#31 Long Beach State Softball 2019 Preview

Long Beach State 49ers
Overall Rank: #31
Conference Rank: #1 Big West
 Long Beach State Logo
Long Beach State returned to the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three seasons in 2018 as the 49ers won 43 games and just missed winning the Big West Conference.  Long Beach State was sent to the Tempe Regional and was eliminated in three games as they lost to Ole Miss twice and beat New Mexico State. There is plenty of offensive fire power returning for head coach Kim Sowder, but there are questions to be answered in the circle heading into 2019.
2018: 43-14, 16-5
2018 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Kim Sowder
Key Departed Players:
Cielo Meza, P, 1.46 ERA, 22-5 W/L, 172.1 IP, 65 BB, 219 SO
Jessica Flores, UTIL, .268 BA, 0 HR, 12 RBI, 2.85 ERA, 11-3 W/L, 122.2 IP, 73 BB, 80 SO
Julia Lombardi, INF, .318 BA, 5 HR, 20 RBI
Grayce Majam, INF, .289 BA, 2 HR, 15 RBI
Key Returning Players:
Taylor Rowland, INF, .351 BA, 12 HR, 58 RBI
Naomi Hernandez, OF, .387 BA, 4 HR, 37 RBI
Nichole Fry, INF, .372 BA, 7 HR, 41 RBI
Devyn Magnett, P, 3.08 ERA, 10-6 W/L, 91.0 IP, 31 BB, 42 SO
Tierra Falo, INF, .289 BA, 3 HR, 26 RBI
Jamie Wren, UTL, .273 BA, 1 HR, 23 RBI, 6 SB
The loss of Cielo Meza to Arizona State is a big one for the 49ers. Meza was the Big West Pitcher of the Year in 2018. She won 22 games and was very dominant across the board. Devyn Magnett will have to slide into the role of the ace for Long Beach State. Magnett was solid in 2018. She won ten games and did a nice job with her control as she only allowed 31 walks. Taylor Rowland is the best returning power hitter after hitting 12 homeruns and driving in 58 runs last season. Naomi Hernandez and Nichole Fry are also going to be a problem for opposing pitchers to deal with in 2019. Hernandez hit .387 with four homeruns and 37 runs batted in and was the Big West Conference Freshman of the Year. Fry hit seven homeruns and hit .372 in 2018 and was1stt Team All-Big West last season. The schedule has a good mix of quality teams that should set Long Beach State up nicely. If they can hang around .500 or slightly above prior to conference play, then they should be well positioned to get back to postseason. Cal State Fullerton visits on April 13-14 for a three-game series that will most likely decide the Big West title. If the 49ers can stay healthy all year long and get some solid pitching, they will win 35-40 games and get back to the NCAA Tournament.
Projected Postseason: NCAA Softball Tournament