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Gorilla softball set to start reason

The Pitt State softball team will begin their season with a home opener versus Southwest Baptist University. First-year head coach Jenny Fuller looks to improve upon the team’s 15-29 record in 2021.

The new head coach of the Gorillas entered the program after four seasons as Northern State [South Dakota] University’s head coach. She left the program with a record of 85-80 across four seasons and has a career record of 144-116 in her six seasons as a head coach.

Pittsburg State missed the 2021 MIAA tournament after a six-game losing streak to end their season. Their last game ended with a loss to Northwest Missouri at home 7-10.

Looking towards the upcoming 2022 season, the Gorillas will face many tough opponents inside of the MIAA conference and with out-of-conference play.

The MIAA preseason poll placed the softball team in tenth place. Their most challenging opponents will be Central Oklahoma and Central Missouri, who both received first-place votes.

Central Missouri University was ranked 25th in an NCAA Division II national poll. The Jennies are currently 0-4 after losing to other ranked opponents in the Arkansas Tech Invitational. Pittsburg State will face Central Missouri on March 12 in a doubleheader at home.

The Central Oklahoma University Bronchos will also be a tough in-conference opponent for Pitt State. They were ranked 20th in NCAA Division II and are currently sitting with a record of 3-2 after their appearance in the Arkansas Tech Invitational.

Their most notable win came with a 3-2 win over 16th-ranked Southern Arkansas in the last game of the tournament.

With a 9-17 record in the MIAA last season, the Gorillas will need to work to improve their placement in the conference. The team will face their first MIAA opponent against Lincoln University at home on March 11.

Pitt State will participate in the Alvy Early Memorial Classic starting on Feb. 11. They will face William Jewell College, Quincy University, Maryville University, Wayne State College, and Harding University. The tournament will be hosted at Bentonville, Arkansas, and will give the Gorillas strong competition.

The first home game will take place on Feb. 19 against the Winona State University Warriors. The Gorillas are currently 3-4 in the last seven matchups against the Warriors.

Pitt State will have seven returning starters and a total of 14 returning players. Taylor Lambert, junior utility player and interior design major, received an All-MIAA honor last year for her performance with the Gorillas. She hit 18 RBIs and a total of 22 runs in the 2021 season.

Keelah Griffith, junior outfielder and hospitality management major, will return to the Gorillas after her success in the previous season. She led the team with seven home runs and 30 RBIs in the 2021 season.

With returning players and new players entering the team, the Gorillas will have high expectations to perform well this season. The MIAA Tournament is scheduled for May 4 through May 8.

The Gorillas will be in action at home on Feb. 19 against the Warriors of Winona State. More information about the Pittsburg State Gorilla Softball team can be found at the pittstategorillas.com

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