Last year, head coach Erin Kingsbury’s team ended the season with a 17-21 record. This year, with a month and a half left in the season, the team is already over halfway to matching their 2008 win total.
In their ten-game trip to Clermont, Fla. over Spring Break, John Carroll University ran their record to 9-1 and earned to a No. 14 national ranking.
Good things will happen when you score eight runs per game. The pitching was phenomenal too, holding the opponent to one run or less in seven of their first ten games, including five shutouts.
Of those five shutouts, freshman pitcher Brittany Danilov has recorded three of them.
Danilov is a welcomed addition to a pitching staff that lost Ashley Lippert to graduation, who appeared in 24 games last year.
Danilov, as well as fellow freshman Lauren Beatty, will join juniors Laura Boselovic and Sam Thompson as viable pitching options.
On the Spring Break trip, Danilov appeared in eight games and received a victory in six of them. Her lone loss came in a relief appearance, a game in which coach Kingsbury took partial blame for by admitting she may have put her freshman pitcher in a less than ideal situation.
Thompson is 2-0 and Beatty 1-0, both due in large part to good control and impressive strikeout-to-walk ratios.
Offensively, the club will be led by senior catcher Jamie Smrdel.
Smrdel, the lone Blue Streak to garner 2008 All-OAC recognition by earning honorable mention status, already owned the school record for home runs in a career before even playing a game during her senior season.
She has gotten off to a hot start in 2009, hitting .655, with one homer and 13 RBI already to her name through the first ten games of the season.
Freshman Erin Riccardi has been a pleasent surprise in the early going. She started in her first ten collegiate games and didn’t disappoint, hitting .485 and leading the team in runs scored with 15.
First baseman Boselovic, shortstop Thompson and sophomore second baseman Angela Vistocco fill out the usual starting infield.
Thompson and Boselovic rank second and third, respectively, as returning RBI leaders from a season ago, while Vistocco has hit .346 in the team’s first ten games.
The outfield features junior centerfielder and leadoff hitter Julie Marlowe as well as senior outfielder Jenny Eden in right field. For the time being, freshman Michelle Murphy and senior Tricia Kuenzig are rotating in left field.
Kuenzig is second on the team in runs scored with 11, and Marlowe and Murphy are tied for third with nine.
Eden, who drove in six runs last season, already has a homer and seven RBI this year.
Sophomores Jamie Colley and Denya Fanelli, as well as freshman Olivia Matthews, are expected to contribute this year as well.
On a team that has much improved depth from recent years and rock solid pitching that can be relied on, expectations this year are extremely high.