2018 SEASON OUTLOOK
MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – The Wesleyan University softball team is looking to make some noise in the NESCAC West Division during the 2018 season, as the Cardinals have a nice blend of veterans and rookies with 10 newcomers and nine returning players under 17th-year head coach Jen Lane.
The Cardinals will open up their season on their spring break trip, featuring 12 games in a eight-day span. The journey starts with a doubleheader against RPI and Marian (Wis.) in Clermont, Fla.
The group will conclude its run in Florida, with games against Clarkson and Wooster. Then, the unit will return to Middletown, Conn., for its home opener, as the team will square off in doubleheader action against Coast Guard.
The Cardinals, who finished the 2017 season at 12-20 overall and 3-9 in the West Division, will look to set the tone early in their conference slate, as they will open their league schedule against Little Three-rival Amherst in a three-game series.
Overall, the Cardinals' schedule features 34 games, with 12 NESCAC West matchups and 11 home games, as the regular-season concludes with a three-game series against West Division-rival Middlebury.
Two years ago, Wesleyan reeled off a 21-14 season, and back in 2013, with Lane at the helm, the squad compiled 24 wins, which is tied for the most in school history. The 2013 group also won the program's second Little Three crown.
The 2010 season will go down as one of the most successful years for the Cardinals, with Wesleyan winning its first-ever NESCAC Championship, and rattling off a school-record 24 wins en route to qualifying for the NCAA Division III Tournament for the first time in program history.
Altogether, the Cardinals have qualified for the NESCAC postseason five times, including four in a row from 2007-10. During that four-year window, Wesleyan won 83 games and went 36-12 in the NESCAC, with the 2008 and 2009 teams earning runner-up recognition during the conference championship.
The 2018 team will be anchored by Lane, who has surrounded herself with a pair of highly-qualified assistant coaches in Kristyn Ryan and Meaghan Constant. Jamie Hom '17 will transition from the field to the sideline as a student-assistant coach this year.
Senior pitcher Julie McDonald will enter her second season as a captain, and senior catcher Rielly Wieners will begin her first year in the role. McDonald, a Commack, N.Y. native, earned All-NESCAC Second Team laurels at the conclusion of the 2016 season, and Wieners, who hails from West Springfield, Mass., earned that same honor in 2016 and 2017. Wieners was able named to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Division III All-New England Third Team last spring.
MEET THE TEAM
- In addition to McDonald and Wieners, Wesleyan's seven other returning athletes consist of juniors Sophia Raia, Kendall Carr and Olivia Gorman, and sophomores Jo Jo Diaz, Rachel Curran, Hayley Lipson and Erica Horowitz.
- Wieners led the 2017 Cardinals in batting average (.351), RBIs (22), home runs (five), slugging percentage (.577), while also boasting an outstanding .994 fielding percentage behind the plate with only one error.
- McDonald carried the bulk of the load on the mound, maintaining a 3.21 ERA with an 8-11 record, as she worked 124 1/3 innings, and recorded 91 strikeouts. Additionally, the superb athlete compiled a .336 batting average and a home run, to go along with team highs of 36 hits and eight doubles.
- Carr, who plays first base, did a little bit of everything, tallying 35 hits, 18 runs, 17 RBIs, three doubles, two triples and one homer. Gorman chipped in with 24 hits and 16 runs, while Lipson connected on 22 hits and three doubles, and Curran registered seven hits, four RBIs and three runs.
- Raia, Horowitz and Diaz all received playing time during the 2017 campaign, as the athletes are looking to take the next step in their careers.
- Wesleyan is ecstatic to welcome its rookie class of Alyssa DaSilva, Brenna Monroe, Danielle Rinaldi, Lauren Gaffney-Gomez, AyJay Mulholland, Marina Williams, Fiona Skerrett, Maddie Ikeda, Maria Noto and Katy O'Connor.
HEAD COACH JEN LANE
"The 2018 Wesleyan softball team is a hard-working, competitive, positive and fun group with high expectations. They push each other every day in practice to get better. Senior captains Julie McDonald and Rielly Wieners have done an excellent job leading this group, especially in making all 10 of the freshmen feel welcomed, and an immediate part of the team. With a pitching staff of five, it gives us more options, especially in our three-game NESCAC West Division series. Our immediate goal is to continue to improve every day, while our long-term goal is to get into the NESCAC Tournament and see what we can make happen."