Softball opens the 2024 season with five games in Jacksonville

Softball opens the 2024 season with five games in Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (February 8, 2024) – As the days begin to lengthen and we approach the official start of spring, Fordham University softball will open its spring game slate this weekend in Florida. The Rams will play five games this weekend against four different opponents in North Florida and Jacksonville.

On the Docket

On Friday the Rams will play a pair of games starting at 1:30 against Southern Miss and immediately followed by a 4:00 game against North Florida. Saturday morning Fordham will take on Southern Miss again at 11:00 a.m. before taking on Jacksonville State at 4:00 p.m. that afternoon. The weekend ends early Sunday morning with a 9:00 a.m. matchup with Ball State.

Live stats are available for all five games this weekend, with the games split between the North Florida and Jacksonville campuses. Additionally, Friday afternoon’s game against North Florida will be broadcast live on ESPN+ at 4:00 p.m.

Running Through the Order

The 2024 Rams return five of their top offensive players from a year ago, incl Neleh Nogay who hit .397 in 44 starts last season, leading the team in scattering 52 hits and scoring 25 runs, and tallying 15 stolen bases in 16 attempts. Sydney Wells joins Nogay as one of the top threats in the batting order for her team, coming off a season that saw her hit eight home runs and lead the team in RBIs and extra base hits for ended the year with a 0.520 percent decline. Bailey Enoch was the only Ram to play in every game last season, hauling in a team-high 26 walks and 12 strikeouts, finishing along with Nogay as one of two players with a +.400 on-base percentage. Having tallied 216 appearances without a single error a year ago, Eva Koratsis finished flawlessly on the defensive end in 2023, also providing 22 hits and 17 RBIs offensively.

In the circle, the Rams return all of last year’s pitching staff, incl Holly Beeman who recorded 22 starts and a team-high 109.1 innings. Her rookie campaign would see her pick up eight wins and finish the year with a 1.89 ERA, finishing among the top 20 hitters in the nation. Enoch, who threw 87.0 innings a year ago, made 13 starts for the Rams, earning a combined six wins Devon Miller who returns to the team for a fifth year after pitching 86.2 innings in 2023.

Welcome to Rose Hill

Coach Inouye added five new players, including a graduate transfer and an international student to the Fordham roster in 2024. Joining the Rams from Boston College, Gianna Sarlo was a career .250 hitter for the Eagles, starting eight games in each of the last two seasons, including her junior year where she hit .357 in 19 plate appearances.

Originally from Canada, Olivia Simcoe comes to Rose Hill as one of four freshmen on the roster, and the only international freshman for the Rams in 2024, adding even more depth to the pitching core. The Rams will also add two local prospects from the Tri-State, with Mikayla Swan AND Erin Hoppe joining the team from New Jersey, and Annie Sullivan rounds out the 2024 roster, a native of Wheaton, Ill.

New coach on the block

In August 2023 Mackenzie Swinehart joined the Rams as an assistant coach after a two-year stint as an assistant coach at Notre Dame.

In her two years in South Bend, the Fighting Irish compiled an overall record of 70-31-1, making an appearance in the NCAA Regionals in each of those seasons. Prior to coaching with the Fighting Irish, Swinehart was a four-year softball player at Western Michigan University, where she set the program’s all-time career marks in hits (243) and runs scored (673) and is second in the all time with a career .361 batting average.

A-10 Preseason Poll

Prior to the start of the 2024 season, Fordham softball was picked fifth in the A-10 preseason coaches poll, receiving 62 votes overall.

Detection of opponents

Southern Miss finished last season 22-24 and 6-17 in the Sun Belt and returns its top two hitters from a year ago in Jana Lee and Hannah Borden, who each hit better than .320 in 2023 and finished with an OPS higher. 950. With a completely new staff this season, the Lady Eagles added three junior transfers to their roster along with freshman BrookLynn White.

North Florida finished last season 29-23-1, including a 10-13-1 record in the ASUN. Three players finished over .300 offensively for the Ospreys, including both Shannon Glover and Olivia Culp who combined for 112 hits including 15 home runs a year ago. Kayla Harper finished right behind them with 46 hits and led the team with 26 stolen bases in 29 attempts. Ashley Connor returns to the North Florida pitching staff after making 25 starts in 2023, earning 12 wins and finishing with a 2.56 ERA.

Finishing 25-27 overall and 11-13 in ASUN play last season, Jacksonville is led by Madison Reynolds who hit .323 a season ago with 51 hits and 28 RBI, she would also draw a team best in 22 walks and would get 10 stolen bases. Ashley Harwood finished with the second most innings for the Sharks, throwing 110.1 in 31 appearances and 19 starts, earning eight wins for a 3.84 ERA.

Compiling a 27-26 overall record while going 17-12 in MAC action last year, Ball State finished with four players hitting over .300 with at least a .990 OPS. Amaia Daniel and Haley Wynn each had 61 hits in 2023 and combined for 44 walks on the year. After 73.2 innings, Bridie Murphy threw the second most for the Cardinals, earning eight wins and finishing with a 3.71 ERA.

What’s on deck

After going North to South the first week of the campaign, Fordham will go East to West as they travel to California for five games in Santa Clara and San Jose next weekend.

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