MAC Preview: Offensive Output Carries Ohio Softball Into Conference Play

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During their 2012 campaign, the Ohio Bobcats posted a 14-21 record against non-conference opponents. When the Bobcats took the field against their familiar foes from the Mid-American Conference, it was an entirely different story; Coach Jodi Hermanek’s squad rolled through their conference, finishing with a record of 14-8.

A key part of their success was the rise in their offensive output. The Bobcats averaged 5.8 runs per game when facing MAC foes while only chalking up 4.7 runs per game against out-of-conference opponents.

Head Coach Jodi Hermanek expects her squad to work even harder in preparation for MAC opponents this season. For them, it’s about pride.

“(Playing hard) is what’s going to take us one step further in this program’s history, and that’s what we want to work for … We’re playing to be the best team standing in the MAC.”

With a 15-10 record so far, the Bobcats have outscored opponents by nearly five runs per contest in their victories. The offensive surge has been led in part by senior slugger Lauren Gellerman. The San Diego native has recorded 25 RBIs and 10 home runs on the year.

Despite the importance of playing well within the MAC, Gellerman does not expect the team to change its routine whatsoever.

“We all want to keep the consistent offense that we’ve been (playing,)” Gellerman said.

With a contest against rival Kent State (9-11) looming, Gellerman stressed the importance of starting out MAC play strong.

“It’s always a good to get a strong start just to get confidence going through all of the games we play in the MAC,” Gellerman said.

Junior Raven King understands the importance of going into play with a high sense of confidence.

“We love to beat up on Kent” King said confidently,” We need to let people know right away that we’re Ohio and we’re the best team in the MAC … it’s definitely an intimidation factor; we need to set them straight.”

With MAC play beginning, the Bobcats won’t find themselves traveling nearly as much. Out of 25 games this season, 21 have been on the road or at a neutral site. The Bobcats have logged over 6,000 miles over a span of nearly two months.

With 14 out of their final 28 regular season games at home, and MAC tournament games only a few hours away in Akron. Gellerman is looking forward to enjoying a home field advantage.

“It’s more fun to play at home and have a lot of support off the field as well,” Gellerman said.

Hermanek said the team and the field are more than ready for the second half of the season.

“To be able to be here and practice longer and not travel as much is a big load off of us,” Hermanek said, “We’re ready for us to get out to our home field and get some wins out of it.”

Due to field conditions at Kent State, the Bobcats’ Friday doubleheader against the Golden Flashes has been moved to Buckeye Field on the campus of Ohio State University starting at 1 p.m. The Bobcats then finish off the weekend with two games at Buffalo on Saturday and Sunday.

Ohio hosts its first MAC matchup against Miami (OH) on April 12.


Mid-American Conference at a glance

Eastern Division

Akron Zips: (11-12)

Head Coach: Julie Jones (Seventh Season)

2012 Record: 24-29-1 (8-14 in the MAC)

Last MAC Tournament Title: None (Regular season East Division champs in 2002)

Key Returning Players: Rachael Ratcliffe, 1B, So. (Five home runs in 2013), Jessica Schneider, C, Jr. (12 RBIs in 2013)

Freshman to look out for: Shawna Hochstetler, 3B (.347 BA, leads team)

Bowling Green Falcons (12-8)

Head Coach: Shannon Salsburg (Seventh Season)

2012 Record: 36-22 (15-7 in the MAC)

Last MAC Tournament Title: 2004

Key Returning Players: Hannah Fulk, INF, Sr. (15 home runs in 2012), Paris Imholz, P, So. (1.81 ERA in 2012)

Freshman to look out for:  Andrea Arney, INF (.243 BA, five RBIs)

Buffalo Bulls (5-17)

Head Coach: Jennifer Teague (Fifth season)

2012 Record: 14-31 (4-17 in the MAC)

Last MAC Tournament Title: None

Key Returning Players: Sammi Gallardo, INF, Jr. (Three home runs in 2013), Alexis Curtiss, C, So. (24 hits in 2013)

Freshman to look out for: Annisa Pinedo, INF (.213 BA in 2013, leads all freshmen)

Kent State Golden Flashes (9-11)

Head Coach: Karen Linder (17th Season)

2012 Record: 27-30 (11-11 in the MAC)

Last MAC Tournament Title: 2008

Key Returning Players: Dani Ramos, OF, So. (.317 BA, 19 hits in 2013), Emma Johnson, P, So. (1.87 ERA in2013)

Freshman to look out for: Shelbi Tilton, UTL (.264 BA, 14 hits)

Miami (OH) Redhawks (4-18)

Head Coach: Clarisa Crowell (First season)

2012 Record: 41-19 (17-7 in the MAC)

Last MAC Tournament Title: 2012

Key Returning Players: Kayla Ledbetter, C, Jr. (15 RBIs in 2013, Second team All-MAC in 2012), Allie Larrabee, 1B, Jr. (MAC East Player of the Week on February 14)

Freshman to look out for: Taylor Shuey, OF (.258 BA, 5 RBIs)

Ohio Bobcats (15-10)

Head Coach: Jodi Hermanek

2012 Record: 28-29 (14-8 in the MAC)

Last MAC Tournament Title: 1995

Key returning players: Lauren Gellerman, C, Sr. (First team All-MAC in 2012, 10 home runs in 2013), Caitlin Colvin, INF, Sr. (12 home runs, 25 RBIs in 2013)

Freshman to look out for: Savannah Jo Dorsey, P (7-5 record, 83 strikeouts)

Western Division

Ball State Cardinals (14-10)

Head Coach: Craig Nicholson (Seventh season)

2012 Record: 40-15 (17-3 in the MAC)

Last MAC Tournament Title: 2010

Key Returning Players: Jennifer Gilbert, OF, Jr. (2012 MAC Player of the Year, holds BSU single-season record in seven offensive statistical categories), Hanne Stuedemann, OF, So. (Second team All-MAC in 2012, 22 RBIs in 2013)

Freshman to look out for: Selena Reyna, SS (.334 slugging, 8 home runs)

Central Michigan Chippewas (12-10)

Head Coach: Margo Jonker (34th season)

2012 Record: 30-27 (12-12 in the MAC)

Last MAC Tournament Title: 2002

Key Returning Players: Summer Knoop, UTL, Sr. (.310 BA, 15 RBIS in 2013), CarolAnn Sexauer, SS, So. (.353 BA, three home runs in 2013)

Freshman to look out for: Trista Cox, INF (.361 slugging, eight RBIs)

Eastern Michigan Eagles (10-12)

Head Coach: Karen Baird (11th season)

2012 Record: 21-33 (7-15 in the MAC)

Last MAC Tournament Title: 2007

Key Returning Players: Nellie Coquillard, INF, Sr. (10 RBIs, three home runs in 2013), Amanda Herron, INF, So. (leads team with .352 BA in 2013)

Freshman to look out for: Mady Hosteller, OF (.280 on-base percentage, .900 fielding percentage)

Northern Illinois Huskies (10-17)

Head Coach: Christina Sutcliffe (First season)

2012 Record: 19-34 (7-15 in the MAC)

Last MAC Tournament Title: None (Regular season West division champs in 2000)

Key Returning Players: Shelby Miller, INF, Jr. (.576 slugging pct in 2012, 15 RBIs in 2013), Jessica Sturm, P, So. (2.66 ERA, 38 strikeouts in 2013)

Freshman to look out for: Murielle Vansach, OF (.318 on-base percentage, .976 fielding percentage)

Toledo Rockets (5-15)

Head Coach: Tarrah Beyster (Fourth Season)

2012 Record: 18-38 (8-14 in the MAC)

Last MAC Tournament Title: None (Regular season West division champs in 1992)

Key Returning Players: Lindsey Tobias, OF, Sr. (First team All-MAC outfielder in 2012, .283 BA in 2013), Courtney McCarthy, 1B, Sr. (.289 BA, nine RBIs in 2013)

Freshman to look out for: Jen Behunin, 3B (.378 slugging, eight RBIs)

Western Michigan Broncos (9-16)

Head Coach: Kathy Leitke (13th season)

2012 Record: 28-24 (11-9)

Last MAC Tournament Title: 2011

Key Returning Players: Becca Shemberger, P, So. (4.15 ERA, 59 strikeouts)

Freshmen to look out for: Melissa Palmer, UTL (.341 BA, leads team), Sabrina Gamboa, SS (4 home runs, 22 RBIs)