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Softball: Cardinal southpaws swarm Athens for weekend series

It has been difficult for the Bobcats to catch a break so far this quarter.

After a 10-day West Coast road trip over break, they were supposed to be back on the field with a doubleheader against Wright State Wednesday, but Mother Nature had other plans.

Instead, the Bobcats (11-13) will play their first games in six days when they host Ball State today for a doubleheader to begin the Mid-American Conference schedule. The Cardinals (19-13), the MAC West preseason favorite, boast a lineup full of left-handers led by senior shortstop Alicia Barkley, but Ohio coach Jodi Hermanek said that doesn’t necessarily hurt her team’s chances.

“We faced a Harvard team that likes to have a lot of lefties in their lineup as well and a few other teams throughout the year.” Hermanek said. “What we just need to do as a pitching staff is make sure that we make them hit our pitch.”

Hermanek said senior Emily Wethington, the program’s all-time strikeout leader, is expected to get at least one start against the 2010 MAC Tournament champions, but she hopes to be able to utilize southpaw Melissa Bonner.

“Emily is definitely going to start us off. She’s going to set the pace for us and we’ll see how it goes,” Hermanek said. “She’s definitely capable of throwing two games in a row, but we know we need the rest of our staff to win games.

“But Mel’s definitely going to get a chance to throw because I think she throws a lot of great pitches against a team with a lineup (that favors left-handers) like Ball State.”

The Bobcats have lost seven of their past eight heading into the league opener and for most, stopping the high-powered Ball State lineup would seem a daunting task. But Hermanek said her team is looking forward to hosting the cream of the MAC crop.

“We usually feel comfortable in our own territory — I think that’s what home-field advantage is all about,” she said. “It’s definitely a good thing that we have them early in our schedule and at home at our field.”


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