#42 Florida International Softball 2019 Preview

Florida International Panthers
Overall Rank: #42
Conference Rank: #1 Conference USA
 Florida International Logo
If Florida International is going to win a Conference USA championship, it will largely depend on how their pitching staff develops. Shannon Saile is gone after pitching nearly half of the Panthers total innings last year. But there are talented options waiting their turn. Megan Kugelmann is the most experienced, tossing 101.1 innings last season with an 8-7 record and a 3.11 ERA. Sophomore Kendahl Dunford gained some valuable experience with 49.1 innings pitching and a healthy 2.70 ERA. Fellow sophomore Allison Muraskin came to FIU with high expectations after being named the Gatorade Florida Player of the Year during her senior prep season. However, she went 2-6 with a 3.31 ERA as a freshman with the Panthers. There were some very good outings though and Coach Heather Gelbard will hope that with that experience comes consistency.
2018: 30-25, 14-8
2018 Postseason: None
Coach: Heather Gelbard
Key Departed Players:
Kasandra Castle, C/1B, .296 BA, 8 HR, 37 RBI
Julia Gilbert, C/IF, .272 BA, 23 RBI
Shannon Saile, P, 1.93 ERA, 17-11 W/L, 181.0 IP, 267 SO
Key Returning Players:
Jackie Schoff, OF, .356 BA, 19 RBI, 14 SB
Tatyana Forbes, OF, .302 BA, 9 RBI, 11 SB
Jessica Rivera, IF, .283 BA, 4 HR, 27 RBI
Vanessa Gallegos, UTL, .268 BA, 5 HR, 37 RBI
Megan Kugelmann, P, 3.11 ERA, 8-7 W/L, 101.1 IP, 46 SO
Even if the pitching struggles at times, FIU has some decent bats that can help win some games. The team’s overall batting average was not great last year, but the top two hitters in that regard return. Jackie Schoff hit .356 last season and she should be in for a fine senior campaign. Tatyana Forbes, another senior outfielder, hit .302. Those two also bring speed to the base paths, although it should be noted that Schoff has a knack for finding the gaps and hit ten doubles and three triples last season. The power will come from Jessica Rivera and Vanessa Gallegos. Those two combined to hit nine homeruns and drive in 64 runs. If Coach Gelbard can find a few bats to plug in around those four, Florida International’s offense will see a big boost in production compared to last season.
Projected Postseason: NCAA Softball Tournament