Washington U. Softball Opens 2013 Season Saturday at Rhodes College Lynx Classic
St. Louis, Mo., February 21, 2013
– The Washington University in St. Louis softball team opens the 2013 campaign with four games at the Rhodes College Lynx Classic, held Saturday and Sunday, in Memphis, Tenn.
Washington U. takes on the host Rhodes at Noon on Saturday, followed by a contest with Transylvania University at 2 p.m. On Sunday, the Bears take on Rhodes at 10 a.m. and Transylvania at Noon.
Washington University returns seven starters and 12 letterwinners from last year’s squad that posted a 28-12 record and tied for second in the University Athletic Association (UAA). The Bears recorded their 10th-straight season with 25 or more wins, but missed the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2001.
Eighth-year head coach Leticia Pineda-Boutté returns three all-conference selections from a year ago in senior outfielder Ashley Janssen, junior outfielder Maggie Mullen and sophomore infielder Adrienne White.
“The leadership on this team has been very impressive to this point in preparing for our season,” said Pineda-Boutté. “This year's team returned from Winter break in great shape and ready to build on what we learned about ourselves in fall ball...and that is a direct testament of the returnees and what they want for this team.”
Janssen leads an experienced outfield after starting 35 games a year ago in center field. She led the team and was sixth in the UAA in batting average (.393). Janssen also had a .476 on-base percentage, tops on the team and third in the conference. She ranks fourth in school history in batting average (.385), eighth in stolen bases (24) and ninth in walks (43).
Mullen, a third-team National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) all-Midwest Region selection a year ago, made 39 starts in right field and hit .373 with a team-high six home runs and 28 RBIs. Mullen enters her junior season ranked second in school history in batting average (.404) and sixth in home runs (15).
White made 35 starts (15-second base; 20-third base) as a freshman and hit .371 with a home run and 27 RBIs. She will team up with sophomore shortstop Alyssa Wilson on the left side of the infield. Wilson played all 266 innings a year ago and batted .274 with nine RBIs. Sophomore Sydney Caldwell started 21 games at second base and hit .250 with two home runs and 15 RBIs.
The Bears have two experienced catchers in senior Sondra Polonsky and junior Stacy Berg. Polonsky hit .325 with 10 doubles and 22 RBIs in 30 starts, while Berg hit .262 with a home run and six RBIs in 10 starts.
Junior Kelsey Neal leads an inexperienced pitching staff for the Bears in 2013. Neal posted a 10-5 record with a 2.82 ERA on the mound, and also hit .330 with four home runs and 26 RBIs.
Washington University plays its first 22 games on the road, highlighted by six games at the NFCA Leadoff Classic March 8-10 in Columbus, Ga., followed by eight games at the UAA Championship Tournament March 12-16 in Altamonte Springs, Fla. The Bears have won seven UAA Championships in school history, and are seeking their first title since 2009.
“We will find out right away if this team is physically and emotionally ready to play,” said Pineda-Boutté. “These first 22 road games will certainly answer the question of whether this team is hungry to get back to postseason! If this team truly wants to make postseason and have an opportunity to do well...early season success will be key.”
Washington U. opens up its 16-game home schedule March 23-24, hosting the five-team Washington University/Mizuno Invitational. The Bears have six games scheduled against teams ranked in the NFCA Preseason Top-25 Poll.