Friday, February 26, 2016

Five Pitchers to Watch Outside of Palm Springs

As the second weekend of the Mary Nutter Classic is underway and many eyes are focused on the top matchups in Palm Springs, plenty of teams are engaged in intriguing matchups of their own in other parts of the country. Here are a quintet of hurlers that are in a very good position to breakout this weekend.

a. Tiarra Davis, Texas
     --> The 'horns are at home this week with matchups against Abilene Christian, Tulsa twice, Illinois, and Weber State still to come; though her opponents are fairly solid competitors, Davis will have a lot of opportunity to better her statistics as long as she can stay healthy while continuing to carry much of the workload for Connie Clark's squad.

b. Jailyn Ford, James Madison
     --> After being named the National Player of the Week, for the season's second slate of games, Ford's Dukes come home to play just a shortened slate of three games this weekend. She could get the start in two of the three as part of Mickey Dean's true staff rotation and, while she may not earn POTW honors once again, she should only improve her current stats that include a 0.79 ERA, thirty-one strikeouts, and an opponents' batting average of .118.

c. Erin Gabriel, Tennessee
     --> Gathering the lion's share of work in the circle, currently with more innings pitched than her team's other four hurlers combined, she holds a solid 2.38 ERA and opponents are hitting sub-.200 against her. Her strikeout to walk ratio actively sits at 6/1 and she is averaging 1 1/2 strikeouts per game. She has shown dominance in the circle as the season has begun and has three opponents in town that are of a solid, if not spectacular, level of competition.

d. Savannah Jo Dorsey, Ohio
     --> After an injury shortened her 2015 season to just two appearances, Dorsey began 2016 on fire, with a thirteen-strikeout victory over Longwood. Though she hasn't been able to keep up that red-hot pace, she's proven to be back to her old dominant self since. Sophomore Danielle Stiene and Dorsey have split the workload fairly evenly, but with three matchups against Power Five opponents down in South Carolina this weekend, Dorsey's experience should be relied upon.

e. Randi Rupp, Texas State
     --> It doesn't look like there will be any kind of sophomore slump for Rupp; the young all-conference hurler currently sports a 0.84 ERA and a 5.5/1 strikeout/walk ratio. Although she's suffered her teams only two losses leading into this weekend's tournament, her statistics are still eye-popping and the Bobcats' slate of games this week seem primed for her to put up another stellar statistical weekend.

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