Tournament Central Page
BOCA RATON, Fla. - There will be several familiar faces in the dugout for the 2018 Florida Atlantic University softball team. The Owls return seven everyday position players from last year’s squad that finished with a 35-21 record. FAU was picked to finish third in a preseason poll of Conference USA head coaches. The Owls are open their season with a doubleheader against Duke at 5 p.m. on Thursday. The games will be the first in program history for the Blue Devils.
Arguably the biggest question mark entering the season for the Owls is the pitching staff, where the team lost pitchers responsible for 20 of last year’s 35 wins, including Second Team All C-USA selection Amanda Wilson, who graduated.
The cupboard is far from bare, as Tatum Buckley (10-8, 2.43 ERA) and Mia Olson (5-2, 2.75) both return to give the Owls experience in the circle. They will be joined by Tennessee transfer Kelsey Morrison (1-0, 2.78, 27.2 IP at Tennessee in 2017), as well as freshmen Kara Lokeinsky and Sloan Hammons.
Senior catcher Alex Miller took over the catching duties full-time last season following the graduation of Mickey Bell and responded with the best offensive campaign of her career, hitting .280 and driving in 24 runs. Miller also made the C-USA All-Academic Team and was named to the C-USA All-Preseason Team. Sophomore Kaitlyn Burke and senior Ashlyn Katz both return to provide depth behind the plate.
The infield is the most experienced unit for FAU. Lauren Whitt (first base), Samantha Lageyre (second base), Emily Lochten (shortstop) and Buckley (third) all saw action in at least 50 games last season with Kaitlyn Burke filling in at third when Buckley was in the circle.
Lochten keys the Owls both offensively and defensively. She led the team in almost every major offensive category in 2017 and was just the third player in school history to be named an All-American.
For the first time in three years, the Owls will have a new starter in right field following the graduation of Delaney Rickey.
Amanda Peck won the starting job in left field in preseason practice last year and kept it all season, making a couple of highlight reel catches along the way. At the plate, she hit .252 and was third on the team with 11 stolen bases. Madisyn Palmer was C-USA Freshman of the Year in 2016 and proved it was no fluke, hitting .337 and stealing a school record 42 bases as a sophomore.
The Owls open their season on Thursday, Feb. 8, with a doubleheader against Duke as part of the FAU First Pitch Classic. The first game starts at 5 p.m. Live stats will be available at fausports.com. Live updates will be available at the team's official Twitter account, @Fauowlssoftball. For tickets, contact the FAU Ticket Office at 1-866-FAU-OWLS or log on to fausports.com.