#42 Wichita State Softball 2015 Preview

Wichita State Shockers

Overall Rank: #42
Conference Rank: #1 Missouri Valley
#42 Wichita State Softball 2015 Preview
Wichita State Team Page


The 2014 season was a great step forward for Wichita State softball. The Shockers won 34 games and were the best team in the Missouri Valley Conference throughout the regular season with 21 conference wins. The offense also put up some historic numbers, such as breaking the highest batting average record (set in 1978 at .305) with a .314 average, highest slugging percentage (set in 1978 at .446) with a .492 average, runs scored (set in 2005 at 293) with 314, most hits (set in 2005 at 458) with 472, home runs (set in 2005 at 52) with 56 were among several records. Several key returners from last year’s 34 win season are back in 2015 and this Wichita State is locked in on getting back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2005.

2014: 34-21, 21-6
2014 Postseason: None
Coach: Kristi Bredbenner

Field Players:
There is a very nice balance of power and speed throughout the Wichita State lineup. The Shockers when clicking on all cylinders can beat you in many different ways, starting with infielder/outfielder Cacy Williams, who led Wichita State with 16 homeruns, 47 runs batted in and scored 57 runs. Williams also had a .531 on-base percentage last season and has a very disciplined eye at the plate and does not strike out much. Catcher/infielder Melanie Jaegers provides a key element of speed. Jaegers stole 15 bases last season to lead the Shockers offense. Junior outfielder Brittany Fortner is another explosive player in the Wichita State lineup, as she was second on the team in 2014 with a .358 batting average and she also can beat you with her power at the plate and hit eight home runs.

Kaitlyn Malone is going to have to be the ace in the circle for the Shockers in 2015. Malone was 16-7 with a 4.33 earned run average in 30 starts last season for Wichita State. If Malone can cut down on the amount of walks in relation to strike outs that will be a huge asset for her in 2015. Malone walked 77 batters and struck out only 110 last season. If she can get her strikeout numbers to be about three or four times the amount of walks then that will really propel Wichita State into the NCAA Tournament conversation.

Who to Watch:
With the loss of Sloan Anderson, it is going to be very interesting to see who steps up and becomes that second primary starting pitcher in the circle for the Shockers. Keep an eye on freshman Kelsey Sterneker to get the first shot at laying claim to that number two starting pitcher position. Also, pitcher/outfielder Jenni Brooks, who started six games in 2014, will also get a long look to try and get more time in the circle when not playing in the outfield. Sophomore utility player Paige Luellen is another key player to watch. She will be looking to build off of an excellent freshman season where she hit .354 and hit eight homeruns along with driving in 48.

Final Projection:
The non-conference schedule is very strong and should provide plenty of opportunities for tournament resume boosting wins for the Shockers. The opening day of the season brings a road test at Baylor to the table and that will be a great litmus test for Wichita State, as the Bears went to the Women’s College World Series last season. Texas, Stanford and UCLA also await in non-conference tests on the road or at neutral sites. Oklahoma also pays a visit to Wilkins Stadium on March 4th. If the Shockers can continue to be aggressive offensively and just get a little bit more efficient in the circle in regard to cutting down on the amount of baserunners allowed then Wichita State should be able to get back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2005.
Projected Postseason: NCAA Softball Tournament

Returning Leaders:
At Bats: Brittany Fortner, OF, 173; Kelli Spring, UTL, 173
Hits: Cacy Williams, IF/OF, 72
Home Runs: Cacy Williams, IF/OF, 16
RBIs: Cacy Williams, IF/OF, 47
Runs: Cacy Williams, IF/OF, 57
Stolen Bases: Melanie Jaegers, C/IF, 15

Wins: Kaitlyn Malone, P, 16
Innings Pitched: Kaitlyn Malone, P, 153.2
Strikeouts: Kaitlyn Malone, P, 110
Complete Games: Kaitlyn Malone, P, 8


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