#6 UCLA Softball 2017 Preview

UCLA Bruins
Overall Rank: #6
Conference Rank: #1 Pac 12
UCLA clawed their way back to the Women’s College World Series in 2016 as they went on the road in the Super Regionals to Eugene and knocked out rival Oregon in a front of a very raucous Duck fanbase. The Bruins were resilient and also very adept at crushing the ball offensively and UCLA hit 67 homeruns as a team during the 2016 season. Heading into the 2017 season, the Bruins return their pitching staff and plenty of experience offensively, which will make UCLA a favorite to win the Pac-12 Conference title.
2016: 40-16-1, 16-5-1
2016 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Kelly Inouye-Perez
Key Departed Players:
Allexis Bennett, OF, .400 BA, 0 HR, 22 RBI, 12 SB
Mysha Sataraka, IF, .380 BA, 15 HR, 59 RBI
Key Returning Players:
Kylee Perez, IF, .388 BA, 4 HR, 35 RBI
Delaney Spaulding, IF, .341 BA, 17 HR, 61 RBI
Madeline Jelenicki, C/IF, .301 BA, 13 HR, 50 RBI
Paige Halstead, C/UTIL, .289 BA, 4 HR, 28 RBI
Gabrielle Maurice, OF, .273 BA, 7 HR, 32 RBI
Paige McDuffee, P, 46.1 IP, 3.32 ERA, 18 BB, 17 SO
Selina Ta’amilo, P, 153.1 IP, 3.52 ERA, 58 BB, 120 SO
Johanna Grauer, P, 173.1 IP, 3.88 ERA, 83 BB, 84 SO
On most days, UCLA should be able to outslug their opponents as the returning everyday lineup is still going to be very deep and talented across the board. Delaney Spaulding and Madeline Jelenicki combined for 30 homeruns and 111 runs batted in last season and are primed to equal or surpass those numbers in 2017. Spaulding and Jelenicki also drew 39 walks and that number should increase in the event that teams just give up on trying to get them and just pitch around them in key situations. The production of Allexis Bennett will have to be replaced. Bennett hit .400 in 2016 and was flawless defensively committing zero errors. Kylee Perez will help make up for some of the lost production from Bennett. She has the speed to cause some havoc on the bases and is a prime candidate to steal 10 plus bases this season. Regarding the pitching staff, a big point of emphasis for Johanna Grauer will have to be control. She walked 83 batters and struck out 84 in 173.1 innings of work. Grauer’s effectiveness will skyrocket if she can get her strikeout to walk ratio closer to 2:1 instead almost 1:1 like she had in 2016. Selina Ta’amilo did a rock solid job last season, winning 19 games and keeping her offense in most games. Ta’amilo will also be looking to build upon her 3.52 earned run average by trying to lower that down closer to three. If she can allow fewer hits since 167 in 153.1 innings is a little too high, it would be helpful too. Paige McDuffee should be in the mix to throw more innings in 2017 and take some of the workload of Grauer and Ta’amilo. McDuffee limited opposing hitters to a .238 batting average in 46.1 innings of work. Look for another strong 45-50 win type of season in Westwood with a great shot to return to the Women’s College World Series.
Projected Postseason: NCAA Softball Tournament


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