TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology enters the upcoming softball season returning nine of its top 11 hitters and three of its four pitchers from a successful 2015 campaign.
The Fightin' Engineers were picked to finish sixth in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference softball standings this spring after finishing 21-13 overall last season.
Five of the team's .300 hitters from last season return to lead the offensive effort. Sophomore Jenny Miller batted .370 with 11 doubles and seven home runs, and sophomore Michelle Korf hit .338 with six doubles and three home runs for the top returning averages. Senior Marissa Stout also hit .330 with nine doubles and four home runs last season.
Sophomore Gabbi Markison and senior Jett Bender batted .311 and .306 respectively, with Markison hitting 11 doubles. Sophomore Jessica Will added a .291 batting average with 13 doubles, and junior Janel Lake rounds out the returning starters after hitting .258 as the team's starting catcher.
In the pitching circle, senior Taylor Lockhart led the team with 82.1 innings pitched and finished 7-6 with a 3.23 earned run average. Stout compiled a 6-2 record with a 4.14 ERA, Miller was 2-4 with a 2.43 ERA.
Anderson was picked as the preseason favorite in the HCAC with six first-place votes. Bluffton received three first place votes and was followed in the poll by Franklin and Hanover. Manchester, Rose-Hulman, Mount St. Joseph, Transylvania and Defiance round out the 2016 HCAC softball poll.
Rose-Hulman opens the 2016 season with its annual spring trip to Florida. The Fightin' Engineers open the 10-game stretch with games against St. Mary's (Minn.) and Otterbein on Feb. 29.