Softball Preview: Pitchers and Catchers
Go Tigers! Freshman pitcher Jordan Richwood.
Go Tigers!
Freshman pitcher Jordan Richwood.
Go Tigers!

Jan. 20, 2012

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Softball head coach Natalie Poole has a strong group of pitchers and catchers heading into the season. As the season approaches, a series of three previews will be posted to detailing the players and coach Poole's insights on each position. The pitchers and catchers will be highlighted in this first installment.

Returners: Memphis returns three pitchers from last season's NCAA tournament appearance, Carly Hummel, Lauren Carley and Ellen Roberts. The three pitchers combined for 251 innings pitched, 75 percent of the team's total, and 261 strikeouts in 2011.

Hummel returns for her junior season after posting the most prolific campaign in program history, setting single-season records for lowest ERA (1.46), lowest opponent batting average (.140) and shutouts (8). The Bakersfield, Calif., native started and won Memphis' first-ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament, a 4-1 one-hit win over Chattanooga. She carries a 36-18 career record in two seasons with 406 strikeouts, 13 shutouts, three no-hitters and a 1.60 ERA. Hummel is expected to be the ace for the Tigers again this season, but will have a deep pitching corps behind her that will challenge for time on the mound.



After the NCAA granted a redshirt year, Carley will suit up for her fifth season on the mound and third in a Tiger uniform. During the 2011 season, she posted a 6-4 record with 53 strikeouts and a 2.55 ERA. Carley continued to show success pitching in the fall. She led the team in ERA in 2010 with a 1.62 mark and is 8-7 in two seasons with Memphis with 100 strikeouts and a 2.14 ERA.

Roberts returns to Memphis after playing in the 2011 IX ISF World Championships in December for her native Australian U19 national team. Roberts is a tall pitcher who uses her length to add speed to her pitches. She finished 3-0 in 2011 with a 3.36 ERA in five appearances. In her final three appearances of the fall exhibition schedule, Roberts allowed no runs and struck out seven in seven innings of work. She is also expected to add depth in the batter's box this season offensively.

Newcomers: Freshmen Sara Pearson and Jordan Richwood add depth to the pitching corps and will make an immediate impact on the field for the Tigers.

Pearson played her prep career at Lakota East High School in West Chester, Ohio, a suburb of Cincinnati and was named a Max Preps Second Team All-American during her senior campaign. In addition, she was named the Cincinnati Enquirer Sports Department Player of the Year in 2011 and the GMC Softball Athlete of the Year. Pearson will also add depth in the lineup at shortstop and offensively as a designated player option at the plate. She hit .363 with 30 RBI and six home runs as a senior in high school.

Richwood, a freshman from Hillsdale High School in San Mateo, Calif., finished a stellar prep career with 457 strikeouts, just 13 shy of the California state record. She had a strong showing during the fall for Memphis, finishing the season with five-consecutive appearances without allowing a run and struck out 11 batters in eight innings. Richwood's strength is in her ability to change speed with her pitches. In the fall in an exhibition against the National Fastpitch All-Star team, Richwood struck out three in two innings of work and did not allow a hit.

Memphis returns three catchers from last season, senior Nikki Moreno, sophomore Amber Lindahl and redshirt freshman Ashley Ford. The Tigers are looking to replace the departed Keenah Prestridge behind the plate who is now working with the team this season as a student assistant.

Moreno finished the 2011 season with the third highest batting average on the team, hitting .306. She recorded nine RBIs and scored six runs. Moreno posted a perfect fielding percentage with 96 putouts and zero errors. The Tracy, Calif., native continued her strong fielding in the fall, finishing without an error. In three seasons with the Tigers, Moreno is hitting .252 with 23 RBI, three home runs and 13 runs scored. She played in 30 games in 2011 with 13 starts behind the plate.

After a very strong fall campaign, Lindahl enters the spring with high expectations. Lindahl saw limited time as a freshman, but filled in strongly for the departed Prestridge when her number was called in the off-season. In the final five games falloff the fall, Lindahl batted .455 going 5-for-11 with a double and a run scored. She played in 16 games as a freshman in 2011 with 11 starts at catcher.

Ford sat out the 2011 season and used it as a redshirt year. She put together a solid effort behind the plate during the fall, as she finished without recording an error. The Dickson County, Tenn. native was a four-year letterman in high school, finishing with a career-.320 batting average.

Check back next week on as we preview the 2012 Memphis softball infield. The Tigers' season begins on February 10 at the Mardi Gras Invitational in Mobile, Ala., against Alabama. Memphis' home opener is on February 21 against Mississippi Valley State.

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