Softball set for 2014 season opener

RIO GRANDE, Ohio – The University of Rio Grande softball team opens the 2014 season with a Mid-South Conference doubleheader against Cumberland (TN) University on Friday afternoon at Rio Softball Park.

First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m.

Head coach Kristen Bradshaw returns just three full-time starters from last year's squad, which finished 22-19 overall and 11-15 in the MSC.

Leading the list of returnees is junior outfielder Haley Gwin (Troy, OH), who batted .374 with a team-high 10 home runs and 31 runs batted in last season.

Among those lost from last year's team were first team All-MSC outfielder Kaylee Walk, who led the team in a number of offensive categories, and second team All-MSC pitcher Kimber Hazlett, who left to attend school closer to home after a promising freshman season that saw her post a 16-10 record with a 2.86 earned run average and 151 strikeouts in 181-1/3 innings.

The RedStorm were picked to finish sixth in the conference preseason poll voted on by the coaches.

The Bulldogs of Cumberland University are already eight games into the young season and currently stand at a record of 7-1 after a two-game road sweep of Emmanuel College on Tuesday.

Cumberland is led by Jessica Roper at the plate, who has 12 hits in 22 at-bats with two home runs and nine RBI's.

From the mound, the Bulldogs have relied heavily on Courtney Maynard, who, in four starts, has amassed three wins--all complete games--and struck out 12 with a 1.30 ERA in 27 innings of work.

Dating back to last season, Rio's last win was, in fact, against Cumberland, 3-1, in the opening game of a doubleheader on April 21 at Rio Softball Park.

Live video and play-by-play of the game will be available at www.ihigh.com/redstorm with pregame beginning at 1:55 p.m.