#16 South Alabama Softball 2014 Preview

South Alabama Jaguars

Overall Rank: #16
Conference Rank: #2 Sun Belt
#16 South Alabama Softball 2014 Preview
South Alabama Team Page


Major success through the season ended in disappointment in 2013 for the Jaguars. One of the few teams to post single digits in the loss column, USA finished off the regular season at 48-9 overall with a 17-3 Sun Belt Conference mark. They won the Sun Belt conference by defeating Western Kentucky in the championship game, earned a #13 ranking and were rewarded with a regional host seeding. Winning three games in the regional wasn’t enough, however, and dropping the final game to Florida State ended their season long before they had hoped.

2013: 48-9, 17-3
2013 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Becky Clark, 9th year

Field Players:
As the lone returning position-playing senior, right fielder Julie Moss will be counted on to lead The Jag’s offense. She has the highest returning batting average at .358, and finished second of all team returners in at-bats (165), runs (40), hits (59), and home runs (8). Junior left fielder Blair Johnson will share the load, and topped most of those categories (189 at-bats, 43 runs, 61 hits, 38 RBI). Second baseman junior Kaitlyn Griffith led South Alabama with ten round-trippers, and designated player Emily Messer hit .278 and led the squad with 12 stolen Bases. Coach Clark’s challenge will be to fill the vacated first base, shortstop, and third base positions.

Senior Hannah Campbell and Junior Farish Beard return to make life easy for Coach Clark. One-half of the one of the best one-two punches in the nation last year, Campbell was 22-9 in 207.2 innings, struck out 168 opposing hitters and held the opposition to a stingy .184 batting average. She finished the season ranked second in the nation in ERA, giving up just over one earned run per game (1.08). Impressive numbers for sure, but consider that Beard posted 23 wins against NO losses, fanned 201 in just 143.1 innings and held the competition to a .134 batting average. With returning Junior Kaleigh Floore (just 3.2 innings pitched), South Alabama’s pitching staff finished third in the country in Team ERA at 1.43 behind Oklahoma and South Florida, respectively. Freshman Holly Mckinnon joins the already strong staff from North Marion High School in Florida.

Who to Watch:
The Underclassmen. Moss is the only returning senior position player, along with three returning starters who are now juniors. With graduation and the transfer of Haley Fagan to Auburn, the Jags need to replace 137 RBIs and 31 home runs. Sophomore Clara Bowen hit .308 in limited action, leaving fellow sophomore Emily Messer (.278, 12 RBI, 12 stolen bases) as the only experienced underclassman. Rookies Taylor Rodgers, Amanda Minahan, and Chloe Rathbun join the Jags seeking to make an impact.

Final Projection:
South Alabama is built on pitching and defense, and that won’t change in 2014. Now on the national map, provided that the pitching holds up, the Jags should be invited to the NCAA whether they win the Sun Belt or not.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Softball Tournament

Returning Leaders:
At Bats: Blair Johnson, LF, 189
Hits: Blair Johnson, LF, 61
Home Runs: Kaitlyn Griffith, 2B, 10
RBIs: Blair Johnson, LF, 38
Runs: Blair Johnson, LF, 43
Stolen Bases: Emily Messer, DP, 12

Wins: Farish Beard, 23
Innings Pitched: Hannah Campbell, 207.2
Strikeouts: Farish Beard, 201
Saves: Hannah Campbell, 6

Madness 2014 NPF Draft Rankings:
#16 Hanna Campbell

Madness 2014 Softball Recruit Rankings:
#38 Holly Mckinnon


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