#43 Drake Softball 2021 Preview

Drake Bulldogs
Overall Rank: #43
Conference Rank: #1 Missouri Valley
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Drake won 43 games, the Missouri Valley Conference title and earned a trip to the Minneapolis Regional in 2019. The Bulldogs went 1-2 up in Minnesota as they beat North Dakota State and dropped a pair of hard-fought games against Georgia. Drake will be looking for their third consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament as they have won 88 games over the course of 2018 and 2019. The culture and expectation of winning is in place for head coach Rich Calvert and his staff. It will be up to the players to continue to build upon that success despite a disappointing start to the 2020 campaign.
2019: 43-16, 24-2
2019 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Rich Calvert
Key Departed Players:
Kennedy Frank, INF, .333 BA, 2 HR, 42 RBI, 15 SB
Taryn Pena, INF, .252 BA, 8 HR, 43 RBI
Nicole Newman, P, 1.07 ERA, 29-7 W-L, 221.2 IP, 45 BB, 423 SO, 261 BA, 5 HR, 44 RBI
Mandi Roemmich, INF, .380 BA, 0 HR, 32 RBI
Sarah Maddox, INF, .322 BA, 3 HR, 21 RBI
Abby Buie, OF, .268 BA, 0 HR, 9 RBI, 17 SB
Key Returning Players:
Libby Ryan, UTIL, .338 BA, 3 HR, 34 RBI, 26 SB
Macy Johnson, OF, .331 BA, 0 HR, 24 RBI, 23 SB
Nicole Timmons, P, 2.95 ERA, 14-9 W-L, 152.0 IP, 86 BB, 153 SO
The biggest challenge facing the Bulldogs in 2020 was attempting to replace Nicole Newman in the circle. Newman was utterly dominant in 2019 as she won 29 games, walked only 45 batters, struck out 423 in 221.2 innings and posted a 1.07 earned run average. Nicole Timmons will be expected to be the ace for Drake heading into the 2021 season. Timmons had a strong sophomore campaign as she went 14-9 with a 2.95 earned run average and struck out 153 batters in 152 innings. Expect Timmons to continue to attack the zone with her increased workload to try and offset a little bit of Newman’s production. Libby Ryan and Macy Johnson will provide a nice mix of ability to hit for high average and speed as they combined for 49 stolen bases in 2019. The problem the Bulldogs faces is in the power hitting department. Emily Valtman and Kristen Arias will be asked to contribute quite a bit in 2021 if Drake has any hope of repeating their recent successes.
Projected Postseason: NCAA Softball Tournament