Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
The Post - Athens, OH
The independent newspaper covering campus and community since 1911.
The Post
Ohio infielder Brenna Farmer (13) gets ready to bat against Northern Illinois at Ohio Softball Field in Athens, Apr. 7, 2024.

Softball: Ohio hosts Western Michigan in series with major postseason implications

Ohio (21-20, 9-7 Mid-American Conference) will welcome Western Michigan (22-17, 11-5 MAC) to Athens for its most pivotal series of the season. The teams are currently both in position to make the six-team MAC Tournament, but Ohio will be looking to move up in the standings, as it currently sits in fifth place, but a strong weekend can vault it up closer to the top. 

Earlier this week, Ohio split its doubleheader with Toledo, another team that is above it in the standings. Pitching was the main story in those games as both games were shutouts with one for each team. Ohio’s win in Game 2 was a dramatic one that saw it rally for 3 runs in the top of the seventh inning as it won 3-0. 

Series information: 

Opponent: Western Michigan

Location: Ohio Softball Field, Athens

Dates and times: Game 1 is at 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 20, Game 2 is 30 minutes after the conclusion of Game 1; Game 3 is at 12 p.m. on Sunday, April 21.

Live stats for Game 1 can be found here, stats for Game 2 are found here and Game 3’s state will be found here

Scouting Western Michigan: 

Head coach: Marlee Wilson, first season

Individual statistical leaders

Batting average: Riley Dittmar (.357)

Hits: Dittmar (40)

Runs: Dittmar (26)

Home runs: Megan Welsh (5)

RBI: Dittmar (26)

On-base percentage: Dittmar (.464)

Innings pitched: Rissa Bajusz (128.1)

ERA: Bajusz (1.91)

Strikeouts: Bajusz (180)


Western Michigan, under first-year Head Coach Marlee Wilson, boasts the best pitching staff in the MAC. Led by its ace, Rissa Bajusz, Western Michigan’s 2.91 team ERA is by far the lowest in the conference. Bajusz has put together a particularly strong season. She has earned MAC Pitcher of the Week twice this season after she was named Second Team All-MAC last year. Bajusz has racked up 180 strikeouts this season and opponents hit a mere .186 against her, both figures that lead the conference. She will likely match up with Ohio’s Skipp Miller at least once during the series. The two are at the top of the conference in complete games and innings pitched with Miller leading each category narrowly over Bajusz. 

The Broncos and Bobcats profile similarly offensively. The Bobcats have a .278 team batting average while the Broncos have a .280 mark. Neither team steals bases particularly well with them sitting at the bottom of the rankings in those categories. Additionally, the teams are both in the middle of the pack in terms of home runs. The indicator of who wins this series will likely be seen in which of the two teams can get to the other’s ace, whether that is Bajusz or Miller. 

Ohio on the up and up: 

Ohio has come a long way from its 1-6 start to MAC play. It has won eight of its last nine games against conference foes with the lone defeat coming earlier in the week against Toledo. Still, the job is far from finished for Ohio Head Coach Jenna Hall and her squad. With 11 games against the MAC remaining, nothing is remotely decided.

The recent improvement in Ohio’s offense has largely been a team effort. There has not been one player carrying the load of contributing at the plate, something that bodes well for the long-term aspirations of the team. However, Ohio was nearly idle last week, only playing a single game. Its seven-game winning streak was snapped and there was a lot of rust shown against Toledo for the first 13 innings of the doubleheader. Against a strong Western Michigan team, Ohio will need to bring a lot of focus and energy from the first pitch to the last over the course of the weekend. 


Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2016-2024 The Post, Athens OH