#29 BYU Softball 2018 Preview

BYU Cougars
Overall Rank: #29
Conference Rank: #1 West Coast
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BYU has been a very consistent program under the direction of head coach Gordon Eakin. The Cougars have been to the Regional round of the NCAA Tournament every year since 2005 and show no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Last season the Cougars ran roughshod through the West Coast Conference and went to the Salt Lake City Regional where they knocked off Mississippi State from the SEC and made it to the Regional final before falling for the second time to Utah. Offensively, BYU should be loaded as always but in the circle they do have to replace the top pitcher in program history in McKenna Bull, which is no easy task.
2017: 46-13, 14-1
2017 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Gordon Eakin
Key Departed Players:
Ashley Thompson, IF, .339 BA, 8 HR, 41 RBI, 16 SB
Lauren Bell, IF, .314 BA, 2 HR, 30 RBI
McKenna Bull, P, 1.37 ERA, 30-7 W-L, 214.1 IP, 230 SO
Key Returning Players:
Lexi Tarrow, OF, .395 BA, 3 HR, 30 RBI, 7 SB
Libby Sugg, 1B/C, .356 BA, 13 HR, 56 RBI
Caitlyn Alldredge, IF, .344 BA, 10 HR, 42 RBI
Brooke Vander Heide, OF, .340 BA, 0 HR, 14 RBI, 10 SB
Rylee Jensen, OF, .338 BA, 6 HR, 34 RBI, 7 SB
Alexa Strid, IF/OF, .317 BA, 5 HR, 32 RBI
Brielle Breland, OF/IF, .287 BA, 5 HR, 29 RBI, 7 SB
Arissa Paulson, P, 2.81 ERA, 11-3 W-L, 102.0 IP, 97 SO
There is a nice balance to the out of conference schedule with a mix of teams ranging from Oklahoma to a road trip to Seattle that will have the Cougars take on Alabama and Washington. Libby Sugg, Lexi Tarrow, Caitlyn Alldredge will form the core of the everyday lineup that can score runs with anyone in the nation. Tarrow just missed hitting .400 last season and Sugg has versatility in the field to go along with her power after hitting 13 homeruns last season. Brooke Vander Heide, Rylee Jensen, Alex Strid and Brielle Breland will lengthen the lineup in a fashion that will drive opposing teams crazy all year long. Arissa Paulson will be the next one up in the circle to try and fill the shoes of Bull. Paulson did a nice job as the number two starter last season as she won 11 games, only allowied three homeruns and held opponents to a .226 batting average. Thus, with the increased workload and a quality offense behind Paulson, look for her to win 25-30 or so games this season. Overall, BYU should win around 40 games and get back to the NCAA Tournament once again in 2018.
Projected Postseason: NCAA Softball Tournament