vs. Dayton [23-18, 10-4 A-10]
Lee R. Jackson Field • Akron, Ohio
DH on Wednesday, April 19 • 3 & 5 p.m.
Live Stats: www.GoZips.com
TV: ESPN3 [Dave Bacon (pbp), Scott Nixon (analyst)]
vs. Kent State [7-23, 7-8 MAC]
Lee R. Jackson Field • Akron, Ohio
Friday, April 21 • 3 p.m.
DH on Saturday, April 22 • 1 & 3 p.m.
STRIKEOUT CANCER • WAGON WHEEL CHALLENGE
Live Stats: www.GoZips.com
Akron closes out the home portion of its schedule. On Wednesday, April 19, the Zips host Dayton in a non-conference doubleheader, beginning at 3 p.m. at Lee R. Jackson Field. Both games will be televised live by ESPN3 online with Dave Bacon (play-by-play) and Scott Nixon (analyst) calling the action.
Over the weekend, Akron hosts rival Kent State in its Crystal Clinic Wagon Wheel Challenge series. A single game is scheduled for Friday, April 21, at 3 p.m., followed by a twinbill on Saturday, April 22, at 1 p.m. All games will be played at Lee R. Jackson Field. The games will be streamed live on GoZips.com with Scott Nixon (play-by-play) and coach Scott Scalf (analysis) calling the action.
Saturday's twinbill will be dedicated to StrikeOut Cancer, an initiative sponsored by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association(NFCA) and close to head coach Julie Jones' heart. UA will sell StrikeOut Cancer t-shirts to benefit coach's cousin Lisa Tripp, who has leukemia.
MEET THE ZIPS
The Akron Zips, under the guidance of 11th-year head coach Julie Jones, stand 19-22 overall and 8-7 in MAC play after winning two games against Ohio over the weekend. The Zips return 10 letterwinners, including four starters. UA welcomes four freshmen.
After 41 contests, junior OF Ashley Sims (Brooksville, Fla.), is the Zips' top hitter, batting .387 with 30 runs, 48 hits, and a MAC-best 35 stolen bases. Senior OF Savannah Fruin (Delray Beach, Fla.) follows at .319 with 36 RBI, 36 hits, eight doubles, a triple, and nine home runs.
In the circle, freshman lefty Lexie Handley (Mogadore, Ohio) has a 2.30 ERA. She stands 16-13 overall, throwing a MAC-high 176.1 innings with 156 strikeouts and 61 walks. Junior Kooper Vertz (Dilsboro, Ind.) is 2-2 overall with a 4.11 ERA. She has pitched 30.2 innings with 12 strikeouts and 12 walks.
The Flyers, under 10th-year head coach Cara LaPlaca, stand 23-18 overall and 10-4 in Atlantic 10 play after a three-game sweep at LaSalle over the weekend. Senior P Gabrielle Snyder is the leading hitter for Dayton, batting .418 with 56 hits, 32 runs, and 25 RBI. In the circle, junior Manda Cash has seen the most action, pitching 122.2 innings. She stands 13-8 overall with a 2.34 ERA, fanning 155 and walking 42 batters.
SERIES VS. DAYTON
Intra-state rivals Akron and Dayton have met 27 times since 1980 with the Zips holding a one-game series edge, 14-13. Last season in Dayton, the Flyers won both games of the twinbill, 5-0 and 1-0, to claim their seventh consecutive win over Akron. The last time the Zips beat Dayton was in 1992 with 4-0 and 4-2 victories in Dayton [there was a 15-year gap when the teams didn't compete against each other].
SCOUTING KENT STATE
The Golden Flashes, under first-year head coach Eric Oakley, stand 17-23 overall and 7-8 in MAC play after splitting with Miami (Ohio) over the weekend. Sophomore UT Bailey Brownfield is the leading hitter for Kent, batting .339 with 41 hits, 15 runs, and 12 RBI. In the circle, senior Ronnie Ladines has seen the most action, pitching 162.0 innings. She stands 9-13 overall with a 2.42 ERA, fanning 128 and walking 52 batters. KSU's mid-week doubleheader at Saint Francis (Pa.) has been postponed.
SERIES VS. KENT STATE
In series action, Akron and rival Kent State have met 93 times since 1987 with the Flashes holding a 57-35-1 advantage. Last season, the Zips won the first game in the series, 3-0, before falling, 8-3 and 6-3. In the 2016 MAC Championship, top-seeded Kent State claimed a 13-6 victory over the No. 6 seeded Zips, eliminating UA from postseason play.
CRYSTAL CLINIC WAGON WHEEL CHALLENGE
The winner of the Akron-KSU softball series will capture one point for its school in the Crystal Clinic Orthopaedic Center Wagon Wheel Challenge. Akron currently leads, 6-3, with four additional spring events on the schedule (men's and women's golf; men's and women's outdoor track and field). A total of 7.5 points is needed to win the challenge.
The 14-sport rivalry series between Akron and Kent State is based on a time-honored competition for an historic wooden wagon wheel trophy awarded originally in 1945 to the winner of the annual Akron-Kent State football game.
Since the 2011-12 academic year, the rivalry was broadened to include 14 NCAA varsity sports, with victories in each sport adding one point to the challenge standings. To learn more about the rivalry and follow the results and standings, visit:
HANDLEY NAMED MAC PITCHER OF THE WEEK
Freshman left-hander Lexie Handley (Mogadore, Ohio) captured MAC EAST Pitcher of the Week honors for the East Division on April 18 for the third time this season.
Last week, Handley led the Zips to three MAC wins. Handley threw 21.0 innings, including three complete games, including a one-hitter in the 1-0 shutout win over Ohio on Friday. She struck out 17 batters and walked three.
The Akron softball team closed out its three-game series with a 2-1 win over Ohio in Mid-American Conference play on April 15 at Lee R. Jackson Field. Akron won two of three games against Ohio and beat Buffalo on Wednesday for three MAC win on the week.
The Zips jumped on the board first and scored two runs in the bottom of the second inning from an RBI single to center field from junior 3B Caitlin Gambone (Canton, Ohio), scoring senior 2B Anna Tarpley (Jacksonville, Fla.) for an early 1-0 lead. With runners on second and third, a wild pitch from Ohio's pitcher allowed runners to advance and Gambone scored. Akron went ahead 2-0.
The Bobcats answered back in the top of the fifth inning and scored their only run of the game on an RBI single to left field. The Bobcats had other scoring opportunities, leaving eight runners on base, but Akron's strong pitching and defense kept the Bobcats at one run.
Overall the Zips had six hits total, and Ohio had five.
Freshman lefty Lexie Handley captured her sixth MAC win in the circle (16-13 overall, 6-6 MAC). She threw a complete game, fanning seven and walking only one batter.
IN THE MAC STATS
As of April 17, Akron leads all Mid-American Conference teams in sacrifice bunts (53), stolen bases (102), and stealing attempts (139). Redshirt junior CF Ashley Sims leads all players in the Mid-American Conference in stolen bases (35). In the circle, freshman Lexie Handley is first in innings pitched (176.1) and wins (16), and third in strikeouts (156).
FRUIN HITS HOME RUN MILESTONE
With her home run in the 3-2 win at Buffalo, senior OF Savannah Fruin recorded her 31st career home run. She moved into a second-place outright on Akon's all-time career list. Kelli Metzger (1996-99) is the career leader with 57 home runs.
HEAD COACH JULIE JONES
In her 11th season at Akron, head coach Julie Jones has mentored 17 All-MAC honorees, five NCAA All-Mideast Region selections, 28 Academic All-MAC student-athletes, eight Academic All-District selections, and two Academic All-Americans, the 2014 MAC Pitcher of the Year, and the 2016 prestigious MAC Nan Harvey award winner. Her complete bio is on page 6.
With the 1-0 shutout of Fort Wayne in the final game of the Black & Gold Tournament, Jones recorded her 250th win at Akron.
The 2-0 victory at Youngstown State was the 500th victory of Jones' career.
Jones is Akron's all-time leader for games coached (557) and ranks second in coaching wins (264). She needs just THREE WINS for 100 in MAC play.
Akron closes out its home slate with cross-town rival Kent State on April 21-22. First pitch of the Wagon Wheel Challenge series is Friday, April 21, at 3 p.m. at Lee R. Jackson Field.