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It is hard to believe but the Softball season is nearly half way completed. We have finished the first segment of the schedule which is primarily weekend tournaments. The second segment of the schedule is the home series with Kent State then the start of the Big Ten Season.
We are currently 22-3 with loses to #1 Florida (twice) and #22 ASU. We are 7-3 over ranked teams, with wins against #3 Alabama (twice), #6 Florida State (twice), #9 Baylor and #21 ASU (twice).
We are ranked #3 this week in the Coaches Poll although we are tied with LSU, who are undefeated along with #1 Florida. Florida remained #1, and Oregon remained #2. We dropped to #4 in the USA Softball poll primarily due to the loss to ASU this past weekend.
Here are some of the team statistics and the national rank (in parentheses)
Batting Average: .345 (20th)
Home runs per game: 1.76 HR/G (4th)
OB %: .448 (13th)
Runs per game: 7.84 (15th)
Slugging %: .619 (5th)
Team ERA: 1.62 (10th)
One area of the game that we are certainly down as compared with previous years is overall team speed. We do not rank high in any of the typical "speed" catagories such as stolen bases, double per game and triples per game. This is a departure for Coach Hutch as she has always had great overall team speed. However, with the offense we have, the team speed is not as important because the timely hitting does enough damage.
We have a player that rank nationally in some important categories. Romo ranks in the top of 6 categories (10 games min).
B/A: 545 (6th)
Slugging %: 1.109% (4th)
OB %: .705 (2nd)
RBIs: 30 (20th)
Runs/game: 1.28 (8th)
HRs: 9 (T-6th)
As you can see, our offense is centered around Romo. The good thing is our 4, 5 and 6 hitters are good enough to bring her in as evidenced by Romo's Runs/Game statistic. If opposing teams choose to pitch to her, great. She will handle her business. If they choose to walk her, great. We have hitters behind her to bring her in.
I just hope more people realize what a very special player we have in Romo. We have not seen the likes of her in over a decade.
In the Individual pitching catagories, we have players in the following:
Ks per 7 innings (10 App min): Megan; 8.5 (32nd)
ERA (20 Inns min): Sara; .78 (9th)
BB per 7 Innings (10 App min): Haylie; 1.24 (17th)
It is great to see all three pitchers rank nationally. This is our core moving into the Big Ten season. Our bats will not be hot in every single game; however, we have 3 awsome pitchers that will keep us in games. This will lead to wins in tight games.
Overall a very good first half of the season. The first loss to Florida was tough to take, then the loss to ASU was heartbreaking. However, we had some very good wins that could have went the other way as well.
My prediction is we will lose one game each to Minny, Maryland and maybe PSU for a 27-3 second half record (20-3 B1G). This puts us at an overall record of 49-6. We will remain in the top 8 and host a Regional and then the Super Regional.
My prediction for the Regional (#3 Seed): Central Michigan (MAC Champ), Notre Dame (ACC Runner Up) and my dark-horse for Champion of the Horizon League: Oakland University.
The Super Regional will be at Alumni Field against La-Lafayette (#14 Seed).