#17 Missouri Softball 2015 Preview

Missouri Tigers

Overall Rank: #17
Conference Rank: #6 SEC
#17 Missouri Softball 2015 Preview
Missouri Team Page


After six consecutive seasons of advancing to at least the Super Regionals, last season's loss in the final game of the Regional round may have been a disappointment for the Missouri Tigers. While the team wasn't happy to lose early in the tournament, having to rely on five freshmen for lots of playing time, including the team's top two pitchers, makes the future exciting for the Tigers. Four players transferred out of the Missouri program this offseason, including two of those five freshmen, Casey Stangel and Kelli Schkade.

2014: 43-18, 15-9
2014 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Ehren Earleywine

Field Players:
The Tigers bring back six of the top seven hitters, including the top five. That is led by leadoff hitter Taylor Gadbois, who led the team with a .421 average, 55 runs, 85 hits and 46 steals, a number the Tigers hadn't seen since Rhea Taylor played for Mizzou. Mackenzie Sykes, who tied for the team lead in home runs with eight and led the team in RBI with 52 graduated, but four other who hit at least five home runs return, led by Kelsea Roth, who had eight round trippers. Angela Randazzo had seven home runs, 11 doubles and 43 RBI. Sami Fagan had 10 doubles and drove in 41, while Emily Crane hit 10 doubles, five home runs, drove in 37 and stole 17 bases. Corrin Genovese finished second with a .410 average and knocked five balls out of the park, while striking out a team-low three times in 134 at-bats.

Missouri used freshmen Tori Finucane and Stangel as its pitching rotation last season and, while Stangel has now transferred to Washington, Finucane returns for her sophomore campaign after being named the SEC Freshman of the Year last season. Finucane put up a 21-6 record with 1.73 ERA in 32 games, 29 of which were starts, and struck out 168. Finucane will be joined in this year's rotation by freshman Paige Lowary and Nebraska-Omaha transfer Cheyenne Baxter.

Who to Watch:
A bunch of Tigers can fit here, but we'll go with Lowary and sophomore catcher Kirsten Mack. Mack struggled at the beginning of the season, but turned it on towards the end of the year and started 32 games, hitting three home runs and driving in 15. She's a natural catcher, something the Tigers haven't had in the last couple of years. Lowary is a two-time Gatorade Player of the Year from Iowa. The Tigers struck gold in Iowa before with Chelsea Thomas, can they do so with Lowary, who as a senior finished 21-1, allowed four earned runs in 191 innings, had a 0.18 ERA and struck out 264 hitters.

Final Projection:
Missouri brings back a lot of talent and looks to make it back to the Super Regionals again this season. Roth's numbers slipped a bit last season, but she has the talent to get back to the 13 home runs she hit as a sophomore. Two other freshmen, Morgan Walters and Amanda Sanchez, might be looked at to play big roles on this year's squad as well. Walters will be in the mix for a spot in the outfield, while Sanchez looks like she might be the team's third baseman. As it does every year, Earleywine's squad will start in the second week of February and they do themselves no favors. The team starts out with Louisville in its first game and later that weekend faces UCF. The next two weekends see the Tigers go to the Mary Nutter and Citrus Classics, where they will play Long Beach State, Texas, UCLA, Arizona, Notre Dame, Minnesota and James Madison, amongst others. Mizzou will know how good it's going to be really fast. The Tigers travel to Georgia in conference play, but get Auburn, LSU and Florida at home.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Softball Tournament

Returning Leaders:
At Bats: Taylor Gadbois, OF, 202
Hits: Gadbois 85
Home Runs: Kelsea Roth, 1B, 8
RBIs: Angela Randazzo, 3B/C, 43
Runs: Gadbois 55
Stolen Bases: Gadbois 46

Wins: Tori Finucane 21
Innings Pitched: Finucane 190.1
Strikeouts: Finucane 168
Complete Games: Finucane 19


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