This week leading up to the start of softball season, we will take a look at each position group, and today we continue with the pitching staff. The Bulls open the season on Friday at Southern University.
One of the areas that will see the most familiarity as the 2014 season begins is the pitching staff, where three players return from a year ago. Under the direction of first-year pitching coach Lacey Middlebrooks, this group looks to make a big turnaround from last season.
The staff is led by senior and All-MAC performer Tori Speckman, who finished last season with a 10-9 record and a 2.15 ERA, the fourth lowest in school history. Speckman, who was named to the All-MAC Second Team, became just the second UB pitcher honored by the league and the first since 2004. She struck out 108 batters in 130.0 innings, while walking just 28 all season.
Fellow senior Heather Ryder returns after making 21 appearances in the circle last year, including six starts. She picked up a pair of victories and struck out 32 in 65.2 innings pitched.
Also returning is sophomore Nicole Aviles, who had a 4-2 record in 21 appearances last season. She struck out 43 batters in 44.1 innings pitched, highlighted by a one-hitter where she struck out 12 batters in a victory over Ohio.
Joining the team this season is junior transfer Devon Rodriguez, who will see time both in the circle and in the infield. Last season, she made 35 appearances in the circle at Santa Ana College, finishing with a 13-5 record.
Another transfer in sophomore Bobbi Langlois completes the staff, but she will be redshirting this season after joining head coach Trena Peel from Hampton University.
Tomorrow we will previews UB's opening weekend in Louisiana.