Feb. 7, 2013
Stillwater, Okla. — Oklahoma State will open the 2013 softball season this weekend as the Cowgirls travel to St. George, Utah, to compete in the Red Desert Classic. OSU will play five games in three days.
Oklahoma State will open the season against Weber State on Friday, Feb. 8, at 2:30 pm CT, and will follow that by facing Seattle at 5 pm. The Cowgirls will play Colorado State on Saturday at noon and Utah Valley at 5 pm before concluding with a game vs sixth-ranked Tennessee on Sunday at 12 pm.
Oklahoma State returns 11 letterwinners, including six position starters and two pitchers. The pitching staff should be one of the team's strengths, with the return of senior Kat Espinosa and junior Simone Freeman. As part of the battery, Tamara Brown, a senior who started every game last season in left field, will move to catcher, along with junior Tarah Ettinger and sophomore Taylor Woodall.
There should be no letdown in the middle infield, as junior Ari Morrison will return to her spot at second base, where she started every game a year ago. Sophomore Gessenia DeLaCruz, who started every game at third base last season, will move to her more natural spot at shortstop, vacated by four-year starter Chelsea Garcia. First base will most likely be a platoon job with seniors Stephanie Brewer and Amy Graham manning the position. Freshman Tiffany Mikkelson will take over DeLaCruz's spot at third base.
The Cowgirl outfield will be relatively young. With Brown moving behind the plate, and Graham moving to first, OSU will have a junior, a sophomore and two freshmen covering the outfield. The sophomore, Shelby Davis, started 38 total games last season, 35 in right and three in center. Shannon Kaufman, a junior transfer from Sacramento State, started 78 games for the Hornets as well as seven of eight games in the outfield during the fall for OSU. Freshmen Erika Campbell and Dre McKee both started several games in the outfield during the fall for the Cowgirls.
Coach Wieligman has options at the designated player spot in the lineup, including senior Samantha Chrisman who can play either third or behind the plate as well. Freshman Shianne Hughes, who sat out the fall with an injury, is a quality backup at either second base or in the outfield.