GRANVILLE, Ohio - After wrapping up the regular season with a 26-8 mark, Denison softball has earned the No. 2 seed in the 2018 North Coast Athletic Conference tournament, which will be played at top-seeded Wittenberg in Springfield, Ohio on May 4-5.
The Big Red's first matchup comes against third-seeded DePauw at 10 am on Friday, May 4. In the regular season, the Big Red split two games against the Tigers in Granville on April 26. DePauw took the first game 1-0, and the Big Red bounced back for a 5-4 win in game two.
In the other opening round game of the tournament, No. 1 Wittenberg will take on No. 4 Allegheny at 12 p.m. on Friday.
The Big Red has been a well-oiled machine on offense, hitting .347 as a team (including eight hitters with more than 50 at-bats hitting above .300) with a .407 on-base percentage and 23 home runs. All three marks were tops in the NCAC. In the circle, Denison led the NCAC in wins (24), ERA (2.40) and batting average against (.237).
Senior pitcher Sarah Herold finished the season amongst the NCAC's most honored players, three times being named the conference's pitcher of the week. In the circle, Herold sports an 11-4 record through 16 starts, including 14 complete games. Showing pinpoint control throughout the season, Herold has struck out 100 batters and walked only 16. At the plate, Herold is batting .358 with two home runs and 21 RBI.
First baseman/pitcher Lauren Secaras was also a force on both sides. The senior leads Denison in several offensive categories, hitting .433 with eight home runs and 34 RBIs en route to becoming Denison's all-time career RBI leader. Secaras boasts a .478 on-base percentage and is slugging .827, both of which were also team-highs. In the circle, Secaras is 4-1 in 14 appearances, with two saves.
Junior Colleen Hoffman is 9-3 in 13 starts, with four complete games. Hoffman has struck out 50 batters and allowed just a .231 batting average against. On April 21, Hoffman threw her first career no-hitter against Hiram.
Offensively, Emilie Fisher, Laura Bagan, and Amanda Howell are having strong seasons. Fisher is hitting .385 and leads the team with a .485 on-base percentage. Bagan has belted five home runs and is slugging .580, while Howell has blasted four home runs and leads the team with 35 RBIs.
Since the tournament's inception in 2001, Denison has claimed six NCAC Tournament championships, the most of any program. Denison has made 15 trips in the NCAC Tournament, which is also a conference record.