ACA.ul2.31619

UL outfielder Raina O'Neal is one of the returning locks in the starting lineup in centerfield.

Pitcher – Assuming everyone is healthy, there’s only one definite on the circle heading into the 2021 season in ace Summer Ellyson. Expect sophomore Kandra Lamb of Australia to begin the season as the No. 2 pitcher. If she throws strikes, she’ll likely keep that spot. But junior Casey Dixon enjoyed an promising offseason and junior utility specialist Carrie Bowell will also be a relief option.

Catcher – Julie Rawls is no doubt the starting catcher, but junior Melissa Mayeux and Bailey Curry have showed enough to give coach Gerry Glasco the chance to rest Rawls to keep her fresh.

First Base – A flurry of roster activity has left the outfield too loaded, so the plan is to get freshman Taylor Roman’s powerful bat in the lineup by playing her at first base. If she handles the defensive part well, all the best. If not, Mayeux or any number of reserves could get at-bats in this spot.

Second Base – As long as Kaitlyn Alderink doesn’t experience any ill effects from offseason surgery, she’ll return as the starter here. If not, Mayeux could see some time at second as well or Georgia transfer Justice Milz.

Shortstop – The original plan had former Arizona State standout Jade Gortarez starting at shortstop this season. Then COVID extended Alissa Dalton’s career, so now there’s two All-American caliber shortstops on the roster. However it works out long term, it shouldn’t matter.

Third Base – Other than injury issues, if Dalton is at short, then Gortarez will be at third, and vice versa. Glasco has toyed with the idea of alternating the two for a spell before settling on the long-term solution. And yes, Mayeux is an insurance policy here as well.

Outfield – Two of the three spots seem secure heading into the opener. Junior Raina O’Neal is back to start in centerfield, while Georgia senior transfer Ciara Bryan takes over in leftfield. The battle in rightfield is ongoing between Arizona junior transfer Jenna Kean and pesky sophomore Kendall Talley. All four will get playing time even if the unit remains injury-free.

Designated Player – There will be many options here each game and the hot bat will usually win out. Junior slugger Bailey Curry or Milz will likely open the season in this spot, but Mayeux could be an option here too, as well as the fourth outfielder.


Email Kevin Foote at kfoote@theadvocate.com.