Game One vs. Central Connecticut
Friday - 9 AM
Game Two vs. Michigan State
Friday - 11:15 AM
Game Three vs. Central Connecticut
Saturday - 9 AM
Game Four vs. Boston College
Saturday - 11:15 AM
Siena Softball opens its 2018 season with five games in three days at the FIU Classic in Miami, Florida. The Saints open play Friday with a pair of games vs. Central Connecticut and Michigan State at 9 and 11:15 a.m., respectively.
The Saints are set to face two power conference foes, the Blue Devils twice, and host Florida International as part of the tournament. Siena plays CCSU for a second time Saturday morning, before closing out the day vs. Boston College. Tournament action concludes vs. host FIU Sunday at 12:15 p.m. in a game which will be streamed online via Panther Vision.
Click the corresponding links at the top of the page to follow the live stats for all five games as well as to watch Sunday's tournament finale. Follow @Siena_Softball for twitter updates throughout the tournament, and join the conversation by using the hashtags #SienaSaints, #MarchOn, and #MAACSoftball.
"We're really not happy with the way last season ended," said head coach Bill Lajeunesse, who enters his eighth season at the helm. "We feel that we got something taken away from us with the injury bug that caught us late and set us back a little bit, but the team has been working really hard since the 18th of January and we're just looking forward to getting on the field and playing a few games."
Already the winningest coach in program history following seven straight 20-win seasons to begin his tenure, Lajeunesse will look to lead the Saints to the program's elusive first MAAC Championship this spring. Siena returns eight members of its starting lineup and its top-three pitchers from last year's squad which posted a 21-30 overall record and set a program record with 14 MAAC victories.
The Saints were overlooked last year as they finished second in the MAAC after being predicted to finish eighth, and will look to prove the coaches wrong again in 2018 after being projected sixth despite returning virtually its entire team intact from a runner-up regular season finish last spring. Siena is anchored by a potent lineup which is headlined by reigning MAAC Player of the Year and 2018 MAAC Preseason Player of the Year in junior first baseman Madysen Cossack.
"I think (our continuity) is going to be a big help because we have been through it all together, so we're going to come back into it determined more than ever to claim the title and win a MAAC Championship," commented Cossack. "We've already played together so we know how each other works, we already have a good chemistry going, so I think we're going to be really successful this season and I'm excited to see how we do."
Cossack led the MAAC last season with a remarkable .700 slugging percentage, and ranked second in average (.379), third in both RBI (45) and on-base percentage (.464), tied for third in home runs (10), tied for fourth in total bases (98), and tied for fifth in doubles with a program single-season record tying 15. Jess Vollmer (.314) and Loryn DeFalco (.313) compliment Cossack in the Saints' lineup as the next top-two hitting returnees, along with returning starting backstop and 2017 MAAC All-Rookie Team selection Amanda Dodson behind the dish.
Senior Lauren Butts returns to anchor a deepening pitching unit this spring. Butts finished last season strong, achieving a stellar 8-3 record with a 2.05 ERA during conference play to claim Second Team All-MAAC acclaim. Butts enters the season ranked third all-time in program history in wins (31), and fifth in strikeouts (321). Sophomore Maddie McMahon compliments Butts in the circle after registering nine wins and a staff-high 103 strikeouts during her rookie campaign.
Siena is scheduled to play its first 22 games away from home - highlighted by four tournaments - before returning to the Capital Region to open its home slate on Mar. 31 vs. MAAC foe Niagara. The Saints should be well tested prior to making the return trip up north, namely with some stiff competition this weekend. Michigan State won 34 games last season, and advanced to the NISC Regional Final. Boston College was selected fifth in the ACC Preseason Poll after reeling off 31 victories in 2017. And host Florida International is fresh off a 46-15 campaign in which the Panthers earned an at-large berth into the NCAA Tournament.