Ohio will look to continue its nine-game winning streak as the team takes on Western Michigan in the second series of Mid-American Conference play.
The Bobcats are coming off a 3-0 start to MAC play after sweeping Toledo at Ohio Softball Field.
Despite carrying the conference’s best offense, pitching and defense, coach Jodi Hermanek was most impressed with her team’s will to win, which was illustrated as it came from behind to win every game in the Toledo series.
Hermanek knows Western Michigan will bring the same kind of aggression Toledo did, but as long as her team focuses on itself, it will be in good shape.
“We just have to focus on us,” Hermanek said. “The game plan is come out here and have quality at-bats, square up to the ball and pitching wise, just get in there and just attack them.”
Western Michigan (12-15) enters the weekend 0-3 in conference play, despite having the third best offense in the MAC with a .295 average and the fourth best pitching staff with a 2.68 ERA.
Kelsea Cichocki not only leads the Broncos in hitting, but also the MAC with a .512 batting average, 42 hits, 11 doubles, 32 RBIs.
While Cichocki's season is an impressive one so far, the Bobcats plan is to be smart, but not shy away from Cichocki's spot in the lineup because the Broncos have other players that could hurt Ohio.
“At the end of the day, we are not going to back down from anybody,” Hermanek said. “We are probably going to be a little more efficient or a little bit more throttled into a plan with her, but they obviously have some other contributors too.”
Ohio’s (22-6) answer for Western Michigan’s powerful offense is the stacked pitching staff that is led by Savannah Jo Dorsey. Dorsey leads the conference with a 13-3 record, a 1.28 ERA, 145 strikeouts and 12 complete games.
When Dorsey is not in the circle for Ohio, the task for opposing hitters does not get easier. Danielle Stiene is 7-2 (sixth best record in the MAC) with a 2.83 ERA, 85 strikeouts (fourth best in the MAC) and three shutouts (third best in the MAC).
The Bobcats' offense will look to back up the pitching staff and continue its impressive season. Lead-off hitter Taylor Saxton is setting the table for Ohio with a .338 with 14 stolen bases, and Morgan Geno is supplying the power. She leads the team in homers with five and RBIs with 24.
Ohio and Western Michigan will begin the weekend series Friday at 3 p.m. in Kalamazoo, Michigan.