#35 Tulsa Softball 2017 Preview

Tulsa Golden Hurricanes
Overall Rank: #35
Conference Rank: #1 American
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Tulsa brings back a very experienced team in 2017 and the Golden Hurricanes will be looking to build off of the American Athletic Conference Tournament Championship and trip to the NCAA Tournament in 2016. Tulsa has become a highly competitive program under the direction of head coach John Bargfeldt as the Golden Hurricanes have appeared in the NCAA Tournament in five of the last six seasons. Thus, despite having to replace Caitlin Sill in the circle and Catherine Horner behind the plate, this Tulsa team has the depth in its offensive lineup to win the American Athletic Conference if they can stay healthy all year long.
2016: 35-21, 9-9
2016 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: John Bargfeldt
Key Departed Players:
Catherine Horner, C, .269 BA, 1 HR, 25 RBI
Caitlin Sill, P, 182.2 IP, 1.84 ERA, 95 SO
Key Returning Players:
Shelby Estocado, IF, .329 BA, 11 HR, 41 RBI
Maddie Withee, OF/C, .329 BA, 6 HR, 45 RBI
Maggie Withee, IF, .378 BA, 0 HR, 9 RBI
Julia Hollingsworth, OF, .343 BA, 2 HR, 30 RBI
Morgan Neal, IF, .300 BA, 3 HR, 22 RBI
Emily Watson, P, 123.0 IP, 2.28 ERA, 173 SO
Shelby Estocado, who spent time with the US National Team this offseason, is going to be the lynchpin to this Golden Hurricanes lineup this season. Estocado can just about do it all. She hits for a high average and has plenty of power after blasting 11 homeruns last season. Maddie and Maggie Withee are going to lengthen this lineup in 2017 and they have a dynamic mix of making great contact and timely power. Julia Hollingsworth will be the speed demon threat on the bases after stealing 12 of 13 bases last year as a freshman and will be looking to take that total to well over 20 this season. Emily Watson will have a bigger workload in the circle. Watson displayed great control, walking just 46 batters while striking out 173 in 123 innings of work. The tough non-conference schedule should prepare Tulsa well for conference play when they open up with a series against USF, who they beat 4-0 for the automatic bid to the 2016 NCAA Tournament last May. If the Golden Hurricanes can win that series they will be in great position to win the American Athletic Conference and get back to the NCAA Tournament for the sixth time in seven seasons.
Projected Postseason: NCAA Softball Tournament