashes only posted a 2-4 record against top seeds Ball State, Central Michigan and Northern Illinois. In addition, sophomore Kim Kirkpatrick is the only player to have recorded a batter average of over 0.300.

3. Central Michigan Chippewas (29-18, 15-7)

2012 Tournament Result: 6-seed; lost to Miami (OH) 4-0 in championship game.

Team ERA: 2.77

The good news: A team of mostly upperclassmen has MAC championship game experience and will look to return to the title game. Two of those upperclassmen, junior Chelsea Sunberg and  senior Kara Dornbos, struck out 160 batters while holding opposing batters to a .0.237 batting average.

The bad news: The Chippewas stumbled down the final stretch, dropping six out of their last 10 games. Four of those losses have come at the hands of tournament teams Ball State, Miami (OH) and Ohio.

4. Northern Illinois Huskies (24-29, 14-8)

2012 Tournament Result: Not in tournament

Team ERA: 3.34

The good news: In their last 10 conference games, the Huskies posted a record of 9-1. During the season, Jennifer Barnett led the team with a 0.359 batting average and 35 RBIs.

The bad news: The Huskies committed 77 fielding errors on the year. In addition to their defensive woes, the team only hit 29 long balls this year with junior Ashley Kopp leading the way with 7.

5. Miami (OH) RedHawks (19-32, 12-10)

2012 Tournament Result: 2-seed; Tournament champions defeating C. Michigan 4-0.

Team ERA:  4.38

The good news: The Redhawks went 2-0 against their opening round opponent Toledo. Should Miami win, they would face a Northern Illinois squad who they also defeated twice.

The bad news: Miami dropped seven out of their last 10 conference matchups, including two to an inferior Eastern Michigan squad. Opposing batters also have a batting average of 0.321 against Redhawk pitchers.

6. Ohio Bobcats (26-27, 9-13)

2012 Tournament Result: 4-seed; eliminated by Kent State 9-5.

Team ERA: 4.05

The good news: Aside from Gellerman’s success at the plate, Caitlin Colvin and Adrienne Gebele hit 29 home runs between them. On the mound, freshman Savannah Jo Dorsey also stepped up for the Bobcats, posting a record of 14-9 and recording 176 strike outs.

The bad news: Ohio’s offense showed some inconsistencies at times, scoring one or no runs in eight conference games this season. The Bobcats also went 6-22 in games where they trailed after the fourth inning.

7. Bowling Green Falcons (26-22, 9-13)

2012 Tournament Result: 3-seed; eliminated by Ball State 3-2.

Team ERA: 2.09

The good news: Pitchers Paris Imholz, ERA of 1.76, and Jamies Kertes, ERA of 2.17, dominated opposing batters, forcing an opposing batting average of 0.239 and recording 195 strikeouts. Katie Yoho and Paige Berger led the team with 28 and 21 RBIs respectively.

The bad news: The Falcons went 2-8 against tournament teams this season. Outside of Berger, Hannah Fulk and Erika Stratton, no Falcon hitter, with at least 50 at-bats, recorded a batting average above 0.240.

8. Toledo Rockets (16-34, 8-14)

2012 Tournament Results: 8-seed; eliminated by Bowling Green 5-0.

Team ERA: 5.02

The good news: Eight of their consistent starters recorded a batting average of at least 0.259, with four players batting above 0.300. Nine different players knocked in at least 10 RBIs, with senior Courtney McCarthy leading the team with 30.

The bad news: Rocket pitchers threw almost as many walks as they did strikeouts, 114-120. As for the offense, Toledo only hit 23 home runs on the season.

 

Miami (OH) and Toledo will get the action started at 11 a.m at Firestone Stadium, the venue for all tournament games. The tournament is a double-elimination format, meaning that teams have to lose twice in order to be sent home.

Fans can watch a live stream of every game by going to MAC-sports.com.

Championship Bracket

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