Softball Preview: Pitchers and Catchers
Go Tigers!
Junior Ellen Roberts struck out 150 batters in 199.1 innings last season.

Go Tigers!
Junior Ellen Roberts struck out 150 batters in 199.1 innings last season.
Go Tigers!

Jan. 25, 2013

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The University of Memphis softball team has a veteran group of pitchers and catchers for the 2013 season to help lead the charge in the Tigers' final season in Conference USA. A series of three previews will be featured on over the next two weeks highlighting different areas of the Memphis roster.

The three returning pitchers for the Tigers come into the 2013 season having pitched 84 percent of the innings from last season. Junior Ellen Roberts and sophomore Jordan Richwood were the top two hurlers for the squad last year as Roberts threw 199.1 innings and Richwood tossed 110.1. Roberts struck out 68 batters looking in 2012 for third in the conference, and was fourth in strikeouts with 150. She ended the season with 19 complete games and held opponents to a .252 batting average.

Richwood was named to the 2012 Conference USA All-Freshman Team after striking out 106 batters and holding them to a .225 average, sixth-best in the league. Richwood ended her freshman campaign with 31 appearances and nine complete games.

"I think it's going to be just a mental aspect - just knowing what we can do on the field and being able to come out here and believe we can beat any team that we face," Richwood said. "We need to bear down and take it one game at a time and one inning at a time. Regardless of where we are on the field, just being there for each other is going to be a big thing."

Sophomore Sara Pearson threw just 8.1 innings last season, seeing most of her playing time in right field. She saw increased time in the circle during the fall season with 20 strikeouts and a 0.64 ERA in 14 innings of action.

"I didn't pitch a lot last year, but I got to play a lot on the field and understand the flow of the game and how much faster college softball is," Pearson said. "This year will be a lot different, especially if I can get in the circle."

In Memphis' opening fall game against Christian Brothers, Pearson threw a complete game with 11 strikeouts while holding the Bucs to just two hits to help Memphis to a 9-0 victory. Pearson was limited late in the fall season with an injury but will be ready to go for Memphis heading into the spring.

"I was having a lot of swelling in my arm, and it had been happening since my junior year of high school," Pearson said. "I went in to have some tests done and ended up having a blood clot in my arm. They removed my upper right rib in the front and the back. It's supposed to be a three month recovery, but it's been a month and a half and I've been cleared so I'm ready to get back at it."

Head coach Natalie Poole believes the experienced group she has returning will help the team in the first few games of the season.

"A staff ERA of 3.47 is not successful," Poole said. "Part of that was what we did early on and it was hard to recover. In essence, some good performances could have been better. I think they have a better understanding of that. They understand the system. They understand what's going to be successful and what creates losses. Because of that, they're pretty driven."

Junior Amber Lindahl returns for Memphis having started 56 of the team's 57 games last season behind the plate. In 2012, Lindahl threw out 21 runners for second-best in the conference while ranking sixth with 329 putouts. Lindahl did not see action in the fall due to an injury but will be returning in the spring to lead the team once again.

Also returning for the Tigers will be redshirt sophomore Ashley Ford. Ford appeared in five games last season as a pinch hitter and two games in the fall at catcher.

Freshman Georganna Goodwin will be the lone newcomer among the pitchers and catchers for the Tigers in 2013. Goodwin started all eight games for Memphis in the fall behind the plate to gain some experience heading into the spring.

"I was definitely nervous in the fall," Goodwin said. "I did get a lot of experience back there, and I think it helped me get some of my jitters out of the way."

"I think Amber has a lot more confidence and Georganna got an opportunity to be behind there in the fall," Poole said. "I think she worked some kinks out and I feel like we can go to her. I like the maturity I'm seeing in Amber. I think she's doing well back there and making good decisions."



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