It’s shaping up to be quite the season for Emily Wethington.
The senior pitcher, who broke a pair of school records last month, notched her 10th and 11th wins over the weekend against Akron to garner Mid-American Conference East Pitcher of the Week honors.
Over two games, Wethington (11-6) went 10 2/3 innings, surrendering only two runs on eight hits while striking out seven. This is the second time this season — and the third time in her
career — that she has received the honor.
Ohio coach Jodi Hermanek said that while she liked the seven strikeouts and two runs in the two-game sweep, there was one number that stood out to her.
“The most impressive thing for me is the 10 innings and zero walks,” Hermanek said. “That’s a big accomplishment as far as not just her, but the pitching and catching crew. [Catcher] Jordan [Paden] calls her own games for Emily — and our entire pitching staff — and I think that they both did a good job of forcing
batters to put the ball in play.”
Wethington has shouldered the pitching load for much of the season, as teammate Melissa Bonner has struggled with injuries and command.
Of Ohio’s 30 games this season, Wethington has started 18 — three fewer than her total from 2010.
A spark from the bottom:
Hermanek has made no secret that her team relies on small ball to be successful and to move runners into scoring position, often courtesy of a sacrifice bunt.
When center fielder Jillian Van Wagnen reaches first, the prerogative changes.
“We expect her to advance on a steal every time she gets on,” Hermanek said. “She knows that’s her role. She’s fun for me to get on base because it’s like a matter of when she’s going to go, what count we want to work and how we want to get her there and get her scored.”
Van Wagnen swiped her team-leading 15th base on Sunday, which is good for third place in the MAC. She has already surpassed her season total of 11 from last year and moved into a tie for third place all-time at Ohio with the steal.
Few free passes:
Ohio’s hitters are an aggressive bunch at the plate, and it’s a quality Hermanek said she values. But sometimes that aggression can work against them, causing batters to fall behind early in counts.
Whether it’s lack of discipline or the “hit first, ask questions later” philosophy, Ohio has struggled to draw walks on the season. Wethington and first baseman Raven King are the only Bobcats with double-digit walk totals on the season, and the team total of 64 is an unspectacular seventh in the MAC.
The conference leading Ball State Cardinals have a combined 120 bases on balls, nearly twice Ohio’s total.
But Hermanek said she isn’t too concerned about the lack of free passes as long as her team isn’t handing them out either.
“I haven’t thought about it once,” Hermanek said. “We have an aggressive hitting staff, and we believe that there are pitches out of the zone that they can hit with power. It’s just a matter of them making solid contact.”