#41 SIUE Softball 2016 Preview

SIUE Cougars

Overall Rank: #41
Conference Rank: #1 Ohio Valley Conference

SIUE Softball Preview

SIUE Team Page

The 2015 season ended for the SIU-Edwardsville softball ended on an unfortunate note as they were upset by underdog Tennessee Tech in the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament Championship game by a score of 3-2. However, that tough ending to the 2015 season does not take away from the fact that the Cougars won 43 games, which is their highest win total since they became a Division I program. Thus, the foundation is laid despite the departure of Haley Chambers, the Ohio Valley Conference Pitcher of the Year, for SIU-Edwardsville to be a championship contender in the Ohio Valley Conference in 2016.

2015: 43-16, 20-6
2015 Postseason: None
Coach: Sandy Montgomery

Field Players:
In order for the Cougars to make another run at 40 plus wins they are going to have execute at a higher level offensively. They are not going to win a ton of slugfests, but they still should be able to do just enough to win most games. Outfielder Jordan LaFave and Infielder Allison Smiley are going to have bring a combination of power and speed in greater numbers this spring to replace the lost offense of Haley Chambers. LaFave hit five homeruns a season ago and Smiley drove in 35 so they both can surpass those numbers then SIUE will be in good shape offensively.

Sophomore Baylee Douglass is going to be the ace this season for the Cougars. Douglass did an excellent job as a freshman as she won 17 games with a 2.21 earned run average and, like Chambers, attacked hitters very well by striking out 149 hitters in 147.0 Innings pitched last season. Control is also another strength for Douglass as she only walked 41 batters, which means that pitching at the Division I level was not too big for her to handle whatsoever.

Who to Watch:
Ashley Koziol is a transfer from Youngstown State that should compete for the number two starting pitcher spot for SIU-Edwardsville right off the bat. Koziol got the win in seven of the Penguins 18 wins last season and should have a chance to ease into some action during doubleheader days during the first few weeks of the season.

Final Projection:
Infielder Rachel Keller is going to be another key component to the Cougars offensive attack in 2016. Keller is the leading returning run scorer with 30 and her ability to consistently get on base will set up the rest of the offense to be more productive in key situations. The schedule will allow for some great opportunities to get wins against other mid-major teams such as USC Upstate, Florida Atlantic, Hofstra and South Alabama. In addition, there will be a few chances to play Power five schools as SIU-Edwardsville will get its shot against the likes of Mississippi State and South Carolina. It will be very important to for the Cougars to secure a few wins in these games to give them some margin for error. If Douglass can evolve into an ace like Haley Chambers was last season, then that will buy time for the offense to come together. It won’t be easy, but SIUE should be right there once again with a chance to win the Ohio Valley Conference automatic bid in early May.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Softball Tournament

Returning Leaders:
At Bats: Allison Smiley, IF, 171
Hits: Jordan LaFave, OF, 52
Home Runs: Jordan LaFave, OF, 5
RBIs: Allison Smiley, IF, 35
Runs: Rachel Keller, IF, 30
Stolen Bases: Jordan LaFave, OF, 8

Wins: Baylee Douglass, P, 17
Innings Pitched: Baylee Douglass, P, 147.0
Strikeouts: Baylee Douglass, P, 157
Complete Games: Baylee Douglass, P, 9

See All Softball Top 44 Previews