UWA softball to open Saturday

MONTEVALLO – The 2015 University of West Alabama Softball season opening double-header against the University of Montevallo has been moved to Sat., Jan. 31, at Orr Park. Game one is set for 1 p.m., followed by game two scheduled for 3 p.m.

West Alabama will open its eighth season under head coach Will Atkinson against a Montevallo team in its first game in institutional history.

The Tigers, who were picked to finish seventh in the Gulf South Conference, return five starters from last season’s team that finished 24-25 overall. Miriah Chavez, Jordyn Whiddon and Scarlett Wright all return to the infield, joined by fellow senior Lydia North.

North returns as the Tigers leading hitter, posting a .348 batting average and .525 on base percentage (28th in the NCAA) in her first year as a Tiger last season. She led the nation in hit-by-pitches with 32 falling shy by four of tying the NCAA Division II single season record. Whiddon is the best returning homerun hitter, recording seven last year on her way to a .306 average.

Alli Hall is the Tigers only returning pitcher, but will lead a staff of three. Giana Cavallaro and Ashley Stassin will all vie for time in the circle under first-year assistant/pitching coach Sara Fleming,

Junior transfers Treasure Rodriguez and Lacey Santiago are among the newcomers to join the infield, along with returning sophomore Devan Hines. Freshmen Libby Davis and Audrey Diekmann will join the outfield, while Kristen Bittle will compete at second base.

Picked to finish 13th in the Peach Belt Conference, the Falcons feature nine junior transfers and 12 freshmen in their inaugural season.