Softball Opens 2012 Spring Camp
Jan. 11, 2012
MEMPHIS - The University of Memphis softball team opened up its spring camp today in preparation for the 2012 season that begins next month. The Tigers open up the season at the Mardi Gras Invitational hosted by South Alabama in Mobile, Ala., on February 10.
Head Coach Natalie Poole begins her first season at Memphis and plans to continue raising the level of a young program that saw its first postseason action last year. In 2011, the Tigers tied a school record with 36 wins and set a program record for the highest winning percentage with a .720 clip. The U of M finished fourth in Conference USA and earned an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament for the first time in the school's six-year history.
"Our players understand they still finished in the middle of the pack in conference," Poole said. "They know that's not as good as it gets. They understand we are going to have to push a little harder.
"We lost some key offensive players from last year. They know that offensively we've got to be better and more confident as well as do a better job at manufacturing runs. I'd like to see us be more aggressive on the bases as well."
The Tigers finished 36-14 last season and went 15-7 in C-USA, finishing the year ranked No. 44 in the RPI. The team returns 14 letterwinners from that squad, including five of 10 starters and three of four pitchers. Among the new faces on the field this year are two junior college infielders and five freshmen.
Memphis will face 12 opponents that played in the 2011 NCAA Championship totaling 21 of 56 games. First on the list is the season opener against Alabama on February 10, a team that reached the Women's College World Series and defeated Memphis 7-1 in the NCAA Regionals.
"We know that the preseason portion of our schedule is going to be hard; it's going to be challenging," Poole said. "I always schedule that way. I feel like it will prepare us. Hopefully, we can pull off some great wins early in the season to build some confidence as well as be put in every possible situation we could be put in to be challenged so that there are no surprises for us."
Be sure to check GoTigersGo.com during the next month for additional releases previewing the 2012 team and schedule.