Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Off-season moves dot the Mountain West landscape

It's the first day of September, which means the start of the 2016 college softball season is only five months away.  Let's take a look at a few off-season moves around the world of Mountain West softball.

The conference's two NCAA Tournament teams from 2015 are both getting new additions.  Mountain West champion Fresno State is adding a player with Southeastern Conference ties for the second straight year, while conference runner-up San Diego State is adding a player from the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Transferring to Fresno State from SEC power and 2015 NCAA Tournament team Mississippi State is Claire Stucker, who has three years of eligibility remaining. The sophomore infielder was a heavily-recruited, First Team MaxPreps All-State star out of Fresno's Bullard High, where she broke the school's all-time home run record while still a sophomore.  The former Fresno Bee Hitter of the Year batted .333 in limited action as a freshman at Mississippi State, which went 36-21 overall a year ago -- including 26-7 in non-conference play.

Transferring to San Diego State from Virginia of the ACC is pitcher Alex Formby.  As a freshman with the Cavailers, Formby went 3-14 with a 7.30 ERA while throwing 102 2/3 innings. She made 19 starts with eight complete games and appeared in 30 contests for a Virginia team that went 16-40 overall.  A star at Santa Ana's Mater Dei High along with a stint at Los Alamitos, she will add much-needed pitching depth for the Aztecs in 2016.

Among the prominent names missing from our early peek at Mountain West rosters for the upcoming season are a pair of pitchers.

Rachel Rodriguez, who matched a team-high with 38 appearances last season at Boise State during her freshman year, is not listed on the 2016 Broncos roster.  Rodriguez's five wins and eight complete games were the most by a Boise State pitcher a season ago. She tied for the team lead in saves (2) and was second in starts (18), one behind senior-to-be Nicole Wilson.

Colorado State also lost a key pitcher in Trinity Harrington, who's now at Texas A&M.  Harrington's departure is a big blow to coach Jen Fisher's squad.  She ranked first or second on the team in wins, ERA, shutouts, starts, appearances, complete games, strikeouts, innings pitched and saves.  Her 3.10 overall ERA was second-best on the team and she led the Rams squad in ERA in conference play.  Harrington also won MW Pitcher of the Week honors after a 2-hit shutout of Northern Colorado.

Stay tuned for more player updates as we get new information.