GRANVILLE, Ohio – Winners in nine of their last 11 games of the regular season, Denison softball enters the 2019 North Coast Athletic Conference Tournament as the No. 3 seed, which will be played at top-seeded DePauw University in Greencastle, Ind. on May 3-4.
Entering the tournament with an overall record of 20-12 and 11-5 in conference play, the Big Red's first matchup will come against second-seeded Wooster at 10 a.m. on Friday, May 3. In the regular season, Denison split two games with the Fighting Scots in Granville on April 13. Wooster took the first game 3-2 before the Big Red bounced back in game two with a 2-1 victory.
The second opening round contest will feature No. 1 DePauw against fourth-seeded Kenyon College at 12:30 p.m. on Friday.
The Big Red enter the weekend with one of the top offenses in the NCAC after posting a team batting average of .337 with 17 home runs, 162 RBIs, and a slugging percentage of .468. Denison has been just as successful in the pitching circle this season as they lead the conference with a 2.78 ERA and have allowed the fewest home runs amongst NCAC opponents (5).
Denison's offense is fueled by six different players who are hitting .300 or better (with 50 or more at-bats) for the season, including senior Brennah Dutcher who ranks in the top-10 in the conference in batting average (.409 – 3rd), home runs (5 – 5th), and runs batted in (24 – 9th).
The Big Red currently roster three of the top-10 home run hitters in the conference with Dutcher, Laura Bagan, and Amanda Howell, while junior Lindsey Clemson ranks top-five in the NCAC with 27 RBIs and 12 doubles. Emilie Fisher, a first-team All-NCAC selection in 2018, continues to bring consistency at the plate with a .387 batting average and the seventh-most runs scored in the conference at 27.
In the circle, the Big Red staff two of the best arms in the NCAC in senior Colleen Hoffman and junior Taryn Welch. Hoffman, who currently ranks fourth in the conference in wins (10) and ERA (2.28), ended the regular season with a pair of shutout efforts over Wittenberg and Allegheny while totaling eight strikeouts. Welch has been just as consistent for DU while posting a 9-6 record with a 2.64 earned run average and 79 strikeouts, which sits as the fifth-most in the conference.
Admission to the conference tournament will cost $7 for adults and $3 for children (18 and under). All students with an NCAC ID will be admitted free of charge. For anyone who can't attend, DePauw University will offer a live video broadcast and live stats for all games throughout the tournament.
Since the tournament's inception in 2001, Denison has claimed six NCAC Tournament championships, the most of any program. Denison has made 16 trips to the NCAC Tournament, which is also a conference record.