#40 Wichita State Softball 2017 Preview

Wichita State Shockers
Overall Rank: #42
Conference Rank: #1 Missouri Valley
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Coach Kristi Bredbenner has done a superb job at Wichita State. She has turned the Shockers into consistent competitors in the Missouri Valley Conference. Last year the squad reached the NCAA Tournament, where they managed to beat Tulsa with losses against Oklahoma and Mississippi. Despite losing some key hitters, the Shockers still return plenty of power, most notably from Macklin Hitz, Paige Luellen and Laurie Derrico, who combined to hit 29 homeruns last season. With a solid group of newcomers and plenty of returning talent, Wichita State will put plenty of runs on the board.
2016: 36-21, 18-6
2016 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Kristi Bredbenner
Key Departed Players:
Cacy Williams, 1B/OF, .365 BA, 14 HR, 50 RBI
Liz Broyles, SS/2B, .329 BA, 4 HR, 35 RBI
Brittany Fortner, OF, .319 BA, 5 HR
Key Returning Players:
Jenni Brooks, P, 3.23 ERA, 136.1 IP, 54 SO
Kaitlyn Malone, P, 4.18 ERA, 159.0 IP, 78 SO
Macklin Hitz, C/1B, .350 BA, 10 HR, 44 RBI
Paige Luellen, OF, .318 BA, 11 HR, 49 RBI
Ashley Johnson, OF, .316 BA, 0 HR, 14 RBI
Kelli Spring, IF, .313 BA, 0 HR, 12 RBI
Laurie Derrico, IF, .297 BA, 8 HR, 28 RBI
The Shockers not are a dominating team on the mound. The team ERA was 4.28 last season and that needs to be better if this team wants to take another trip to the NCAA Tournament. With Jenni Brooks and Kaitlyn Malone both returning, there are high expectations for the pitching staff. Brooks was the more consistent option, throwing 136.1 innings with a 3.23 ERA, but Malone with her ability to tally a ton of strikeouts, is the more dominating force on the mound when she can keep the ball in the park. The important thing is that Coach Bredbenner has two experienced seniors who have NCAA Tournament experience and the Shockers can ride the hot hand back to the top of the MVC.
Projected Postseason: NCAA Softball Tournament