MIDDLETOWN, Conn. - Under the guidance of head coach Jen Lane, who is entering her 15th season as head coach, the Wesleyan University softball team begins the 2016 season looking to make it back to the NESCAC tournament after missing out the past two seasons. The Cardinals will welcome back 10 players from last year's team including leading hitters Isabella Linzer '17 and Annalie Walsh-Costello '17. The returners will be joined by six freshmen whom Coach Lane hopes will make a great impact on the team.
Wesleyan finished last season with an overall record of 14-17-1 and a 4-8 mark in the NESCAC West. The Cardinals began their season in Clearwater, Fla., where they went 6-6, including a 5-1 mark in the final six games. Upon returning home, the Cardinals swept double-headers against Hamilton and Trinity, and played to a 3-3 tie in eight innings against Eastern Connecticut as the game was called due to darkness. Wesleyan won two of their final three games to end the year.
2016 SEASON OUTLOOK
The Cardinals will open the 2016 season Tuesday, March 8th in Clermont Fla., where they will play 14 games in nine days. Wesleyan will then get a week off before opening their NESCAC schedule with a home double-header against Trinity College Saturday, March 26 at home. Wesleyan returns many of their top players from last year's team, including four of their top five hitters, as well as their top two pitchers. Seniors Mollie Grunat and Amanda Roosa will serve as captains for the Cardinals.
Linzer lead the team offensively last season with a .346 average, and added 12 RBI, while Walsh-Costello ranked second on the squad in batting average with a .304 mark. Rielly Wieners '17 returns to the lineup after posted the third-highest batting average a year ago (.303), while also posting 12 RBI, and led the team in doubles with 10. Additionally, Pardo looks to build off her impressive 2015 season too, in which she ranked fourth on the team with a .293 batting average, and tied for the team lead in RBIs with 16. Overall, the 2015 squad finished with a team average of .278 and 101 RBIs.
Wesleyan also returns their top two pitchers in Julie McDonald '18 and Pardo. McDonald finished last season with a 2.47 ERA and an 8-8 record, pitching 116.1 innings while racking up 102 strikeouts and allowing only 36 walks. Pardo finished with a 2.61 ERA and a 4-5 record after pitching 69.2 innings with 74 strikeouts and 22 walks. The 2015 pitching staff combined for a ERA of 3.17, 183 strikeouts and 67 walks.
In the field, the Cardinals also return some of their best defensive players. The 2015 team finished with a .942 fielding percentage, highlighted by Grunat's .987 fielding percentage, and Pardo's .977 mark.