#30 Long Beach State Softball 2015 Preview

Long Beach State 49ers

Overall Rank: #30
Conference Rank: #1 Big West
#30 Long Beach State Softball Preview
Long Beach State


The 49ers are coming off of their second Big West title in three years and their third trip to the NCAA Tournament in the past four years. Last year's NCAA Tournament run ended in a loss to Notre Dame. Long Beach State set team records in team batting average (.306), runs scored (318), RBI (289) and doubles (74) en route to 39 wins.

2014: 39-19, 15-6
2014 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Kim Sowder

Field Players:
Long Beach State brings back table-setter Shayna Kimbrough, a year after she hit .395 with 10 doubles and 73 hits. The 49ers lost one of their major power sources, Ashlynn Booker, who hit 12 home runs and drove in 37, but bring back home run leader Darian Tautalafua, who blasted 13 bombs and also drove in a team-leading 39 runs. Ashley Holmes had seven home runs and Lauren Lombardi six. Tautalafua also scored a team-leading 39 times. The 49ers may look to Hannah Cookson, a freshman from La Crescenta, California, for some power. Cookson blasted 43 home runs in her high school career and hit .531 with 41 RBI and 13 home runs as a senior.

Long Beach State used a two-pitcher rotation last season, but that might not be the case this year as Erin Jones-Wesley has graduated. Amanda Hansen was the other part of that tandem and she returns, looking to become the team's ace after going 19-8 last season. There are seven pitchers on the roster, so the depth is there, but if the 49ers are going to go to a two-pitcher rotation, who is the other pitcher?  

Who to Watch:
The pitching staff and Cookson. Can Cookson step in and help ease the loss of Booker? She put up the best numbers of the incoming freshmen. Christina Clermont is a transfer pitcher from Syracuse who made 16 starts for the Orange last season and posted a 5-6 record with 67 strikeouts in 28 appearances. Christian Carbajal redshirted last year after throwing 51 innings in 2013. Will either of these two pitchers step up to be the team's No. 2?

Final Projection:
The 49ers have a chance to be really good. If they can figure out the pitching rotation, that will be a big plus. Having to replace Booker, Cya Neal and Karli Sandoval will be tough, but 12 different players saw action in at least 35 games last season, so the team will be prepared. Long Beach State did itself no favors in the scheduling department, as they have matchups with Northwestern, Notre Dame, Kentucky, Missouri, UCLA, Florida, Stanford, Arizona, Auburn, Oregon and San Diego State all before conference play begins.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Softball Tournament

Returning Leaders:
At Bats: Shayna Kimbrough, SS, 185
Hits: Shayna Kimbrough, SS, 73
Home Runs: Darian Tautalafua, OF, 13
RBIs: Darian Tautalafua, OF, 39
Runs: Darian Tautalafua, OF, 39
Stolen Bases: Shayna Kimbrough, SS, 7

Wins: Amanda Hansen, P, 19
Innings Pitched: Amanda Hansen, P, 163.1
Strikeouts: Amanda Hansen, P, 82
Complete Games: Amanda Hansen, P, 13


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