#27 Oklahoma State Softball Preview

Oklahoma State Cowgirls

Overall Rank: #27
Conference Rank: #4 Big 12
Oklahoma State College Softball Top 44 Team Preview

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Coach Rich Wieligman and the Oklahoma State Cowgirls look to rebound from a disappointing 2012, finishing under .500 for the first time since 2007, just one year removed from a trip to the Women’s College World Series.  Coach Wieligman is optimistic about the upcoming campaign, “We feel really good with our one and two pitchers back, our speed on offense is back and we have added some middle of the lineup.  I liked our work ethic this fall and our understanding the importance of preparation.  The club’s attitude has been awesome and our players can’t wait to compete on the field.”  Coach Wieligman returns 11 letter winners and brings in six newcomers, one transfer and five freshmen.  The skipper has amassed a challenging schedule, playing 24 teams in 2013 that made last season’s NCAA Tournament.

2012: 25-26, 8-16
2012 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Rich Wieligman, 6th Season

Field Players:
Senior Tamara Brown comes back for her last season after hitting .303.  Her Head Coach says, “she will be catching and playing outfield, should hit in the middle of lineup and provide RBI’s and give us good consistent at bats.”   At the top of the order sophomore Shelby Davis and junior Ari Morrison will try to provide a spark.  Davis led her squad in hitting (.310) while Morrison hit .288 and swiped 14 bases, best among her teammates.  Coach Wieligman will count on their experience and look for others to step it up.  “Davis’ and Morrison’s speed will help us manufacture runs.  We need a couple of returners like sophomore Gessenia Delacruz to make more of an impact on offense.  She will be at shortstop.”

Senior Kat Espinosa and junior Australian Simone Freeman return, having thrown 328 of the clubs 348 innings in 2012.  Espinosa won 15, had 18 complete games finishing with a 2.38 ERA.  Simone actually made more starts (24) than Espinosa (21).  She ended with seven wins, posting a 2.74 ERA.  Coach Wieligman replaced pitching coach Clarisa Crowell, who took the Miami (Ohio) Head job with all-time Alabama great Kelsi Dunne.  He feels good about this coming season in the circle, “Anytime you bring back your one and two and you have been able to get to OKC with them, you have to feel good about your pitching staff.  I really like how hard they have worked in the off season developing pitches and just sharpening their skills.  We should see an improved staff for the 2012 season.”

Who to Watch:
The even keeled Wieligman looks for help from a few of his freshmen.  “Tiffany Mikkelson will start at 3rd and hit in the four hole.  She brings a lot of power to the table and should impact our lineup with good run production both with RBI’s and runs scored.  Also, Chelsea Ross had a good fall at the plate, tremendous power and ability to drive in runs.  Chelsea will also help us out in the circle.”  Ross is an All-State player in Missouri where she was 66-16 with 1.17 ERA as a prep star.

Final Projection:
The Cowgirls will rebound in 2013 from an uncharacteristically poor offensive performance last spring.  Coach Wieligman acknowledged the need for improvement, “We have a number of upperclassmen that need to step up on the offensive side, Stephanie Brewer, Amy Graham, Tarah Ettinger, Simone Freeman and Sam Chrisman.  If we can get just a couple of these kids to have good seasons, our lineup will be one of our deepest we have ever had at OSU.”  Expect the Cowgirls to return to more of their 2011 form, finish in the middle of the tough Big 12, finish above .500 and get back to the NCAA Tournament.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Softball Tournament

Returning Leaders:
At Bats: Ari Morrison, 2B, 146
Hits: Tamara Brown, UTL and Shelby Davis, OF, 44
Home Runs: Taylor Woodall, C, 2
RBIs: Tamara Brown, UTL, 14
Runs: Ari Morrison, 2B, 21
Stolen Bases: Ari Morrison, 2B, 14

Wins: Kat Espinosa, P, 15
Innings Pitched: Kat Espinosa, P, 191.1
Strikeouts: Kat Espinosa, P, 143
Saves: Kat Espinosa, P, 3

Madness 2013 Softball Recruit Rankings:
#84 Erika Campbell


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