|Caitlin Kennedy (photo by URI Athletics)|
Sam Bedore carried this team last year, going 9-9 with a 3.17 ERA and 122 strikeouts in 132 innings. She recorded all but four of Rhode Island's wins last year. To make matters worse, Ashley Dumoulin transferred to Louisiana-Monroe, Cassie Baker graduated, and Jessica Proia is no longer listed on the roster. Lauren Kennedy and Andrea Chiaradio are the only pitchers listed on the roster. Coach Erin Layton is going to need her pitchers to stay healthy or it could be an even longer year down in Kingston.
The Rams have more depth behind the plate than they do in the circle this year. Despite the loss of Stacey Fox, URI returns Ali Summers and Taylor Archer and adds Bri Castro to the mix. Summers hit .209 last year, while Archer led the team with a .269 mark. Jenna Newborn could also see some time at catcher. Ashley Olson is back and she is going to add some power to this squad. Olson is going to be counted on to be a run producer this year.
|Marylynn Muldowney (photo by URI Athletics)|
URI does bring back some key starters in the infield, as Marylynn Muldowney and Lauren Klepchick return at second and third respectively. Muldowney hit .256 last year, while Klepchick hit .236. Jenna Cubello, Paige Julich, Kylie Shivery, Olivia Hendricks, and Deanna Wolf should also see some key action in the infield.
|Megan Congro (photo by URI Athletics)|
In the outfield, the Rams bring back Megan Congro, Olivia Hendricks, and Danielle Gariglio as starters. Coach Layton is going to be counting on them for big things both at the plate and on defense. Kayla Cruz could also push for time in the outfield.
Ashley Olson or Taylor Archer should start at designated player for Rhode Island. Archer and Olson are the Rams top two hitters and Coach Layton is going to need to have both of them in the lineup.
URI has a somewhat challenging nonconference slate, which should let us know right away how good this team will be. The Rams will have challenging nonconference games against James Madison, Stetson, Michigan State, and Stony Brook. If URI can manage to get six or more wins in nonconference play, it will be a very positive sign for the team going into conference play. URI has one of the most favorable conference schedules, as they will avoid Fordham and will only face UMass twice. Unfortunately, the Rams have a very front loaded schedule, as they will open up Atlantic 10 play by facing 5 teams that advanced to the Atlantic 10 Tournament last year.
2015 may be a tough season for the Rams and Coach Layton. The Rams are pretty thin in the circle and don't return much power at the plate. Unless some players step up, it could be a very long season with some very short games. It is hard to see URI advancing to the Atlantic 10 Tournament this year, especially with the strength of the rest of the league.