Blue Hens Open 2013 Season This Weekend at Jimmy John’s Lion Classic Hosted By Southeastern Louisiana
February 7, 2013
photo courtesy of Mark Campbell
HAMMOND, La. -- The University of Delaware softball team opens its 2013 season this weekend as the Blue Hens will play five games at the Jimmy John’s Lion Classic hosted by Southeastern Louisiana University.
Delaware will kick off its season on Friday against the host Lions at 3 p.m. Central at North Oak Park, and will then face Southern later that day at 5:30 p.m. The Blue Hens will battle Tennessee-Martin on Saturday at 12:30 p.m., before a contest with Louisiana Tech at 3 p.m. that day. Delaware wraps up its action at the tournament with a game against Nicholls State on Sunday at 10 a.m.
Delaware, led by third head coach Jaime Wohlbach, is looking to build on last season’s 15-41-1 record when the Blue Hens finished fourth in the Colonial Athletic Association to qualify for the league tournament for the second straight year.
The Blue Hens will be led by sophomore infielder Jessica Grisler, a CAA All-Rookie Team selection last season who led Delaware with a .305 batting average, 53 hits, 25 runs scored and nine doubles. Junior Michelle McKinnon is also expected to start in the UD infield as she batted .289 last year with 50 hits, 20 runs scored and 18 RBI.
Senior Marisa Newman also returns after starting all but one game in the infield in 2012, batting .207 while ranking third on the squad with seven doubles. Sophomore Mary O’Reilly should regain catching duties for the Blue Hens after making 45 starts behind the plate during her freshman campaign.
The Blue Hen outfield will again be paced by centerfielder Lara Andrews, who hit .231 a year ago while leading the team with 21 runs batted in. Senior Gina Knutson also looks to start in the outfield as she returns from an ACL injury after hitting .243 with three home runs in 2012. Sophomore Kaitlyn Breneman, who made 44 starts as a rookie including 19 in right field, will also be in the mix as she posted 26 hits and five doubles a year ago.
The Blue Hens will also be bolstered by the return of senior Amanda Stacevicz, who hit .258 with 23 RBI in 2011 as Delaware’s cleanup hitter before missing last year with a shoulder injury. Stacevicz will also return to the UD rotation after winning 11 games and posting a 3.27 earned run average as a junior. Fellow seniors Chenxi Jiao, who won eight games and recorded a 3.31 ERA last season, and Hannah Rust, who earned five victories a year ago, also return to the pitching staff.
Following this weekend’s action, Delaware will take a week off before playing five games at the Jacksonville University Tournament on Feb. 22-24 in Jacksonville, Fla. The Blue Hens then head to the Norfolk State Spartan Classic and the Hampton University Tournament the following two weekends, before hosting the second annual Delaware Spring Invitational on Mar. 15-17. Delaware opens Colonial Athletic Association action on Mar. 23-24 with a three-game series at Drexel, before hosting Towson the following weekend for three games on Mar. 30-31.
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