#25 Texas Softball 2017 Preview

Texas Longhorns
Overall Rank: #25
Conference Rank: #3 Big 12
Last year Texas made their 12th consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament, going to the Lafayette Regional where they were eliminated after losses to host team Louisiana, 9-1, and Texas A&M, 9-3, ending their season. The team decided to make a coaching change after the season ended replacing long time hitting coach Corrie Hill with former Oklahoma Sooner hitting coach Tripp McKay.  Last year the team had some problems winning road games. While they were 24-5 playing at Red & Charline McCombs Field, on the road they could only manage a losing 7-8 record. Texas will be without power hitting outfielder Lindsey Stephens this year, who put up some impressive offensive numbers last season, along with infielder Stephanie Ceo and catcher Erin Shireman, who will also be missed for their solid play.
2016: 38-16, 10-7
2016 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Connie Clark
Key Departed Players:
Lindsey Stephens, OF, .407 BA, 15 HR, 46 RBI
Stephanie Ceo, IF, .273 BA, 0 HR, 12 RBI
Erin Shireman, C/IF, .235 BA, 1 HR, 7 RBI
Key Returning Players:
Tiarra Davis, P/IF, 1.97 ERA, 213.0 IP, 186 SO
Paige von Sprecken, P, 2.91 ERA, 98.2 IP, 61 SO
Celina Felix, 3B/SS, .358 BA, 8 HR, 39 RBI
Stephanie Wong, OF, .232 BA, 1 HR, 14 RBI
Reagan Hathaway, OF/C, .309 BA, 5 HR, 30 RBI
Even though Texas star player Lindsey Stephens is gone due to graduation, the team is returning five everyday starters that combined provided the majority of the teams hitting power for last season. Also back are starting pitchers Tiarra Davis and Paige von Sprecken. Time will tell if the team's freshmen phenom pitcher Erica Wright, who was forced to redshirt the entire 2016 season because of an injury, can come back and show the same form she had before the injury. Texas is set up to have a good season with their strong returning pitching staff and core of hitters, who also have some speed on the bases. They also have a strong group of freshmen coming in that should push the veteran players and add to the team’s available talent pool. Look for Texas to make its 13th consecutive bid to the NCAA Tournament this season.
Projected Postseason: NCAA Softball Tournament