#34 Oklahoma State Softball 2017 Preview

Oklahoma State Cowgirls
Overall Rank: #34
Conference Rank: #4 Big 12
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Oklahoma State made it back to postseason for the first time since the 2011 season under the direction of head coach Kenny Gajewski, who got the Cowgirls pointed in the right direction as a team in year one of his tenure. With the return of 2016 Co-Big 12 Player of the Year Vanessa Shippy to lead a very balanced offensive lineup in 2017, look for Oklahoma State to be able to stay in a lot of games because of their ability to score runs. They scored 339 runs last season and hit 53 homeruns as a team. The key is going to be if they can they slow down their opponents in the circle consistently enough to contend for the Big 12 championship.
2016: 32-26, 6-11
2016 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Kenny Gajewski
Key Departed Players:
Tiffany Mikkelson, OF, .290 BA, 11 HR, 53 RBI
Kacy Freeze, P, 188.1 IP, 3.98 ERA, 96 SO
Key Returning Players:
Vanessa Shippy, UTIL, .425 BA, 4 HR, 31 RBI, 21 SB
Taylor Lynch, IF, .391 BA, 6 HR, 40 RBI
Madi Sue Montgomery, UTL, .320 BA, 9 HR, 57 RBI
Kristin Reasnor, IF/DP, .330 BA, 8 HR, 36 RBI
Maddi Holcomb, IF, .350 BA, 3 HR, 22 RBI
Darcy Taylor, IF, .237 BA, 6 HR, 29 RBI
Shea Coats, P, 70.0 IP, 4.80 ERA, 44 SO
Brandi Needham, P, 115.2 IP, 5.45 ERA, 62 SO
The ability to generate runs in multiple ways will be a significant asset for Oklahoma State this season. Shippy has the right mix of an ability to hit for a high average and speed to cause nightmares for opposing pitchers. Taylor Lynch, Madi Sue Montgomery and Kristin Reasnor are going to have to increase their power production to replace the lost production of Tiffany Mikkelson from last season as Mikkelson led the Cowgirls with 11 homeruns. Darcy Taylor will become even more of an offensive force if she can reverse her strikeout and walk totals from last season. Taylor can definitely hit for plenty of power but in a league where you have to deal with teams like Oklahoma, an increase of about 25-30 points batting average wise for Taylor would be a big game changer for this lineup. In the circle, Shea Coats is going to have to take a step forward and eat up innings to replace Kacy Freezeā€™s workload from last season. Brandi Needham is going to be key as well in the circle as she threw 115.2 innings, but allowed 161 hits. That number has to even out if the Cowgirls are going to make a run at 40 plus wins this season. If the pitching can evolve and just be slightly above average, then Oklahoma State will be back in the NCAA Tournament without too much difficulty.
Projected Postseason: NCAA Softball Tournament


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