The Akron Zips, under the guidance of 11h-year head coach Julie Jones, finished the 2016 season at 30-25-1 in the Mid-American Conference Tournament. The Zips return 10 letterwinners, including four starters. UA welcomes four freshmen. Senior OF Savannah Fruin (Delray Beach, Fla.), a two-time All-MAC Tournament Team selection, is the top returning hitter.
Ball State Cardinals
The Cardinals enter the season with a 943-991-4 (.488) all-time record. Ball State's 17-player roster for the 2017 season features 12 new players, five of the new players are transfers, with four coming from the junior college ranks and one from South Dakota. The other seven newcomers are true freshmen.
Bowling Green Falcons
Head Coach Sarah Willis and her staff welcome back 14 players from last year's club, and also have added six newcomers, including four freshmen and a pair of Division-I transfers. Nine of the returnees started at least 10 games a year ago.
The Buffalo softball team finished 17-37 last year, including 9-14 in Mid-American Conference play. The Bulls return 14 players from last season’s team, including first-team All-MAC and NFCA All-Region selection, Savanna Norcio. UB has also brought in six newcomers this year, including five freshmen and one transfer.
Central Michigan Chippewas
CMU finished 24-27-1 last season, 11-11-1 in the Mid-American Conference. The Chippewas graduated plenty from that squad, including three mainstays on the infield in Katelyn Rentschler, CarolAnn Sexauer and Chelsea DeLamielleure. The veteran core in 2017 is in the outfield, where four of the Chippewas’ top hitters from last spring return, led by sophomore Allison Curtis, who shared the team lead with Sexauer with a .336 batting average and earned First Team All-MAC and MAC All-Freshman Team honors.
Eastern Michigan Eagles
Last season, EMU put together its best season since 2011, falling just short of the postseason with a 19-32 overall record, including a 9-14 mark in Mid-American Conference play. The Eagles return several key pieces that are primed to lead the Green and White this season. In right field, Eastern brings back NFCA All-Great Lakes Region honoree, Michelle Kriegshauser. She has led the Eagles in batting average each of the past two seasons and is currently the program record holder in career batting average. In the circle, EMU returns all three hurlers from a season ago, including Nicolle Miranda. Overall, the Green and White bring back 15 letterwinners, highlighted by six starters, providing them with the experience to make a return to the MAC Tournament.
Kent State Golden Flashes
Head coach Eric Oakley has helped Kent State to its winningest two-year span in program history during his two seasons with the program. All-MAC honorees Maddy Grimm, Ronnie Ladines and Holly Speers lead a core of 14 letterwinners return from last season's team that won 37 games. Kent State also welcomes nine newcomers that includes North Dakota transfer Shelby Hard and freshman Madi Huck, the 2016 Ohio Gatorade Softball Player of the Year.
Coach Clarisa Crowell’s team returns eight offensive starters from the 2016 MAC Tournament Championship squad that finished second in the MAC regular-season standings and earned a victory over Notre Dame in the NCAA Division I Softball Championship. Among the returnees are 2016 All-MAC honorees sophomore shortshop Michaela Schlattman, sophomore first baseman Johniann Wahl and senior catcher Lauren Anderson.
Northern Illinois Huskies
The defending Mid-American Conference West Division NIU softball team returns 13 letterwinners from last year, including all-region honorees first baseman Kayti Grable and pitcher Alex Frenz. The preseason favorite to win the division in 2017, the Huskies posted a 35-20 overall record, the most wins by an NIU softball team since 1999. NIU head coach Christina Sutcliffe is entering her fifth season as head coach for the Huskies with a 116-107 record during that stretch.
Ohio will return eight starters from last season, including starting pitcher Savannah Jo Dorsey who set a program record for strikeouts in a single season with 336, the most in the nation. Dorsey also served as the starting pitcher in 29 games, recording a season ERA of 1.72, earning 24 wins and charged 12 losses. Dorsey also added 20 complete games and six shutouts last season. Other starters returning for Ohio include, Casie Hutchinson, Madison Claytor, Mikayla Cooper, Deanna Cole, Michaela Dorsey, Danielle Stiene, Jamie Wren and Taylor Saxton.
Toledo concluded the regular season with 13 straight victories, the program's longest winning streak in 24 years. A year later, the Rockets are looking to build off last season's terrific finish. Kristen Butler did lose some key players from last year's squad but plenty of talent remains. The Rockets return a pair of All-MAC infielders in senior Chandler Rice and junior Samantha Showalter, and an All-MAC outfielder in senior Celeste Fidge. The roster will be very balanced in 2017, consisting of three seniors, six juniors, four sophomores and five freshmen.
Western Michigan Broncos
Western Michigan is coming off a 22-28 overall, 12-10 Mid-American Conference record last year and is under the direction of Kathy Leitke in her 17th season as the head coach of the Broncos. WMU returns 14 players from last year's roster and welcomes five newcomers to the squad.