Furman University's Student Newspaper

The Paladin

Furman University's Student Newspaper

The Paladin

Furman University's Student Newspaper

The Paladin

Softball Looks to Get the Ball Rolling Amid High Preseason Expectations and Awards

Courtesy of Furman Athletics

Furman softball begins their season this weekend at the Plainsmen Invitation hosted by Auburn University with the hopes of repeating as regular-season Southern Conference champions.

Last season, the Paladins finished with a 31-23 overall record and tied with UNCG at the top of the SoCon standings. This year, however, their sights are set on avenging an early exit from the SoCon tournament, and winning their first SoCon title since 2007.

With the start of the season just one week away, Furman softball has already begun to garner major attention among the SoCon.

The Paladins were picked to finish second in the SoCon softball preseason poll released this week. UNCG, last year’s conference tournament champion tops the preseason rankings, and are set to open conference play against the Paladins in late March.

To go along with their second-place preseason ranking, the Paladins also placed two Furman players on the Preseason First-Team All-SoCon.

This included senior shortstop Brittany Houston, a South Carolina native who sported a .317 batting average in 2017.

Joining Houston on the First-Team is senior pitcher Lindsey Bert. Bert was also named as the the SoCon Preseason Pitcher of the Year after a 2017 campaign ended with a 18-12 record as well as a team leaded 2.10 earned-run average.

Furman also landed four players on the Preseason Second-Team All-SoCon that included Emily Demonte, AnnaRose Borrelli, Lauren Duggar, and Taylor Vahle.

Stacked with talent, Interim Head Coach Wally King inherits a team of veteran experience in his first season leading the Paladins.

After five seasons with the Paladins, former head coach Kyle Jamieson stepped down in December to take a position with Clemson as Athletic Director Mike Buddie named Wally King the interim head coach.

After being named to this position in December, King spoke of his expectations for the coming season saying, “We made some great strides as team this fall and I’m looking forward to seeing what this group can accomplish this season.”

King, who joined the Paladin coaching staff in July, will look to rely on his veteran players to help guide him through the season.

The Paladins are returning seven starting position players, including the 2017 SoCon Freshman of the Year Casey Bigham. They also return their top two pitcher from 2017, Bert and Demonte.

The season opens on Feb. 9th as the Paladins face Tennesse Tech at the Plainsmen Invitational at Auburn University.

Furman softball’s home opener will take place with the Furman Classic on Feb. 16 at Pepsi Stadium as the Paladins play a two-game doubleheader series with Colgate University. The Paladins will follow up that series with a three-game series with Fairfield University on Feb. 17 and 18. Admission to all Furman games in Pepsi Stadium is free for all attendees.

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