COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio Dominican's softball team will travel to Hendersonville, Tennessee this weekend to begin its 2017 campaign with competition in the Music City Invitational, hosted by Trevecca Nazarene University.
ODU will face off against six different squads this weekend. On Friday, February 17, the Panthers will take on No. 16 Indianapolis at 3 p.m. EST/2 p.m. CST and Montevallo at 5 p.m. EST/4 p.m. CST. On Saturday, Ohio Dominican will face Truman at 1 p.m. EST/12 p.m. CST and Kentucky Wesleyan at 5 p.m. EST/4 p.m. CST. The Panthers will conclude competition in Hendersonville on Sunday with contests against McKendree at 11 a.m. EST/10 a.m. CST and Bellarmine at 1 p.m. EST/12 p.m. CST.
The Panthers are led this year by returning NFCA Third Team All-American, junior Taylor Kline (Bellville, Ohio), who was included on the NFCA Division II National Player of the Year watch list for the second-straight season. In 2016, Kline led the team in batting average (.446), on-base percentage (.489) and slugging percentage (.549). She led the GLIAC and ranked 15th in NCAA Division II in stolen bases (41) in 2016.
ODU returns key experience in the circle, with the squad's top three pitchers from last year all returning. Sophomore Abby Lamping (Cleves, Ohio) led the Panthers in wins (12), ERA (2.31) and innings pitched (154.2) in 2016. She is joined by junior Bailey Miller (Cincinnati, Ohio), who pitched 102.0 innings last season and led the team in strikeouts with 59. Senior Casey Murdoch (Morrow, Ohio) returns after making 18 appearances and five starts in 2016, recording 54 strikeouts, finishing with a 3.67 ERA while also hitting for a .284 average with two home runs. In addition to the returning pitchers for the Panthers, freshmen Taylor Farmer (Mt. Blanchard, Ohio) and Cameron Barber (Powell, Ohio) will also add depth in the circle for ODU.
Junior Liz Sutter (Mansfield, Ohio) returns to anchor the Panther outfield after posting a .262 batting average a season ago, along with 95 put outs.
Overall, the Panthers boast seven freshmen on the year's squad, also returning three sophomores, four juniors and two seniors.
The Greyhounds (3-2) are currently ranked No. 16 in NCAA Division II and are coming off three-straight victories after competing at the Falcon Frenzy in Montevallo, Alabama. Indianapolis fell in its first contest of the year to No. 1 North Alabama, 5-4. The Greyhounds finished last season with a record of 51-6, and are led by NFCA Division II National Player of the Year watch list member, senior Natalie Lalich. The Panthers fell to the Greyhounds three times last year, with Indianapolis escaping with a 5-4 victory in a closely contested game on February 28, 2016.
The Falcons (5-7) are led by First Team All-American Kelsey Vining, who finished as an NFCA National Player of the Year finalist a season ago. The Falcons are entering the Music City Invitational following a 10-4 win over West Alabama on Sunday.
About Truman State
The Bulldogs (1-3) were picked to finish fourth in the GLVC preseason coaches poll after finishing the 2016 season with a record of 30-20 overall. Truman is led by NFCA National Player of the Year watch list member, sophomore Christa Reisinger, who currently boasts a .667 batting average through four contests.
About Kentucky Wesleyan
The Panthers (1-3) were picked to finish second in the G-MAC preseason coaches poll and achieved a record of 26-22 last season. Kentucky Wesleyan is led by sophomore Meredith Daunhauer, who earned G-MAC freshman of the year honors in 2016 and has recorded four hits thus far in 2017.
The Bearcats (3-2) were picked to finish sixth in the GLVC preseason coaches poll and ended the 2016 season with an overall mark of 25-29. The Bearcats return two All-GLVC performers, senior Rachel Hastings and junior Brooke Gajewski. Hastings is batting .417 thus far and Gajewski boasts a slugging percentage of .615.
The Knights (5-3) posted an overall record of 33-26 in 2016 and were picked to finish fifth in the GLVC preseason coaches poll this season. Sophomore Megan Bretz leads the way for Bellarmine, batting .480 through the Knights' first eight contests of 2017.
Contact: Aaron McPherson