#36 San Diego State Softball 2016 Preview

San Diego State Aztecs
Overall Rank: #36
Conference Rank: #1 Mountain West
 San Diego State Logo
One of the more underrated programs amongst the Group of Five conferences in all of women’s college softball is San Diego State. The Aztecs have won three out of the last four Mountain West Conference championships and once again made another NCAA Regional appearance. The Aztecs made it to the Los Angeles Regional final before losing to UCLA 8-0 in the first championship game.
2015: 38-20, 18-6
2015 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Kathy Van Wyk
Field Players:
Catcher Jenavee Peres is the top returning all-around producer offensively for head coach Kathy Van Wyk. Peres brings a dynamic mix of power and speed to the table that will give opposing coaches and opposing pitchers headaches all season long. Taylor Stewart is going to be another key component for the Aztecs. Stewart will be relied upon to provide even more power offensively as she hit four homeruns last year as a freshman, including a walk-off home run to beat Texas in an elimination game during the Los Angeles Regional.
Erica Romero is back as the workhorse in the circle for San Diego State. Romero led the nation in victories last season with 36 and always found a way to battle even if she did not always have her best stuff each time out. It is going to be important for Romero to continue to limit her walks like she did a year ago and make opposing hitters put the ball in play on the ground so the Aztecs can take of business defensively. If Romero can do that, then San Diego State will contend, if not win the Mountain West Conference championship.
Who to Watch:
Leia Ruiz and Sydnee Cable are going to be counted on a great deal once again to take care of business at the plate to take pressure off of Peres. They also are going to need to help replace the lost production of Lorena Bauer and Kayla Jordan, who both hit well over .400 last season. Ruiz and Cable have plenty of experience and are upperclassmen who will do whatever it takes to be more productive and keep the Aztecs rolling offensively.
Final Projection:
San Diego State never has any problems getting access to quality competition during the non-conference portion of their schedule. Kentucky, Texas Tech, California, Texas A&M, San Diego, and Brigham Young all will visit SDSU Softball Stadium during multiple preseason tournaments this spring. Neutral site match ups against Washington, Nebraska and an improved Stanford team also are on the docket for the Aztecs, along with battles against Cal State Fullerton and Cal State Northridge. This will allow for ample opportunity for San Diego State to build up its RPI in case it comes up short in the Mountain West Conference Tournament by not getting the automatic bid. The key series for San Diego State, if they are to win the conference championship, will be their trip to Fresno to play Fresno State from April 1-3. The Aztecs will be looking for revenge after losing two of three at home to the Bulldogs. If ace pitcher Erica Romero can hold her own against Jill Compton of Fresno State and they get timely execution offensively, then a 2-1 series win is definitely a real possibility. Overall, look for the Aztecs to just sneak past Fresno State and take back the Mountain West Conference championship and return to the NCAA Tournament.
Projected Postseason:  NCAA Softball Tournament
Returning Leaders:
At Bats: Jenavee Peres, C, 165
Hits: Jenavee Peres, C, 58
Home Runs: Jenavee Peres, C, 9
RBIs: Jenavee Peres, C, 48
Runs: Jenavee Peres, C, 30
Stolen Bases: Jenavee Peres, C, 6
Wins: Erica Romero, P, 36
Innings Pitched: Erica Romero, P, 318.2
Strikeouts: Erica Romero, P, 171
Saves: Two with 1 each
Madness 2016 Softball Recruit Rankings:
#60 Juliana McDonald