#32 Oregon State Softball 2017 Preview

Oregon State Beavers
Overall Rank: #32
Conference Rank: #8 Pac-12
Oregon State Logo
After a couple of rebuilding seasons the Oregon State softball program took a nice step forward in 2016 as they won 30 games and returned to the NCAA Tournament. They also took a step forward within the Pac-12, winning nine conference games, which is the highest total of conference wins during the tenure of head coach Laura Berg. The 2017 season will bring plenty of increased optimism in Corvallis since there is plenty of experience returning in the everyday lineup along with staff ace Meehra Nelson in the circle for the Beavers. If a true number two starter can emerge to replace Bev Miller, Oregon State will have a shot to surpass 30 wins this season.
2016: 30-20-1, 9-14
2016 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Laura Berg
Key Departed Players:
Mikela Manewa, IF, .309 BA, 4 HR, 25 RBI
Madison Anthony, IF, .253 BA, 9 HR, 32 SB
Bev Miller, P, 155.1 IP, 3.24 ERA, 125 SO
Key Returning Players:
McKenna Arriola, IF, .368 BA, 0 HR, 23 RBI
Natalie Hampton, IF, .349 BA, 9 HR, 50 RBI
Shelby Weeks, OF, .345 BA, 1 HR, 15 RBI
Lovie Lopez, OF, .309 BA, 4 HR, 33 RBI
Jessica Garcia, OF, .246 BA, 0 HR, 11 RBI
Meehra Nelson, P, 174.1 IP, 2.93 ERA, 211 SO
The offensive production of Mikela Manewa and Madison Anthony will need to be replaced quickly. The duo combined for 13 homeruns and 57 runs batted in last season. Natalie Hampton is the best pure returning power hitter for the Beavers so if she can bump up her power numbers that will set a great tone for the rest of the lineup. McKenna Arriola, Shelby Weeks and Lovie Lopez are going to have to continue to maintain their consistency at the plate and that will keep opposing pitchers more honest. Jessica Garcia provides a very critical speed element to this lineup and will only become more dangerous if she can elevate her batting average closer to the .270 range this season. In the circle, Nelson should only get better in her sophomore season as the walks to strikeout ratio was excellent last year as a freshman with 67 walks and 211 strikeouts. If those numbers can get to about a 3.5 or 4-1 ratio between strikeouts to walks out, than Nelson should develop into one of the more dominant pitchers in the Pac-12 this season. Nelson also set the school record for saves in a season with seven. Overall, look for another rock solid season out of the Beavers in Corvallis. They should make their second straight trip to the NCAA Tournament and be a tough out in any regional.
Projected Postseason: NCAA Softball Tournament