TAMPA, Fla. – The University of Tampa softball team will open the season on Sunday afternoon as they take on the Ursuline Arrows at the Naimoli Family Field.
The Matchup: Tampa Spartans (2018 Record: 28-16, 19-11 SSC) vs. Ursuline Arrows (2018 Record: 15-27-1, 10-13-1 G-MAC)
Date/Time: Sunday, February 3 || Game One: 12 p.m. || Game Two: 2 p.m.
Location: Naimoli Family Softball Field || Tampa, Fla.
Series History: Tampa won the only meeting between these two teams on February 5, 2016. The Spartans kicked off the 2016 campaign with a 6-1 victory over the Arrows. Makaleigh Dooley made her freshman debut by throwing a complete game, with nine strikeouts and she allowed only one run on three hits.
About the Spartans: Tampa finished last season on a high-note, sweeping Eckerd in the final series of the year. The Spartans won seven of their last eight games, and return five starters from last year's squad. The offense laced the second-most doubles (63) in school history last season. Dating back to 2010, Tampa has won eight straight games on opening day. Head coach Leslie Kanter enters her 25th year at the helm, she is just one of three SSC coaches to reach the 600-win mark. Under Coach Kanter, the Spartans have made 10 NCAA Tournament appearances and she guided UT to the NCAA South Regional in 2013.
Spartans to Watch:
- Makaleigh Dooley - Senior (P/1B): The 2018 SSC Pitcher of the Year enters her senior year as a three-year starter in the circle. Last year, Dooley tied the school record for wins in a season (25) and was named SSC Pitcher of the Week on three occasions. She was one of three players to start in every game, while she set career-highs in starts (32), complete games (30), innings pitched (247.1), strikeouts (226), and ERA (1.27).
- Bailey Phillips - Sophomore (3B): The sophomore from Jupiter, Florida logged the most hits as a freshman since 2012 (37). She was one of three players to start every game and she led the team in walks (14) and doubles (11), while she finished third in hits (36) and runs scored (14). Phillips' reached base safely in 23 consecutive games, also a team-high. She was named SSC Player of the Week on April 16.
- Maddie Farrell - Junior (C): A two-year starter at catcher, Farrell finished second in RBI (18) and led the team in multi-RBI games (7). The junior from Valrico, Florida ended the year with a team-leading nine walks and she drove in the game-winning RBI in two games last season.
About the Arrows: Ursuline ended their year on a three-game winning streak and finished ninth in the Great MidWest Athletic Conference. The Arrows' return five seniors, however, they have nine first-year or freshman players on the 2019 roster. Redshirt-senior Leah Leshnack is the top returner for Ursuline in terms of batting average, which she finished third on the team with a .296 average. Leshnack led the team in home runs (7), while she ranked third in 2Bs (6) and RBI (20). In last year's season opener, she belted four home runs and produced 6 RBI. Another top returner is Sadie Jones, who started in all 43 games last season. Jones made 15 starts in the circle, and was named first-team all conference as a ultilty fielder. The senior had seven multi-hit games and ended the year with a .295 average. Head coach Sue Woodford begins her 13th season at Ursuline, and she took her program to the regional tournament when the Arrows competed in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).
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