Clemson Softball Heads to Mexico to play in the Puerto Vallarta College Challenge

The Clemson Softball team will travel to their second consecutive big-name in-season invitational to start the season.  Florida one weekend, and now headed to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico to play in the Puerto Vallarta College Challenge.  

Games start on Wednesday when Clemson will play Wichita State of the American Athletic Conference at 1 pm.  They will then play the University of California-San Diego on Thursday and the Utah Utes on Friday before concluding their weekend with a doubleheader against two SEC foes, Auburn Tigers and Mississippi State Bulldogs.

This is a preview of the Tigers’ opponents with early season statistics for each.  The statistics will likely change throughout the weekend.  (Note: The stats you will read in this will be pre-tournament.)

Clemson started out the season with a rather successful run in Clearwater, starting 4-1 with the only loss coming from the Missouri Tigers in the weekend finale.  

Here are the probable starters for the Tigers for the weekend and their early season statistics:

NAME (#)Position‘24 Stats
McKenzie Clark (7)Centerfield.357; RBI
Alex Brown (25)Shortstop.308; 2 RBI
Valerie Cagle (72)1st Base/Pitcher.412; RBI
Julia Knowler (12)DP.438; 2 HR; 7 RBI
Alia Logoleo (16)3rd Base.357; HR; 3 RBI
Maddie Moore (28)2nd Base.357; HR; 5 RBI
Lindsey Garcia (5)Right Field.214; 2 RBI
Aby Viera (4)/JoJo Hyatt (23)Catcher.100/.000
Arielle Oda (24)Left Field.250; RBI

In the circle, the Tigers will throw:

NAME (#)Position‘24 Stats
Valerie Cagle (72)RHP1-0; 0.70 ERA; 10 IP; 15 K; Opp.BA: .147
Brooke McCubbin (2)RHP2-1; 2.33 ERA; 9 IP; 11 K, BB; Opp.BA: .256
Millie Thompson (87)LHP1-0; 2.86 ERA; 7.1 IP; 4 K; Opp.BA: .355
Regan Spencer (19)RHP0-0; 0.00 ERA; 4 IP; 3 K; OppBA: .188
Olivia Duncan (44)LHP0-0; 8.40 ERA, 1.2 IP; K, 2 BB; OppBA: .286

It is very early in the season, however it was interesting to see that All-American Valerie Cagle, although pitched in 4 games, did not have a start over the first weekend.  We shall see if she gets the nod in the circle in any of the games in Mexico.

As for the opponents, the Tigers open up with Wichita State on Wednesday at 1PM.  Here is a quick look at the Shockers lineup and early season numbers.

Wichita State Shockers (2-0)

Wins against: Stephen F. Austin; Sam Houston 

Coach Kristi Bredbenner – 13th Season at Wichita State

Names and stats to know going into Wednesday’s tilt:

NAME (#)Position‘24 Stats
Addison Barnard (30)Centerfield.286; 2 HR; 2 RBI
CC Wong (36)3rd Base.500; 2 RBI
Taylor Sedlacek (29)Right Field.400; RBI
Bailey Urban (7)Left Field.200; 2 RBI
Lainee Brown (22)Catcher.286; HR; 3 RBI
Caroline Tallent (33)1st Base.000
Sami Hood (4)Shortstop.143; 2 RBI
Krystin Nelson (21)2nd Base.167; HR; RBI

And in the circle, we can expect to see one of the following:

NAME (#)Position‘24 Stats
Alison Cooper (1)LHP0-0; 3.50 ERA; 6 IP; 4 K; OppBA: .280
Lauren Howell (2)RHP0-0; 9.00 ERA; 2.1 IP; 3 K, 2 BB; OppBA: .364
Chloe Barber (26)RHP1-0; 0.00 ERA; 2 IP; 5 K, BB; OppBA: .000
Alex Aguilar (31) RHP1-0; 1.50 ERA; 4.2 IP; 3 K, BB; OppBA: .176

Thursday, Clemson will face the University of California-San Diego Tritons at 11 AM.  Here is a brief look at what the Tigers will face in game 2 in Puerto Vallarta.

UC-San Diego Tritons (1-4)

Win against: Fairleigh Dickinson

Losses against: Fairleigh Dickinson; Idaho State (x2), Cal Baptist 

Coach Patti Gerckens – 32nd Season at UC-SD

Names and stats to know going into Thursday morning’s game:

NAME (#)Position‘24 Stats
Morgan Eng (22)Left Field.143; RBI
Lexi O’Gorman (9)Centerfield.400; 5 RBI
Deena Pederson(23)2nd Base.091; RBI
Brooklyn Lee (17)Catcher.167; RBI
Gabby Williams (99)Pitcher/DP.400; 2 RBI
Alexa DeMarse (3)1st Base.333
Hailey Mulligan (21)Shortstop.154; RBI
Zoe Richards (8)3rd Base.182; RBI
Mariah Melendez (13)Right Field.000
Marissa Hassis (1)Utility.000

And in the circle, we can expect to see one of the following:

NAME (#)Position‘24 Stats
Gabby Williams (99)LHP1-2; 4.38 ERA; 12.1 IP; 8 K, 2 BB; OppBA: .286
India Caldwell (16)RHP0-1; 3.21 ERA; 14 IP; 11 K, 3 BB; OppBA: .281
Shelby Thompson (24)LHP0-1; e.86 ERA; 4.2 IP; K, 3 BB; OppBA: .320

On Friday, there is a noticeable step-up in competition as the Tigers face a PAC-12 foe, the Utah Utes at 9:30PM.  Here is a brief look at what to expect from the Utes.

Utah Utes (4-1)

Wins against: Army, Notre Dame, NC Central, Iowa

Loss against: Missouri 

Coach Amy Hogue – 16th Season at Utah

Names and stats to know going into Friday night’s game:

NAME (#)Position‘24 Stats
Aliya Belarde (23)2nd Base.286; RBI
Julia Jimenez (42)3rd Base.200; 5 RBI
Karlie Davison (14)Shortstop.600; 3 RBI
Kaylah Nelsen (55)DP.400; 2 RBI
Leilani Melendez (2)Right Field.333; 4 RBI
Abby Dayton (16)Centerfield.357; RBI
Kendall Lundberg (32)Catcher.300; 2 RBI
Shonty Passi (11)1st Base.000
Haley Denning (3)Left Field.615; 9-9 SB

And in the circle, we can expect to see one of the following:

NAME (#)Position‘24 Stats
Sarah Ladd (21) LHP2-0; 0.64 ERA; 14 IP; 9 K, 2 BB; OppBA: .232
Mariah Lopez (8)LHP1-1; 3.60 ERA; 10 IP; 6 K, 3 BB; OppBA: .357

After Friday night, Clemson will enter Saturday with a double-header against two SEC teams, the first being a familiar opponent as the Auburn Tigers came into McWhorter Stadium a season ago for the Clemson Regional.  Clemson was able to come out of the regional with a victory, but the battles were great between the two sides.  Saturday at 4PM should add another chapter into the budding rivalry from our friends from Alabama.  

Auburn Tigers (1-1-1)

Win against: Belmont

Loss against: Virginia Tech

Tie against: Virginia Tech 

Coach Mickey Dean – 7th Season at Auburn

Names and stats to know going into Saturday’s first of two games:

NAME (#)Position‘24 Stats
Nelia Peralta (13)Shortstop.167
KK McCrary (16)Left Field.222; 2 HR; 3 RBI
Millie Roberts (31) 3rd Base.000
Amelia Lech (34) 1st Base.250; 2 HR; 3 RBI
Icess Tresvik  (3)Right Field.400
Aubrie Lisenby (11)DP/Catcher.167; RBI
Anna Wohlers (22)Catcher/3rd Base.286; RBI
Makayla Packer (10)Centerfield.200
Annabelle Widra (66)2nd Base.333
Chalea ClemmonsUtility.429

Clemson will likely face a familiar arm on Saturday in Maddie Penta, see her and one other probable in the circle for the Auburn Tigers:

NAME (#)Position‘24 Stats
Maddie Penta (9)RHP0-1; 1.80 ERA; 11.2 IP; 16 K, 4 BB; OppBA: .205
Annabelle Widra (66)RHP1-0; 4.20 ERA; 3.1 IP; 6 K; OppBA: .313

The Tigers close out the weekend with the Mississippi State Bulldogs Saturday night at 9:30PM. 

Mississippi State Bulldogs (4-0)

Wins against: UAB (x2); IUPUI (x2)

Coach Samantha Ricketts – 5th Season at Mississippi State

Names and stats going into Saturday night’s finale:

NAME (#)Position‘24 Stats
Sierra Sacco (29)Centerfield.444; RBI
Nadia Barbary (10)3rd Base.333; 4 RBI
Jessie Blaine (22)Catcher.556; HR; 4 RBI
Aquana Brownlee (20)1st Base.714; 5 RBI
Paige Cook (6)DP1.000; HR; 5 RBI
Ella Wesolowski (74)Right Field.200; HR; 5 RBI
Kylee Edwards (67)Shortstop.500; HR; 2 RBI
Salen Hawkins (47)2nd Base.222; RBI
Brylie St. Clair (12)Left Field.500

Early in the season, it is anyone’s guess as to who will be in the circle for the Bulldogs as their statistics look nearly identical across four pitchers.

NAME (#)Position‘24 Stats
Lexi Sosa (7)RHP1-0; 0.00 ERA; 5 IP; 4 K; OppBA: .211
Matalasi Faapito (34)RHP1-0; 0.00 ERA; 5 IP; 9 K; OppBA: .000
Josey Marron (55)RHP1-0; 0.00 ERA; 5 IP; 9 K; OppBA: .000
Aspen Wesley (28)RHP1-0; 0.00 ERA; 4 IP 5 K; OppBA: .071

This weekend should be another huge test for the highly-ranked Clemson Tigers.  There is still a lot of season left to go, and as can be seen with all of the numbers, there is still a lot of movement to be had.  

Clemson started strong last weekend before struggling with a very good Missouri team.  This weekend’s slate of games will once again challenge our ladies.   But it sure should be a lot of fun to watch…as long as the games are.

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