OWU to open NCAC tournament against Denison


The Ohio Wesleyan University softball team will open the NCAC tournament by facing Denison at 10 a.m. on Friday in Greencastle, Ind.

Ohio Wesleyan (14-18) is the No. 2 seed in the tournament and will be the home team in Friday morning’s game. The Battling Bishops tied for second place in the NCAC standings with a 9-5 record and won a tiebreaker for the No. 2 seed. OWU is making its first NCAC tournament appearance since 2016 and its 12th overall appearance. The Bishops finished as NCAC tournament runner-up in 3 consecutive seasons, 2004-06.

Junior second baseman Sophia Cegledy leads Ohio Wesleyan with a .322 batting average, while junior shortstop Rylee Anspach leads the Bishops with 3 home runs and 18 RBI on the season. Junior lefthander Katie Chittum is 8-11 on the season and sophomore righthander Kaelyn Rodriguez has a 5-1 record in the circle.

Denison (17-15) is the No. 3 seed in the tournament. The Big Red tied for second place in the NCAC standings with a 9-5 mark and lost a tiebreaker for the No. 2 seed. Denison has won the NCAC tournament 6 times, most recently in 2012.

Sophomore infielder Annabelle Calderon leads the Big Red and ranks fourth in the NCAC with a .449 batting average. Sophomore infielder Jacqui Abogado has team bests of 8 home runs and 30 RBI. Sophomore righthander Sydney Silverstein is 9-6 overall and freshman righthander Brooke Surbaugh went 6-8 this season.

In this season’s regular-season meeting, the teams split a doubleheader on April 18 in Granville. Denison won the opener, 9-1, striking for 6 runs in the second inning, with Silverstein blanking the Bishops on 5 hits through the first 5.0 innings. In the nightcap, Ohio Wesleyan won 10-2 as Anspach and Rodriguez drove in 2 runs apiece and Cegledy collected 3 hits in support of Chittum, who allowed 8 hits in 5.0 innings and struck out 3.

In Friday’s second game, top-seeded DePauw (20-19) will play fourth-seeded Hiram (21-13), with that contest scheduled for a 12:30 p.m. start. DePauw and Hiram have played for the NCAC tournament title in each of the last 2 seasons, with DePauw winning in 2021 and Hiram winning in 2022. DePauw has won the NCAC tournament 6 times, while Hiram has taken 3 NCAC tournament titles.

Friday’s action is scheduled to continue at 3 p.m., when the winners of the Ohio Wesleyan-Denison game and the DePauw-Hiram game square off in the winners’ bracket final. Friday’s festivities are scheduled to wrap up with an elimination game between the losers of Game 1 and Game 2, with that game set to begin at 5:30 p.m.

The NCAC tournament is scheduled to conclude on Sunday, beginning at 11 a.m., when the loser of Game 3 takes on the winner of Game 4 in another elimination game. Game 6, which matches up the winner of Game 5 against the winner of Game 3, follows at 1:30 p.m., with Game 7 (if necessary) to follow at 4 p.m., or 30 minutes after the conclusion of Game 6.

The winner of the NCAC tournament receives the conference’s automatic qualifier to the NCAA Division III tournament.

OWU Sports Information contributed to this report.

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