When we last saw the Tiger softball team in action — or in this case, read about them, since nobody’s paying for FloSoftball — they lost a hard-fought battle to Maryland to wrap up their Sunshine State finale on Sunday afternoon. The Terps (4-5) walked it off in the bottom of the 7th inning on a single by Taylor Ligouri. The biggest issue in this game? The Tigers could not capitalize upon their baserunners, and while they had 5 hits, they left 11 runners on base. The pitching was superb, however, as Mizzou ace Jordan Weber had a no-hit bid going for 5 2⁄3 innings, walking 4 and striking out 7 before she was relieved by Megan Schumacher, who entered with two on. She ended the threat and came back out in the seventh. Emma Nichols came in with a runner on second (due to a throwing error) and then gave up the walk-off single. Schumacher took the L, but it was an unearned run.
This was Missouri’s only loss of the weekend, as they were 4-0 in their other match ups on Friday and Saturday. You can check out my recap from the first four games here.
The Tigers are now in Cathedral City, California, preparing to take on - as the title suggests - a “Who’s Who” of the Top 25. The majority of these teams are coming off their own Florida trips, having competed in the nationally broadcasted St. Pete/Clearwater Invitational last weekend, and have returned to the west coast — where most of them play regularly — for the Mary Nutter Classic. This event is named for Mary Nutter, a pioneer in collegiate softball, who created and helped run some of the most well-known coaching clinics in the country after her playing and coaching days were through.
Here’s hoping the Tigers get those bats going as they get set to face a murderer’s row of opponents — they’re only slugging .374 as a team on the season, down from .552 a year ago — but still are showing great plate discipline and a strong run game. M-I-Z!
2021 RECORD: 42-17 (ranked #8 nationally)
2022 RECORD: 8-3
PROJECTED CONFERENCE FINISH: 5th in SEC
RANKING: #19 (ESPN.com/USA Softball), #14 (D1 Softball), #18 (Softball America)
2022 TOP PERFORMERS:
- Jenna Laird, SS: .333 BA / 7 R / 12 H / 2 2B / 1 HR / 5 RBI / .472 SLG% / .935 FLD% (19 A, 2 E)
- Kim Wert, 3B: .379 BA / 5 R / 11 H / 3 2B / 3 HR / 9 RBI / .793 SLG%
- Alex Honnold, OF: .344 BA / 5 R / 11 H / 3 2B / 2 3B / 3 RBI / .563 SLG% / 1.000 FLD%
- Kendyll Bailey, xx: .290 BA / 9 H / 1 2B / 1 3B / 3 RBI / .343 SLG%
- Jordan Weber, P: 0.90 ERA / 31 IP / 3-0 record / 1 CG / 1 SHO / 10 H / 4 ER / 14 BB / 35 SO / .104 Opp BA
- Laurin Krings, P: 2.30 ERA / 24.1 IP / 3-1 record / 1 CG / 1 SHO / 24 H / 8 ER / 11 BB / 25 SO / .255 Opp BA
Let’s take a look at Mizzou’s opponents this weekend, shall we?
Coach @MelyssaLombardi and @JoeyMacUO broke down Oregon's ability to produce runs in a number of different ways on Duck Insider.— Oregon Softball (@OregonSB) February 23, 2022
FULL INTERVIEW https://t.co/9cDEHFKchY#GoDucks #Version4 pic.twitter.com/9KXseSSiUg
WHEN: Friday, February 25 at 2:30pm
2021 RECORD: 40-17
2022 RECORD: 8-1
PROJECTED CONFERENCE FINISH: 3rd in PAC-12 (Tied w/ Arizona)
RANKING: #11 (ESPN.com/USA Softball), #12 (D1 Softball), #11 (Softball America)
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
- Allee Bunker, INF: 2022 D1 Softball Preseason No. 6 Second Baseman, First Team All-PAC 12, PAC-12 All-Defense, No. 16 D1 Softball PAC-12 player rankings / 2022 stats: .400 BA, 8 R, 14 H, 1 2B, 1 HR, 8 RBI, .514 SLG% / 2021 stats: .342 BA, .964 OPS, 10 2B, 10 HR (team-high), 49 RBI (team-high), .409 RISP, .952 FLD% (73 A), struck out only 6/200 PA.
- KK Humphreys, INF: No. 10 D1 Softball PAC-12 player rankings / 2021 First Team All-Big West, All-Freshman Team/ 2022 stats: .346 BA, 4 R, 9 H, 4 2B, 1 HR, 6 RBI, .346 SLG% / 2021 stats (at Cal State Fullerton): .366 BA, .412 OBP, .627 SLG, 10 2B, 9 HR, 35 RBI, 15 SB to go with only 16 K.
- Terra McGowan, C: 2022 D1 Softball Preseason No. 5 catcher / 2021 Second Team All-PAC 12, NFCA Second Team All-Pacific Region / 2022 stats: .500 BA (16 AB) , 2 R, 8 H, 4 2B, 5 RBI, .750 SLG% / 2021 stats: .308 BA, .773 OPS, 6 2B, 5 HR, 26 RBI, 12 CSB, 21 SBA
- Hanna Delgado, UTIL: 2021 Third Team All- PAC 12, PAC-12 All Freshman, NFCA Second Team All-Pacific Region / 2022 stats: .406 BA, 10 R, 13 H, 1 2B, 4 RBI, .438 SLG% / 2021 stats: .302 BA, 10 2B, 32 R, 2 HR, 18 RB, 6 SB, 9 multi-hit games, 4 multi-RBI games
- Makenna Kliethermes, P: 2022 stats: 2.70 ERA, 3-1 record, 2 CG, 26.2 IP, 20 H, 8 ER, 9 BB, 34 SO, .208 Opp BA / 2021 stats: 3.45 ERA, 7-6 record (8 starts, 22 games), 23 BB, 88 SO, 67 IP, .211 Opp BA, 9.19 K/7
- According to the D1 Softball PAC-12 Notebook, this Oregon lineup will be annoying for opposing pitchers (OH, YAY). While they Ducks do not hit homers (only two in their last 4 games over Texas State and Baylor), Oregon still scored 25 runs, including the Baylor game when they had a seven-run inning without an extra-base hit. Last weekend’s games: Texas State W 7-3, Baylor; L 3-0, W 8-4, W 10-4
- Even though 2021 NFCA Third Team All-American and First Team All-PAC 12 honoree Brooke Yanez hasn’t pitched yet this season — we’re assuming it’s injury-related — the Oregon pitching staff has only allowed 11 extra-base hits thus far. Yanez was named No. 7 in D1 Softball’s Preseason PAC-12 player rankings for her .185 Opp BA and 22 win season in 2021, so hopefully they will have her services soon... after the Tigers face the Ducks, of course. In her absence, it appears Oregon has focused its attention on using Makenna Kliethermes, now in her second season, and lefty Jordan Dail (2.60 ERA, 4-0 record, 17.1 IP, 18 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 21 SO, .254 Opp BA this season).
- This is head coach Melyssa Lombardi’s fourth season at the helm, and she has, according to the D1 Softball Fall Report, her “deepest, most athletic” team. They return most of their roster from a year ago, including Terra McGowan, widely considered one of the best defensive catchers in collegiate softball, and added multiple pieces, such as KK Humphreys, who has worked her way into a crowded infield that features Allie Bunker and Jasmine (Sievers) Williams, who is back after having her first child. Of note, in the offseason, the Ducks lost Soph SS Alyssa Brito, who was 2nd team PAC-12.
- On the addition of KK Humphreys, who comes to the Ducks from Cal State Fullerton:
“She’s a competitor. She loves to compete and is another versatile athlete for us,” Lombardi said. “She can play in the infield and also the outfield. She has good power, been working on her swing all fall and you can see it start to pay off. She runs well and loves to play. Loves to be the one in the heat of the moment, game on the line, she wants to be the one and I like that about her.”
WHEN: Friday, February 25 at 7:30pm
2021 RECORD: 21-26
2022 RECORD: 3-7
PROJECTED CONFERENCE FINISH: 6th in Big XII
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
- Abbie Orrick, INF/UTIL: 2022 stats: .276 BA, 4 R, 8 H, 3 2B, 2 HR, 6 RBI, .586 SLG% / 2021 stats: .273 BA (33 AB), 13 R, 9 H, 2 2B , 1 3B, 3 RBI, .394 SLG%
- Freshman Carson Armijo, OF: 2022 stats: .286 BA, 4 R, 6 H, 2 HR, 5 RBI, .571 SLG%
- Payton Jackson, OF: 2022 stats: .200 BA (15 AB), 3 R, 3 H, 1 HR, 2 RBI, .400 SLG% / 2021 stats: .333 BA (24 AB), 8 R, 8 H, 2 2B, 1 3B, 7 RBI, .500 SLG%
- Kendall Fritz, P: 2022 stats: 2.30 ERA, 2-2 record, 3 CG, 27.1 IP, 18 H, 9 ER, 6 BB, 18 SO, .186 Opp BA / career stats (at Nevada): 3.28 ERA, 311 SO, 30 Wins, 37 CG, 7 SHO (4 in 2021), 371
- As with the case of many of the teams Mizzou will face in the MNC, TX Tech spent last weekend in the St. Pete/Clearwater Elite Invitational, and came away with... 0 wins, and many losses to: No. 21 Auburn ( 1-7), No. 9 Clemson (0-8), No. 15 Northwestern (6-9), previous No. 24 UCF (3-7), No. 5 Washington (0-1), and No.23 LSU (0-2). Even with being 0-5 against ranked opponents so far this season, the Red Raiders still have a 3.65 ERA (down from a 5.68 ERA a year ago). Kendall Fritz has been solid as the ace, and freshman Erna Carlin only allowed two hits and one earned run against Washington, so things aren’t all bad in Lubbock.
- As you look at the Red Raiders’ stats, you’ll notice something that stands out so far this season: POWER. In the first 10 games of the 2022 season, Texas Tech already have 10 HR, including 6 in the first four games alone. But other than power hitting, they are having some offensive challenges, posting a 70 K / 20 BB ratio so far this season. That just won’t work against Big XII competition or when facing a tough slate of opponents, like those they’ll face on this Cali road trip.
- Texas Tech did lose some big transfers in the offseason (both to Tennessee), including senior pitcher Erin Edmoundson, who had nearly 600 IP with 3.07 ERA and 517 K in her career, and senior catcher Kelcy Leach, who started over 100 games and had 20 HR/336 PA. With other transfers, the Red Raiders are looking to replace 80% (!!!) of the team’s innings in 2021.
- Coach Sami Ward is in her third season with the Red Raiders, after arriving in 2020 from Loyola Marymount. She’s got a large returning sophomore class, as well as seven freshmen and six transfers this season— three of whom Ward recruited or coached at Loyola Marymount, so it sounds like she’s got the roster shaping up to be hers and hers alone.
- A key addition to the Red Raiders’ rotation in 2022 is transfer pitcher Olivia Rains, who comes from WCWS winner, Oklahoma. She played limited innings in her first two seasons (incl. shortened 2020 season and last season’s title effort), but will have 3 years of eligibility remaining, and gives Texas Tech something they haven’t had before, a player with national championship experience. Rains is joined by Kendall Fritz from Nevada, who strikes out a lot of people, but also gives up a decent amount of home runs. On the addition of Fitz:
“Her presence and her mentality — knowing she belongs with the ball in her hand — that’s going to help our entire pitching staff,” Ward said. “Kendall is going to do the job because Kendall sees herself as someone who should have the ball.”
WHEN: Saturday, February 26 at 11:30am
2022 RECORD: 10-3
RANKING: NR (received 3 votes in ESPN.com/USA Softball poll)
PROJECTED CONFERENCE FINISH: 1st in MOUNTAIN WEST (Tied w/ UNLV)
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
- Maggie Balint, P: 2021 NFCA Third Team All-West Region, First Team All-Mountain West / 2021 stats: 2.18 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 17-8 record, 16 CG, 2 SV, 166.2 IP, 130 H, 52 ER, 41 BB, 137 SO, .212 Opp BA / 2022 stats: 1.96 ERA, 4-2 record, 3 CG, 35.2 IP, 21 H, 8 ER, 4 BB, 67 SO, .167 Opp BA
- Mac Barbara, C/INF (Ole Miss transfer): 2022 stats: .405 BA, 8 R, 15 H, 3 2B, 5 HR, 10 RBI, .892 SLG%, .476 OB% / 2021 stats
- Jillian Celis, INF: 2021 Second Team All- Mountain West / 2022 stats: .389 BA, 7 R, 14 H, 2 2B, 3 3B, 9 RBI, .611 SLG%, .450 OB% / 2021 stats: .317 BA, 20 R, 44 H, 13 2B (team-high), 2 HR, 25 RBI, .453 SLG%, .338 OB%, .975 FLD% (4 E)
- Freshman Bella Espinoza, INF: 2022 stats: .324 BA, 9 R, 11 H, 1 RBI, 6-6 SB
- Taylor Adams, INF: 2022 stats: .258 BA, 4 R, 8 H, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 6 RBI, .452 SLG%, .324 OB% / 2021 stats: .283 BA, 20 R, 34 H, 3 2B, 2 HR, 17 BB, 25 RBI, .358 SLG%, 9-9 SB, 8 multi-hit games, 4 multi-RBI games
- San Diego State is off to its best 11-game start since 2014 and tied for the second best in program history. As a team (as of Feb 23), they have a .308 BA, 1.46 ERA and .980 FLD%. In their four-game win streak, they’ve outscored the opposition, 29-3.
- SDSU currently has wins over Middle Tennessee, UIC - twice, Cal Poly, San Diego, Army West Point- twice, Southern Utah, Cal Baptist, and UC-Davis. Their three losses come from Stanford (1-0 on Feb 11), a surprising beatdown by Cal State Northridge last Thursday (6-4), and Cal State Fullerton (7-3). It appears the school should avoid Cal State teams moving forward? Just a thought. While their record is impressive, they appear to be lacking in Top 25 votes based on their schedule thus far. A strong performance this weekend (not against the Tigers, though), would help beef up their resume tremendously.
- San Diego State kicked off the Mary Nutter Classic this weekend with an opening loss on Thursday to Cal State Fullerton, 7-3 in the first of two games played. CS-F took the early lead with 2 runs in the third and five more in the fifth, and SDSU had no real answer, only scraping across one run total. Ace Maggie Balint had an uncharacteristic outing, lasting only 4.2 innings. She gave up 5 hits and 4 ER, but did have 10 K to no walks.
- In the later game, SDSU shellacked UC-Davis, 9-1. Dee Dee Hernandez got the win, going 5 innings and allowing only 1 hit to go with 4 SO. The Aztecs (I hate to use their team name as it’s getting replaced) thrived on the hot hitting of Danielle Romanello (2-4, R, 2B, HR), Jillian Celis (3-4, 2 RBI, 2B, 3B), and Ole Miss transfer Mac Barbara (1-3, H, R, RBI, BB, SB).
- The Tigers will need to watch out for pitcher Maggie Balint, who was named the Mountain West Player of the Week for the second consecutive week. According to reports, Balint pitched in 3 games, going 3-0 with a 1.56 ERA and a shutout, striking out 33 and allowing just 3 walks in 18IP. She also limited her opponents to a .133 BA, allowing only eight hits, during this time.
- This is Stacey Nuveman Deniz’s first season as head coach, after taking over for SDSU’s all-time winningest coach, Kathy Van Wyk, last June. Nuveman Deniz served as Van Wyk’s assistant for 13 years previously in a variety of roles, ranging from assistant to associate head coach and “head coach in waiting.” Likely due to the continuity in keeping her around, Nuveman Deniz has six returning position players, as well as two pitchers at her disposal.
WHEN: Saturday, February 26 at 2pm
2021 RECORD: 45-14
2022 RECORD: 9-1
PROJECTED CONFERENCE FINISH: 2nd in PAC-12 (received 1 first place vote)
RANKING: #5 (ESPN.com/USA Softball), #5 (D1 Softball), #5 (Softball America)
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
- Baylee Klingler, SS: 2022 D1 Softball Preseason No. 4 SS, D1 Softball Preseason Second Team All-American / 2022 Canada Cup roster / 2022 stats: .429 BA, 1.443 OPS, 11 R, 15 H, 3 2B, 5 HR, 15 RBI, .943 SLG%, .500 OB% / 2021 stats: .416 BA, 1.299 OPS, 17 2B, 16 HR (team-high), 53 RBI, .792 SLG% (team-high), .507 OB% (team-high), .957 FLD%. Excels at both 2B/3B, and athletic enough to play any position.
- Gabbie Plain, P: 2022 D1 Softball Preseason No. 2 pitcher, D1 Softball Preseason First Team All-American / 2022 Canada Cup roster / 2022 stats: 0.45 ERA, .84 WHIP, 4-1 record, 5 CG, 4 SHO, 31 IP, 19 H, 2 ER, 7 BB, 36 SO, .171 Opp VA / 2021 stats: 32-4, 1.45 ERA, 337 K, .174 B/AVG, 237.1 IP. 12 wins shy of 100 in her career. Sub-1.50 ERA in each full season (not 2020 partial season), and held batters to .174 BA or less.
- Olivia Johnson, C/INF: 2022 stats: .429 BA, 1.588 OPS, 6 R, 9 H, 1 3B, 3 HR, 8 RBI, .952 SLG%, .636 OB%.
- Sami Reynolds, OF: 2022 D1 Softball Preseason Third Team All-American, 2022 USA Softball National Team member / 2022 stats: .467 BA, 1.531 OPS, 4 R, 14 H, 6 2B, 3 HR, 13 RBI, .967 SLG %, .564 OP%
- Kinsey Fielder, INF: 2022 D1 Softball PAC-12 Freshman of the Year / 2022 stats: 364 BA, 1.303 OPS, 5 H, 8 R, 2 2B, 2 HR, 7 RBI, .727 SLG%, .576 OB%
- Despite being shut out on Sunday by Valerie Cagle (Clemson), the Huskies scored 28 runs in four games over the weekend, led by Baylee Klinger (who could have won the 2021 PAC-12 POY after ranking in the top 5 in basically every category) and Sami Reynolds. Klingler and Reynolds combined for 6 home runs and 15 RBIs in the St. Pete/Clearwater Invite, and Klinger was named the PAC-12 Player of the Week for her performance.
- Washington pitchers only allowed one home run and 12 runs last week, as the Huskies got wins over No. 15 Tennessee W 11-0, No. 23 LSU W 9-4, Texas Tech W 1-0, and No. 7 Oklahoma State W 7-6, before the aforementioned loss to No. 13 Clemson, 2-0.
- Washington’s staff is anchored by one of the best pitchers in collegiate softball, Gabbie Plain, who pitched for Team Australia this summer in the Olympic games. While Plain came home medal-less and only pitched six innings in the games, it was undoubtedly an incredible experience that will fuel her to compete for a WCWS run with the Huskies. She was given the fall off to rest after pitching 237 innings last spring (63% of UW’s total innings) and then heading straight to Japan for Team Australia’s residency.
- Plain picked up where she left off last season, winning D1Softball’s PAC-12 Pitcher of the Week and the PAC-12 Conference’s Pitcher of the Week for her performance over the weekend. From the D1 post:
It took Plain six games this season before she yielded a run. She threw a five-inning shutout against Tennessee, followed by another complete game against Texas Tech. The outing against the Red Raiders didn’t feature her best stuff, giving up seven hits, but Plain’s ability to escape jams is one of the many reasons she’s so successful. If the Huskies offense can continue to produce at a high-level, it’ll be even more interesting what Plain can do this year.
- In the offseason, the Huskies lost innings-eaters/star playmakers Taryn Atlee, Sis Bates and Morganne Flores to graduation after a combined 15 seasons and 675 starts at Oregon. However, they will get back the services of Pitcher/INF Kelley Lynch, who underwent surgery on her finger at the end of the season, and has accumulated 110 strikeouts in 88.1 IP over parts of two seasons. This addition will certainly help the Huskies, who will also have a plethora of outfield options with four players who started at least 20 games and amassed around 150 starts total. Of this group, Sami Reynolds (mentioned above) is on top, after posting a 1.010 OPS, 12 home runs and seven stolen bases as a junior.
WHEN: Sunday, February 27 at 1:30pm
2021 RECORD: 47-7
2022 RECORD: 7-3
PROJECTED CONFERENCE FINISH: 1st in PAC-12
RANKING: #6 (ESPN.com/USA Softball), #6 (D1 Softball), #6 (Softball America)
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
- Megan Faraimo, P: 2022 D1 Softball Preseason No. 3 pitcher, D1 Softball Preseason First Team All-American, No. 1 D1 Softball PAC-12 player rankings / 2021 stats: 19-3, 1.10 ERA, 184 K, .142 B/AVG, 133.1 IP. Only 8 career losses in 69 GP, career ERA of 1.14 across 337.2 IP.
- Holly Azevedo, P: 2021 record: 1.99 ERA, 8-1 record (16 appearances), 5.86 K/7, 53 SO, .222 Opp BA, 63.1 IP, 5 CG
- Briana Perez, SS: 2022 D1 Softball Preseason No. 2 SS, D1 Softball Preseason Second Team All-American, No. 4 D1 Softball PAC-12 player rankings / 2021 NFCA & Softball America Third Team All-American/ 2021 stats: .353 BA, 1.119 OPS, 52 R, 41 RBI, .700 SLG% (career-best), 10 2B, 5 3B, 13 HR, 13 SB, .932 FLD% (96 A), 16 multi-hit game, 12 multi-RBI games
- Maya Brady, OF: 2022 D1 Softball Preseason First Team All-American, No. 6 D1 Softball PAC-12 player rankings/ 2021 NFCA First Team All-American, Softball America Second Team All-American, NFCA All-West Region Team / 2021 stats: .333 BA, 14 HR, .435 OB%, 45 H, 7 2B, 38 RBI, 32 R, 10 multi-RBI games, 8 multi-hit games
- Aaliyah Jordan, OF: 2022 D1 Softball Preseason First Team All-American, No. 8 D1 Softball PAC-12 player rankings / 2021 NFCA First Team All-American, All-PAC 12 First Team, NFCA All-West Region Team / 2021 stats: .317 BA, .456 OB %, .563 SLG % (check on), 45 H, 33 RBI, 36 R, 8 HR, 9 2B, 1 3B, 33 BB, 11 multi-hit games, 8 multi-RBI games, 5 multi-run games
- Kinsley Washington, INF: 2021 All-PAC 12 Defense, All PAC-12 Third Team, NFCA All-Region First Team/ 2021 stats: .329 BA, .404 OB%, 45 H, 11 2B, 3 HR, 33 RBI, 29 R, .982 FLD% (195 PO, 19 A), 16-17 SB, 11 multi-hit games
- My first note is simply... WOW. That’s all.
- At the St. Pete/Clearwater Invite, the Bruins’ schedule shaped up to be: No. 21 Northwestern L 6-4, Auburn W 9-0, No. 10 Texas W 2-1, Wisconsin W 5-1, No. 5 Florida State L 4-3 in extras.
- Megan Faraimo continues to be the Bruins’ ace in 2022, even after being “roughed up” a bit in the Northwestern loss on Feb 18 (6 R - 5 earned - over 7.2IP, 7 H, 2 HR, 1 BB, 14 SO) and again against Florida State on Feb 20 (3 ER over 3.2 IP, 3 BB, 4 SO, 1 HR). But even with two less than-”Megan Faraimo-level” appearances, she still holds a 1.83 ERA on the season. The day after the Northwestern outing, she shut out Texas in a CG effort, allowing only 1 run (0 earned) and 4 hits, showing she’s still absolutely dominant and pretty scary.
- In case you aren’t familiar with the Bruins (I wasn’t, and learned all this by reading), Faraimo missed the World Series last season with an injury, and pitched just one inning in relief during UCLA’s run through the 2019 WCWS. So while she’s done everything imaginable it seems, from being an All-American to a junior world champion and USA Softball National Team member, she’s missing that elusive World Series moment from her resume. On her ace, coach Inouye-Perez said:
“Megan came in a hard-throwing rise-ball curveball pitcher and has worked very hard with Lisa Fernandez on developing all parts of her game. Megan was rise ball, curveball, change and now she still has those dominant pitches but she also has drop ball, off-drop and different variations in all parts of the zone.”
- As a solid no. 2 pitcher, Holly Azevedo has held opposing batters to a .088 batting average so far this season. She’s also lowered her career ERA to 1.96. After following in the footsteps behind both Rachel Garcia (now a volunteer asst at San Diego State!) and Faraimo for several years, she’s finally getting the chance to show what she can do.
- Kinsley Washington had a great weekend at the plate, going 10-for-18 with a hit and at least one run scored in every game, and hit three homers (two in clutch situations). According to D-1 Softball’s PAC-12 Notebook, Washington might just be UCLA’s answer at leadoff, which has been a question for a couple seasons now.
- After winning the PAC-12 last year, the Bruins are once again favored to win the conference for the second consecutive season (and league-record 12th time overall), and remain a consensus Top 5 team. UCLA may have lost Garcia and Bubba Nickels in the offseason, but they return a big ol’ chunk of their lineup, including Maya Brady and Delanie Wisz (No. 12 in the D1 Softball PAC-12 player rankings), who each hit 14 homers a season ago.
- Six players, including one new transfer, are playing in at least their fifth season of college softball— Aaliyah Jordan is in her sixth. Three more players, including Faraimo, are fourth-year juniors. This team is STACKED and mature.
If you’ve made it this far, congratulations. This was a LONG one. But also, stay up to date on all things Mizzou Softball this season by following me, @KarenSteger, and @RockMNation. I’ll have previews for each of Missouri’s series, as well as recaps when available (I’m still saying “NO” to FloSoftball).