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The Ohio University softball team celebrates at the game against Toledo at Ohio Softball Field on April 25, 2023, in Athens, Ohio.

Softball: Ohio looks to find consistency against Central Michigan

For a team projected to finish second in the Mid-American Conference Preseason Coaches Poll, Ohio (13-17, 1-5 MAC) has gotten off to a rough start in conference play. Last weekend, Ohio suffered a bitter series of losses against a historic rival in Miami when it was swept on the road. 

The series against Miami featured some of the highest combined scoring games of Ohio’s season, which Ohio coach Jenna Hall echoed as a bright spot and a sign of a potential turnaround.

“If you take our last Ball State game and then Miami, we played some really good softball,” Hall said. “Miami was a beast, and they’re quite a quality program, but I loved our offensive output.”

The Bobcats scored 26 total runs over their four-game stretch, giving reason for optimism despite a 1-3 record over that time. 

Now, Ohio has a chance to get back on track in a home series against MAC opponent Central Michigan. 

Series Information

Opponent: Central Michigan (5-18, 2-1 MAC)

Location: Ohio Softball Field (Athens)

Times: Friday at 3 p.m., Saturday at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.

Where to Watch: ESPN+

Meet the Opponent:

Statistical Leaders for Central Michigan 

Batting Average: Carly Sleeman (.311)

Hits: Sleeman (23)

Runs: Sleeman and Skylar Coberley (13)

Home Runs: Allyssa Hollo (3)

RBI: Sleeman (15)

Innings Pitched: Grace Lehto (52.1)

Strikeouts: Lehto (40)

ERA: Mackenzie Lehgan (3.12)

Central Michigan Notes

The Chippewas have not been the most impressive statistically throughout this season. Their record through their first 23 games speaks to their struggles. However, Central Michigan is on a two-game win streak in MAC play after besting a Northern Illinois team that has seen similar struggles. 

The Chippewas roster is not loaded like Miami or Ball State's. Still, they have shown they can be competitive in the MAC. 

Hall notes offensive consistency and limiting the number of batters they let on base as the keys to success against Central Michigan. Ohio struggled against Miami because of a lack of inning-to-inning consistency on offense, scoring most, if not all, of its runs in just a few innings. It also could not keep runners off bases or get them off once they were there.

“I think those two things will allow us to stay in control of the game and not feel like we're always fighting to pull it back to our side,” Hall said.

A Positive Outlook for Ohio

Despite the recent decline in winning percentage, Ohio firmly believes that winning will come and that the on-field product has been better than the record throughout the season.

“We don’t talk all about winning,” Hall said. “It's about how we're playing our game and how we're being consistent pitch to pitch and being present on what we do.”

While wins have been hard to come by early in MAC play, the team is optimistic they will come. 

“I think they (the players) see the turn we’ve been doing the last four,” Hall said. “I think that they're aware of it because that's the culture that we have."


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