SEATTLE (Feb. 9) – Seattle University softball opens the 2017 regular season on Friday, Feb. 10, at the Kajikawa Classic. The Redhawks will play five games at the event, hosted by Arizona State, this weekend.
On Friday, SU faces Indiana at 11:15 a.m. Pacific to begin its campaign. It follows with a 2 p.m. first pitch against New Mexico. On Saturday, the Redhawks take on #9 Oregon at 8:30 a.m. Seattle U wraps up the weekend with contests against Western Michigan (8 a.m.) and San Diego (10:45 a.m.) on Sunday morning. Live stats will not be available for any of the Redhawks' games.
Coach Geoff Hirai took his squad to a conference tournament semifinal appearance in his first season at SU. His team returns a number of key contributors, including senior outfielder Paige Bouska, who was named Preseason All-WAC.
Indiana won 29 games last year. Rebecca Blitz, a sophomore, earned Second Team NFCA All-Region recognition after tallying a .350 batting average and 29 stolen bases.
In 2016, New Mexico went 23-27. It was picked to finish eighth in the Mountain West Conference preseason poll. Catcher Chelsea Johnson recorded a .391 batting average with 11 homers and 34 RBIs to lead the Lobos last season.
Oregon is coming off a 48-win season in 2016. It won the Pac-12 Tournament and advanced to the NCAA Super Regionals. Shortstop Nikki Udria returns following a Second Team NFCA All-American effort last season. She hit .405 with 17 home runs in 2016.
Western Michigan won 22 games last year. Senior Erin Binkowski is back after setting a WMU record with 11 home runs in 2016. She hit .305 with a .617 slugging percentage.
Last season, San Diego went 22-29. It was voted to take third in the 2017 West Coast Conference preseason poll. Pitcher Megan Sabbatini was a First Team All-WCC selection after striking out 171 batters.