2012 Memphis Softball Preview: Infielders
Jan. 26, 2012
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - In the second installment previewing the 2012 softball team, head coach Natalie Poole's infielders will be showcased. Poole has a deep corps of infielders at her disposal, which will aid in replacing two of the most prolific players in Memphis' history.
Memphis is looking to fill the void left by shortstop Heather Mott and third baseman Maddie McKinley, both of whom graduated last spring. Combined, the two players recorded 97 hits, 17 home runs, 59 RBI and 69 runs scored. Mott, a C-USA All-Conference first team honoree and NFCA All-Region selection, was the only Tiger last season to play and start every contest.
Phillips, who started 47 games at first base for the Tigers in 2011, set the single-season record for slugging percentage (.721), home runs (15) and RBI (44). She batted .336 on the season, the fourth-highest total in program history. The Chattanooga, Tenn., native also earned three C-USA Hitter of the Week honors, while batting .336 on the season. Phillips displayed more than her prowess at the plate in 2011, posting a .988 fielding percentage with a paltry three errors in 247 attempts.
Second baseman Palmieri rounds out the right side of the infield for Memphis. A native of Boca Raton, Fla., Palmieri started 46 games for the Tigers at second. As a junior, she recorded an on-base percentage of .328, fifth-highest on the team, and held a perfect record for stolen bases (6-for-6). Palmieri has played in 115 games as a Tiger, providing a wealth of experience to the infield.
Cheyenne Mascarenas enters her junior season looking to compete for the open spot at third base. Mascarenas saw limited time as a sophomore, but played in 17 games as a freshman. She was utilized primarily as a pinch-runner during her freshman campaign, scoring three runs as a pinch runner.
Infielder Morgan Mosby has appeared in 26 games during her two-year career as a Tiger, scoring a total of eight runs. She is expected to compete for playing time at shortstop. Throughout her career, Mosby has primarily been used as a pinch hitter, pinch runner or designated player. Mosby had a strong fall campaign, hitting .500 over a five-game stretch. She converted all six putouts, without committing an error.
Sophomore Libby Goranson played in 18 games during the 2011 season. She earned a total of nine starts, six at first base and three as the designated player. In 28 appearances at the plate, Goranson knocked in six runs and scored three times for the Tigers. Improving on her 2011 fielding percentage (.973), Goranson recorded a perfect fielding percentage on 17 attempts in fall play.
Curtis, a junior from Chattanooga State, is a candidate to fill the vacancy at shortstop. She helped Chattanooga State, the 2010 Region VII Champions, to a record of 53-14 in 2010 and 46-14 in 2011. During her sophomore campaign, Curtis batted .381 with 38 runs scored and 48 RBI. The native of Chattanooga, Tenn., was a four-year letter-winner at Chattanooga Christian School.
A transfer from Kirkwood Community College, Miller is contending for playing time at third base for the Tigers. Miller is a two-time NFCA All-America First Team selection as an infielder in 2010 and 2011, while also earning NJCAA Player of the Week honors in the midst of both seasons. As a sophomore, the Genoa, Ill., native hit 13 home runs, totaled 73 RBIs and batted .388. Miller helped Kirkwood to over 100 wins in her two seasons playing for the Eagles, finishing 55-6 in 2010 and 54-11 in 2011.
While infield is not listed as their primary position, outfielder Kassy Dunn and pitcher Sarah Pearson may also see some playing time in the infield this season. Sophomore Ijiah Hargrove, who is primarily being looked at for the outfield in 2012, also has infield experience with the Tigers.
The final preview of the softball team, focusing on the outfield, will be released next week. The Tigers open up the 2012 season on February 10 at the Mardi Gras Invitational in Mobile, Ala., against No. 2/3 Alabama. Visit GoTigersGo.com for more information on all Tigers athletics.