#33 Brigham Young Softball Preview

Brigham Young Cougars

Overall Rank: #33
Conference Rank: #1 Pacific Coast
BYU College Softball Top 44 Team Preview

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Coach Gordon Eakin takes his club into their third conference in three years.  After nine years in the Mountain West and five league titles, and one year in the WAC that ended in another title, the Cougars move to the Pacific Coast Softball Conference.  Coach Eakin has been at BYU since the program inception, getting the head job in 2002.  He is a three time MWC Coach of Year, has captured six conference championships including five MWC and one WAC and reached the NCAA Tournament eight years in a row.  The 2012 team’s offense was typically potent, helping them post regular season wins over Oregon, Texas A&M and Hawaii, eventually losing in the NCAA Regionals to World Series participant Oregon.  Coach Eakin’s bunch routinely finishes in the top 10 nationally in slugging percentage, home runs, batting average and scoring.  2012 was no different.  BYU had the second highest team batting average, was seventh in scoring and ninth in slugging.

2012: 45-15, 15-4
2012 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Gordon Eakin, 11th Season

Field Players:
Junior Katie Manuma plays first and third base.  She hit .316 with eight home runs, drove in 40 and walked 28 times.  Carly Duckworth returns to the outfield where she started 26 games and hit .276.  Ashley Brawnee Robinson brings some experience back at third.  She hit .264 in 43 starts.

The Cougars return two 20-game winners from 2012.  Tori Almond, a 6’1” junior, earned All-WAC honors and finished the season with the highest single season winning percentage in BYU history going 20-4.  Tori posted a 2.00 ERA.  Senior Hannah Howell was 20-8 with a 2.74 ERA.

Who to Watch:
Senior middle infielder JC Clayton earned Easton All-American honors in 2012 and was the only player in the nation ranked in the top-25 at the end of the regular season in hits (#5, 73), runs scored (#22, 50), average (#23, .427) and triples (#25, 4).  Her batting average led the WAC and her hit, run and triple totals led BYU.  

Final Projection:
The Cougars lost a significant portion of their 2012 offense, including WAC Player of the Year Delaney Williard, who hit 18 HR’s, 17 doubles and slugged .857.  Coach Eakin will lean heavily on JC Clayton to set the table and count on his pair of 20-games winners in the circle to shut down opposing hitters.  If, as his team’s usually do, they dial up the offensive numbers, the Cougars have a good chance to win their fifth conference title in a row and reach the NCAA Tournament for the ninth straight time.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Softball Tournament

Returning Leaders:
At Bats: JC Clayton, IF, 195
Hits: JC Clayton, IF, 79
Home Runs: Katie Manuma, IF, 8
RBIs: Katie Manuma, IF, 40
Runs: JC Clayton, IF, 53
Stolen Bases: JC Clayton, IF, 13

Wins: Tori Almond, P, 20; Hannah Howell, P, 20
Innings Pitched: Hannah Howell, P, 196.2
Strikeouts: Tori Almond, P, 154
Saves: Hannah Howell, P, 2


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