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The Ohio softball team cheers on their teammates against Buffalo in Athens, Ohio on Sunday, April 6, 2014. Ohio won 6-3. 

Ohio faces toughest competition all season at UT-Chattanooga Frost Classic

The Bobcats will play high caliber teams Purdue and Chattanooga at their first tournament after the cancelled Western Kentucky trip.

After having no games last weekend because of winter weather, Ohio will resume play this weekend at the Tennessee Chattanooga Frost Classic.

After having last weekend away from competition, coach Jodi Hermanek said the Bobcats took advantage of the time with additional drills and practices.

“We used it to compete against each other,” Hermanek said. “We were trying to reenact if we were playing the games.”

It could be beneficial that Ohio (4-4) had the extra practice time because the games it plays this weekend are among the toughest all season.

Two teams the Bobcats play this weekend are in the midst of hot streaks.

Purdue (10-5) after losing its first four games, has won 10 out of its last 11 and beat No. 24-ranked Texas A&M.

The Boilermakers, as a team, are pitching with a stellar 1.67 ERA. Lilly Fecho, a junior, has started the season pitching under one at 0.88 and opponents are batting a sub-.200 average.

Purdue is an offensive threat as well. Senior infielder Ashley Burkhardt has played in all of Purdue’s 15 games and already has 21 runs batted in, while has gotten a hit nearly half the time she’s been at the plate. Burkhardt is also a threat on the bases. Out of 12 stealing attempts, she has been successful all 12.

Another game that might give the Bobcat’s difficulty is the hosting team, Tennessee-Chattanooga, which is riding a six-game winning streak and has an overall record of 11-4.

The Mocs are a strong offensive team. On their roster, four players who have played in all 15 games have hit for a high average. Those four players’ also have have on base percentages over .420.

Leading the way for the Mocs is Sam Taylor, who is hitting .440 and holds an on base percentage of .500 percent.

Ohio knows what competition is ahead of itself and has taken preparations.

“We have to be on the mindset of we need to attack the pitcher,” Hermanek said. “We need to keep the game simple and not allow things to accumulate.”

Other games the Bobcats will play this weekend are a rematch against Tennessee Tech on Friday, then against Belmont and South Dakota on Saturday.

With eight games under their belt, Hermanek says the Bobcats are beginning to see the team’s strengths.

“Offensively we’ve figure out the timely hitting,” Hermanek said. “Defensively we’ve played more sound than with errors.”

jr096012@ohio.edu

@jordanbrandall

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