The softball team will begin its season this weekend in San Marcos at the Century Link Classic hosted by Texas State.
The team went 14-33 and finished 10th in the Southland Conference last season with an 8-19 league record. The team took a dip last year, after going 21-28 in 2014 while posting a 10-10 conference play record.
This season they’re picked to finish sixth out of 12 teams, in a recent vote of league head coaches and sports informational directors. Head coach Bobby Reeves said they’re going into the season with high expectations and a positive outlook.
“That’s a hats off to what people think of our program here,” Reeves said. “We’re a year older and we did some things really good last year, even though we had a 14-33 record. I’m excited that the peers in our conference see the potential that we have.”
Reeves enters his sixth season at the helm of ACU softball with a 121-132 record.
The team will have a full pitching staff this season with the return of redshirt sophomore Hannah Null, who spent last season recovering from a torn labrum and a hernia in her hip. Regarded as one of the best pitchers in the conference, Null went 11-9 in her freshman season two years ago while striking out 152 batters and tossing the seventh no-hitter in ACU’s history. She also set the school record with 17 strikeouts against Harden-Simmons on March 25, 2014.
“I’m ecstatic to finally be back on the field with my teammates,” said Null. “I’ve watched all these girls grow so much, physically mentally and spiritually, and I’m excited to see what this season has in store for us.”
Sophomores Peyton Hedrick and Alyson Bishoff, along with junior Taylor Brown were all named to Southland’s preseason all-conference first team last week, making the Wildcats the team with the second-most players on the All-Conference team behind Northwestern State, which registered four players.
Last year, Hedrick was one of the NFCA Top-25 finalists for Freshman of the Year and also made first team All-Conference, with a .432 batting average. Bishoff and Brown were promoted from the second team to the first team.
“Those girls are really excited about that, the team is excited about it, we’ll lean on those three pretty hard this year so that’s a good thing,” Reeves said. “Hopefully they’ll rise to the occasion.”
The Wildcats play DePaul University and Texas State Friday, followed by Northwestern State and Oklahoma State Saturday and Texas State again Sunday. Southland Conference play begins March 11 and the first home game is March 5.
“All of our athletic teams are doing great,” Reeves said. “There’s a high energy at ACU for all athletics and everybody’s fighting to do the best they can do and it’s just a great place to be.”