Softball Opens 2016 Season at 8-State Classic in Arkansas

Season two of the Adrian Mohr coaching era kicks off on Friday (Feb. 12) as the Fort Hays State softball team opens the 2016 campaign at the 8-State Classic in Bentonville, Ark. In her first season at the helm, Mohr coached the Tigers to an overall record of 26-27 and an eighth-place finish in the MIAA with a conference record of 14-12.

Live stats will not be available for the tournament, but keep an eye on the @fhsuathletics Twitter account for updates throughout the weekend.

The weekend consists of three days of doubleheaders spanning from Friday to Sunday (Feb. 12-14). FHSU takes on Southern Arkansas and Arkansas-Monticello on Friday, then Minnesota-Duluth and Arkansas Tech on Saturday, before wrapping up the weekend with No. 7 Missouri-St. Louis and Southeastern Oklahoma State on Sunday.

Picked eighth in the MIAA preseason polls, the Tigers are returning eight starters from the 2015 squad, and have signed several newcomers that are expected to be key assets in the upcoming season. Of the returning starters, five received All-MIAA honors, all of which received honorable mention nods:

Tori Beltz (1B) – .317 Avg., 10 HR, 42 RBI
Samantha Villarreal (OF) – .303 Avg., 1 HR, 20 RBI
Kylie Strand (2B/SS) – .273 Avg., 7 HR, 23 RBI
Courtney Dobson (2B/SS) – .273 Avg., 0 HR, 12 RBI
Paxton Duran (P) – 11 wins, 159.2 IP, 148 K’s, 3.33 ERA

Minnesota-Duluth is the only Tiger opponent making its seasonal debut on the weekend as all the other opponents have played a minimum of four games. Previews of this weekend’s opponents are listed below…

Southern Arkansas 6-0
26-24 in 2015…Return three 50-game starters from last season…Scored 5+ runs and allowed two or less runs in all six victories this season…Picked to finish third in GAC…Team batting average of .385 to start the season…Team ERA of 0.23 to start the season…Senior outfielder Ashton Atwell named to NFCA/Schutt Sports Division II National Player of the Year Watch List.

Arkansas-Monticello 1-3
24-25 in 2015…Eight returning starters from last season…Team batting average of .257…Team ERA of 5.00…Five home runs in four games to start the season.

Minnesota-Duluth 0-0
33-22 in 2015…Finished seventh in NSIC last season…Picked fifth in the NSIC…Three returning All-Conference selections…Two returning NFCA Division II Freshman of the Year top-10 finalists from last season (Becky Smith and Hannah Schmoll)

Arkansas Tech 4-1
41-22 in 2015 and set school records in team batting average (.308), hits (533), runs (364), home runs (82), and RBI…Picked to finish fifth in the GAC…Four returning All-Conference starters…Hitting .341 as a team through five games this season…Six of nine starters batting over .385 to start the season…1.70 team ERA to start the season.

#7 Missouri-St. Louis 6-0
48-8 in 2015…Won the last three GLVC Championships (2013-15)…Ranked No.1 for the first time in school history in 2015…Selected to finish first in the GLVC…Senior pitcher Hannah Perryman and junior outfielder Alex Stupek selected to the NFCA/Schutt Sports Division II National Player of the Year Watch List…Perryman set the NCAA single season record in perfect games last season (6), and led the nation in strike outs per seven innings (12.6) and is also the 3-time GLVC Pitcher of the Year…Lost six starters from the 2015 team…Team batting average of .361 to start 2016 season and holding opponents to just a .181 team batting average…Pitchers are averaging 1.42 strikeouts per innings…Averaging 1.5 home runs per game as a team.

Southeastern Oklahoma 2-4
32-23 in 2015…Selected to finish third in the GAC…Returning seven starters, five of which were All-Conference selections from last season…Five pitchers have pitched at least four innings this season…Team batting average of .277 in six games…Team ERA of 6.00 to start season.

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