#37 Ohio State Softball 2021 Preview

Ohio State Buckeyes
Overall Rank: #37
Conference Rank: #5 Big Ten
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Ohio State has turned into a regular NCAA Tournament participant. For the first time in program history the Buckeyes have reached four straight NCAA Tournaments. In order to make it five straight, Coach Kelly Kovach Schoenly will have to fill some big holes, especially in the circle. Skylar Hayward is the most experienced pitcher back, but she threw just 14.1 innings as a sophomore in 2019. Sophomore Jessica Ross is the only other returning pitcher, but the Buckeyes also brought in James Madison transfer Payton Buresch. She was the CAA Rookie of the Year in 2018 and an All-CAA second-team honoree in 2019.
2019: 35-18, 17-6
2019 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Kelly Kovach Schoenly
Key Departed Players:
Lilli Piper, IF, .430 BA, 10 HR, 33 RBI, 18 SB
Emily Clark, C/IF, .383 BA, 12 HR, 54 RBI
Kallie Boren, IF, .259 BA, 4 HR, 22 RBI
Morgan Ray, P, 2.22 ERA, 18-10 W/L, 186.0 IP, 192 SO
Lauren Rice, P, 2.75 ERA, 16-4 W/L, 104.2 IP, 39 SO
Key Returning Players:
Ashley Prange, IF, .311 BA, 9 HR, 39 RBI
Niki Carver, UTL, .281 BA, 5 HR, 17 RBI
Kaitlyn Coffman, OF, .256 BA, 10 HR, 33 RBI
There are some big names to replace at the plate as well, most notably Lilli Piper who hit .430 with 10 homeruns, 33 RBIs and 18 stolen bases during her senior season. Ashley Prange could emerge as the team’s top hitter after batting .311 with 9 homeruns and 39 RBIs as a freshman. Niki Carver and Kaitlyn Coffman will add some more power to the lineup, but Ohio State needs to find some faces who will get on base. The team hit .296 last season, good enough to rank 45th in nation, but that may be difficult to replicate without Piper and Emily Clark in the lineup. There is plenty of unproven talent on the roster though who should be able to help. This is an Ohio State team that should take a step back in 2021, but it should not be a big enough step back to keep them out of the tournament.
Projected Postseason: NCAA Softball Tournament