Story by Blake Bernier, Staff writer
The Murray State softball team finished their fall season 7-1 and outscored opponents 72-16 in their eight games.
Their most lopsided victory 18-0 came in the first game of a doubleheader against Heartland Community College. In the game the Racers collected 23 hits, three stolen bases and six extra base hits.
During the fall season, the Racers pitching staff recorded five shutouts and a 1.93 ERA. They also had more than a 2:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Last year’s OVC Player of the Year, Jessica Twaddle, led the team with a .636 batting average and tied with fellow junior Maggie Glass in RBIs with 11. Glass hit five homeruns out of 11 hits.
The fall season served its purpose as it gave Head Coach Kara Amundson an opportunity to see some of her new players in live game action.
Freshmen Brenna Finck, Morgan Edwards, Leah Kesel, Madison Culver and Amber Van Duyse each got to play during the fall season. Culver led the way offensively for the freshmen batting .600 second best on the team, while Van Duyse pitched in four games and allowed one earned run over 17.0 innings and finished 2-0 with two saves.
After losing their starting shortstop from last season, Amundson had to move Glass over from third base. The Racers turned 33 double plays last year to lead the conference and with the change at shortstop the defense didn’t miss a beat during the fall, turning four double plays.
Another challenge for Amundson heading into the new season was replacing the all-time leader in Murray State history in several pitching categories, CheyAnne Gaskey. Two pitchers stood out in the fall season as likely candidates to take over the role of team ace. Sophomore Haven Campbell and junior Mason Robinson combined had a 5-0 record with a 0.00 ERA and an opposing batting average under .200. Robinson allowed one hit over 15 innings for a minuscule opposing batting average of .022 and had five walks with 16 strikeouts.
Amundson secured a spot in three tournaments for the Racers this year to help prepare them for OVC play. The first game of the regular season will be at 9 a.m. Feb. 12, against Loyola University Chicago in Georgia as part of the 2016 Kickoff Classic tournament. The Racers will open conference play on the road at 1 p.m. March 19, against Southeast Missouri State.