BILLIKENS BEGIN 2017 CAMPAIGN WITH FIVE GAMES AT KENNESAW STATE TOURNEY
•Saint Louis softball begins the 2017 season at Kennesaw State’s Phyllis Rafter Memorial Tournament Friday–Sunday, Feb. 10-12, in Kennesaw, Georgia.
•The Billikens take on Morehead State (9 a.m. CT) and Kennesaw State (2 p.m. CT) Friday, South Carolina State (11:30 a.m. CT) Saturday, and Austin Peay twice (9 a.m., 11:30 a.m. CT) Sunday.
FOLLOWING THE BILLIKENS
•Kennesaw State will provide live stats for each game of the Phyllis Rafter Memorial Tournament.
•The links can be found on the home page of www.SLUBillikens.com, in the schedule/results section below the top stories, as well as on the softball schedule page.
BILLIKENS TABBED FOR FIFTH IN A-10
•Saint Louis was picked to finish fifth in the Atlantic 10 Conference by a preseason vote of A-10 head coaches.
•Defending conference champion Fordham (nine of 10 first-place votes) is the preseason favorite.
•The Rams are followed by Dayton, Saint Joseph’s (one first-place vote), Massachusetts, Saint Louis, George Washington, George Mason, La Salle, St. Bonaventure and Rhode Island.
•The Billikens return seven position starters, two pitchers and four additional players from last year’s team that finished 25-26 overall and 14-8 (fourth place) in the A-10.
•Click here to see Saint Louis’ 2016 final statistics.
•Saint Louis is strong up the middle, returning senior catcher Hailey Weavers, senior shortstop Alex Nickel, junior second baseman Allie Macfarlane and senior center fielder Mackenzie Peter.
•Two other starters return to the outfield in senior right fielder Emma Buckles and junior left fielder Josie Knesel. Junior Alyssa Tarquinio is slated to start at first base again.
•Junior Maddie Baalman and sophomore Kallen Loveless are SLU’s returning pitchers.
•Also returning are senior infielder Taylor Meeks, sophomore infielder Mackenzie Lawson and sophomore catchers Kaylyn Breitbach and Krystina Kernich.
FOUR NEWCOMERS ON BOARD
•Saint Louis added four freshmen to the roster – pitcher Kaylea Chappelle, infielders Megan LoBianco and Bailey Strecker, and utility player Maria Balistreri.
2016 IN REVIEW
•The 2016 Billikens posted a 25-26 overall record and finished fourth (14-8) in the Atlantic 10 Conference.
•Saint Louis was 1-2 at the A-10 Championship.
•Outfielder Mackenzie Peter was selected to the Mid-Atlantic All-Region third team.
•Designated player Brianna Lore was named to the All-Conference first team. Peter, third baseman Elizabeth Everingham and second baseman Allie Macfarlane made the All-Conference second team.
•Everingham and Peter earned Academic All-Conference accolades.
HEAD COACH CHRISTY CONNOYER
•The Billikens are led by head coach Christy Connoyer, who owns a 171-145 record at Saint Louis (six seasons) and a 202-175 career mark (seven seasons). Click here for Connoyer’s full biography.
BILLIKENS ON CAREER TOP-10 LISTS
•Several Billikens begin the season ranked among the program’s top 10 in various statistical categories.
•Shortstop Alex Nickel – First in batting average (.343), on-base percentage (.464) and walks (102), tied for first in sacrifice flies (six), second in slugging percentage (.549) and assists (416), tied for second in home runs (23), third in runs (122), fifth in total bases (248), sixth in RBIs (86), tied for seventh in hits (155).
•Outfielder Mackenzie Peter – First in slugging percentage (.601) and doubles (41), second in batting average (.329) and on-base percentage (.438), tied for fourth in home runs (18), tied for seventh in total bases (223) and walks (65), ninth in runs (87).
•Second baseman Allie Macfarlane – Third in slugging percentage (.508), fifth in on-base percentage (.398), seventh in home runs (15), tied for seventh in RBIs (84), 10th in batting average (.302).
•Outfielder Emma Buckles – Fifth in batting average (.311).
•First baseman Alyssa Tarquinio – Fifth in fielding percentage (.987), sixth in putouts (781), seventh in chances (842).
•Outfielder Josie Knesel – Sixth in batting average (.309), ninth in slugging percentage (.427).
•Catcher Hailey Weavers – Tied for sixth in sacrifice flies (four).
PHYLLIS RAFTER MEMORIAL TOURNAMENT OPPONENTS
•Morehead State – Finished 26-27 overall and 12-12 (seventh place) in the Ohio Valley Conference in 2016.
•Kennesaw State – Posted a 30-28 overall record and an 8-10 mark (tied for fourth) in the Atlantic Sun Conference last season.
•South Carolina State – Went 5-27 overall and 2-12 (fifth, Southern Division) in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference a year ago.
•Austin Peay – Was 9-38 overall and 5-22 (11th) in the Ohio Valley Conference in 2016.
•The Billikens are off next weekend before traveling to Tennessee for Chattanooga’s Frost Classic Feb. 24-26. SLU will take on UT Martin, Western Michigan, Fairleigh Dickinson, Northwestern State and Chattanooga.