SAN ANTONIO — The 2024 UTSA softball season will officially begin on Thursday as first-year head coach Vann Stuedeman leads the squad into San Marcos, Texas, to compete in the Texas State Tournament. The event will span three days at Bobcat Softball Stadium, with the ‘Runners set to take on five opponents.
The Roadrunners returned 15 after an 8-41 season, including three pitchers in Reagan Smith, Jamie Gilbert, and Kenzie Schultz. Two catchers will be back in action, as Taylor Jensen and Erykah Guerrero remain in navy and orange, along with outfielders Lindsey Davis, Emily Dear, Madison Lenton, and Madi Hayes. Six infielders will lace up for UTSA once more in the form of Sammy Dees, Caton Letbetter, Emily Johnson, Camryn Robillard, Kylie Fourney, and Sophia Campbell.
Eleven newcomers will look to make a solid first impression, as the bunch features two transfers and nine first-year students. A utility player by way of Eastern Illinois, Jaylen Prichard joins the ‘Runners after hitting .333 for the Panthers, smacking three home runs and 47 RBIs across two seasons. Aubrie Henderson, meanwhile, makes her way to the Alamo City after sitting out a season at McMurry. Among the freshmen, there are three pitchers (Zelinda Camacho, Haley Carmona, and Meredith Schmitt), two outfielders (Syndey McReynolds and Taryn Madlock), two utility players (Brenna Jahn and Iliana Saucedo), and two catchers (Kalee Rochinski and Sydney Bardwell)
UTSA opens up against the host school at 2 p.m. on Thursday, as they meet a Texas State squad coming off a 35-25-1 season that saw them make the NCAA Austin Regional. Slotted third in the Sun Belt Preseason Poll, the Bobcats returned all 21 players from the 2023 team, including All-SBC players Jessica Mullins (pitcher), Sara Vanderford (third base), Ciara Trahan (outfield), and Hannah Earls (shortstop). The contest against Texas State will be broadcast live on ESPN+ with Brant Freeman on the call alongside Cat Osterman.
The ‘Runners will then wrap up Day One facing Northwestern State at 6:30 p.m. The Lady Demons went 25-27 across the 2023 campaign and got the better of the Roadrunners, picking up a 3-1 victory early in the previous campaign. NSU was picked sixth in the Southland Preseason Poll and saw three land on the Southland’s 2024 Preseason All-Conference squad. Maggie Darr (pitcher), Laney Roos (outfield), and Ashlyn Walker (catcher) were all recognized by the league and are poised to make an impact in Lacy Prejean’s first year at the helm of the program.
On Friday, UTSA will first meet Southern Illinois in a 2:30 p.m. showdown before turning its attention toward Kennesaw State at 7 p.m. The Salukis saw four chosen for the Preseason All-MVC team as Madi Eberle (pitcher), Jackie Lis (shortstop), Elizabeth Warwick (outfield), and Emma Austin (outfield) made the cut, helping SIU to a second-place ranking in the conference preseason poll. The Owls, meanwhile, were slotted fifth in the A-SUN preseason poll following a 20-32 campaign as outfielder Stella Henry was named to the preseason All-ASUN squad.
UTSA will wrap things up on Saturday, with a 7 p.m. matchup with Creighton on the docket. The Bluejays compiled a 22-31 record last season that slotted them sixth in the 2024 Big East Preseason Coaches’ Poll, with seven starters and four infielders from the previous campaign.