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Savannah Jo Dorsey pitches the ball during Ohio's game against Kentucky on March 29 at the Ohio University Women’s Softball Complex. 

Making a case: Ohio's Savannah Jo Dorsey should win MAC Pitcher of the Year

Savannah Jo Dorsey already has broken records and won awards this season, but she deserves another.

Ohio pitcher Savannah Jo Dorsey has returned from last year's season-ending back injury with a venom, taking her frustrations out on the poor, innocent stat sheets of opposing batters. 

Dorsey already has accrued a few awards and broken multiple records this year. But she is deserving of another honor: the Mid-American Conference Pitcher of the Year.

A two-horse race

Dorsey and Akron pitcher Erin Seiler are in the MAC's top five in every major pitching category. In fact, they are one and two in earned run average, innings pitched, strikeouts and wins. 

Not to discount the rest of the conference's pitchers, but those two's stat lines are far and away better than the rest of the competition. Barring injury or a historic rest of the season from a third party, the award should come down to Dorsey and Seiler.  

A deep dive into statistics

Here are each pitcher's standard statistics:

Dorsey: 158.1 innings pitched, 17-8, 1.77 ERA, 230:49 strikeout-to-walk-ratio.

Seiler: 164 innings pitched, 16-12, 1.66 ERA, 156:44 strikeout-to-walk-ratio.

On the surface, the numbers paint two very similar pictures. They are two aces who are heavily relied on, give up few runs and send people back to the dugout much more often than to first base.  

But if you dig further, Dorsey separates herself just enough. 

For starters, the numbers say the way those two contrast in how they get outs. Dorsey has struck out 74 more batters than Seiler in five and 2/3 fewer innings pitched, demonstrating a leg up on Seiler in sheer dominance over her opponents. 

To further that point, Dorsey's opponents only have managed to hit a frigid .160 (best in the conference) against her at the plate, compared to Seiler's .224 (fourth-best in the conference). Both numbers are impressive, but the fact is that Dorsey's opponents make contact against her considerably less than they do against Seiler.

Sure, Seiler's earned run average is lower than Dorsey's, but can we all agree to give the player who came off a season-ending injury a .11 ERA-sized benefit of the doubt? Dorsey has not only pitched against tougher teams, but she also has pitched against a higher volume of tough teams.

The best teams Seiler has faced are Eastern Kentucky (ranked 85th in RPI) and Dayton (105th in RPI). She pitched well (1.87 ERA), but she was unable to pick up wins against either in three chances and the sample size (15 innings pitched) is very small. 

On the other hand, Dorsey is 8-5 against teams ranked in the top 100 in the RPI with a 2.40 ERA in 67 innings pitched. That record includes a win over No. 13 Kentucky in a 1-0 pitcher's duel against Kelsey Nunley, who is ranked ninth in the country in ERA. 

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To be determined

There are still about four weeks left in the regular season, and the distinction between those two pitchers is not by a wide margin. So, the rest of the season will be crucial in determining the race for the award.

Akron actually will be in Athens this weekend for a three-game series in which Dorsey and Seiler will most likely start two games each. But, if the voting took place today, Dorsey would deserve the award.


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