2019 Recruiting: Top Transfer Classes (Top 5)
On Thursday, we took a look at No. 10 through No. 6 and now, we are diving into the top five. Each one of these programs have positives to build on heading into the 2020 season and have brought in transfers who may be their difference makers.
Redshirt Senior: Ansley Gilstrap, MK Bonomy
Redshirt Junior: Cammy Pereira
Junior: Bailey Taylor, Marissa Guimbarda
Clemson enters its first ever season with a top five transfer class. The majority of the roster is composed of freshman and redshirt freshman so having upperclassmen transfer in will help with leadership and experience.
Ansley Gilstrap spent three years at USC Upstate and transferred to Clemson in 2019. As a junior at Upstate, she led the team with 40 runs scored and was 42-for-44 in stolen bases. She led the team in 2017 with a team-high .339 batting average, 43 runs scored, 60 hits, 15 doubles, three triples, 12 hit-by-pitch, .431 on-base percentage and 32 stolen bases. In 2016, she hit .288 but led the team with 43 runs scored.
MK Bonomy did not see action in 2019 but she started every game for Notre Dame in 2018. Her junior year saw career highs in batting average (.250), hits (40), doubles (seven), home runs (two), RBIs (21) and runs scored (19). She only made three errors in 409 chances. She saw action in 13 games, 10 starts, her sophomore year before injuries ended her season. As a freshman she played in 21 games with one start.
Marissa Guimbarda and Cammy Pereira both transferred in from Furman. Both batted over .300 last season and were the top two batter for the Paladins.
Guimbarda was named the SoCon Player of the Year lat year and batting .348, slugging .754. Her 17 home runs, 27 walks and 44 RBIs led the team. She also made 11 appearances in the circle with six starts. In 33.2 innings, she surrendered 51 hits and an 8.32 ERA. In 2018, she hit .216 and made 28 starts.
Pereira led Furman in runs scored (24) and hits (51) in 2019. She was a First-Team SoCon selection after starting all 49 games. In 2018, she hit .308 and only struck out three times in 52 at-bats after overcoming a shoulder injury that redshirted in 2017.
Bailey Taylor spent the 2018 at Troy. She started nine games and appeared in 20 with most time spent at first base or designated player.
Analysis: Clemson is bringing in a transfer class that will help the underclassman with its first year of competition. Gilstrap, Bonomy, Guimbarda and Pereira should all make immediate impacts. The Tigers should finish in the middle of the ACC this year similar to how Duke finished after its first season in 2018.
4. San Diego State
Junior: Maggie Balint, Riley Thies, Alexa Schultz, Sara Lillie
Sophomore: Summer Hargett, Hannah Johnson
San Diego State hasn’t made an NCAA Tournament appearance since 2015 and is coming off back-to-back losing seasons. Last year, the Aztecs didn’t have a pitcher finish with an ERA under 3.00.
Enter Maggie Balint. Balint set the softball world ablaze went she broke news about transferring from Oregon during the spring semester, before the season started. In her two years at Oregon, she was 28-4 with a 1.51 ERA. She struck out 214 and walked five in 185.2 innings. Opponents hit .189 against her and she was the only freshman named a 2017 USA Softball Player of the Year Finalist.
If she can stay healthy all year, this SDSU squad will have a different look just with her help alone. But she won’t be alone.
Utility player Riley Thies is a career .302 hitter after two years at Towson. She played in 90 games, 88 starts, with 23 RBIs, 61 runs, seven doubles, a triple and 41 walks. She had a .398 on-base percentage and a .339 slugging percentage.
Outfielder Alexa Schultz is coming off back-to-back WCWS appearances with Oklahoma. She appeared in 60 games and started once. She was 2-for-22 with seven runs scored, a home run, three RBIs, four walks, a stolen base and a .286 on-base percentage.
Sara Lillie is coming off an injury that sidelined her for most of 2019. Before the injury, she was primarily used as a catcher and made a couple appearances as a designated player. She was perfect in 53 chances and was 9-for-45 in her two seasons.
Summer Hargett transferred to SDSU from Northwestern after the 2018 season but didn’t play in 2019. While at NU, she appeared in 17 games with three starts. She batted .100 (2-for-20) with two RBIs, two runs, three walks and a .208 on-base percentage.
Hannah Johnson played one season at Cal State Fullerton (2018) before transferring. She redshirted in 2019 after suffering a knee injury in the fall. She definitely struggled in her 21.2 innings with the Titans. She was 1-4 with a 9.69 ERA, 12 strikeouts and 13 walks.
Analysis: Balint and Thies should make immediately impacts. Schultz brings WCWS experiences that only Balint has while Hargett and Johnson will have to prove themselves in the fall to crack the lineup in 2020. The veteran postseason experience of Balint and Schultz should help flip the mindset and get things going towards a 2020 NCAA Tournament berth.
Senior: Samaria Diaz
Redshirt Junior: Maddie Hopper
Junior: Brooke Yanez
Sophomore: Mya Felder
Redshirt Freshman: Terra McGowan
Oregon was decimated with players leaving the program before last season. Melyssa Lombardi brought in fire power to reload and this squad will make the 2020 NCAA Tournament.
All-American Brooke Yanez set all kinds of records at UC Davis and is another craft lefty that Lombardi is known to develop. That gives Oregon two All-American arms in the circle.
As a sophomore at UC Davis, Yanez was named the Big West’s Pitcher of the Year with a 25-7 record and ranked fourth nationally with a 1.03 ERA. She struck out 273 batters in 203.2 innings and held opponents to a .179 average.
In her two years combined, she is 40-18 with a 1.38 ERA. She can also swing the bat when called upon which could help Lombardi play with the lineup a little bit when she in the circle.
Samaria Diaz is the right-handed arm that the Ducks needed. She was named the 2019 WAC Pitcher of the Year at New Mexico State. She was 16-9 with a 2.10 ERA with 228 strikeouts in 177 innings.
Mya Felder was the WAC’s Freshman of the Year as a third baseman at New Mexico State in 2019. She led the Aggies with a .357 average, 12 home runs, 16 doubles and a team-high 46 RBIs. Even more impressive was her .701 slugging percentage, .443 on-base percentage and she only struck out 12 times in 157 at-bats.
Terra McGowan transferred for the spring of 2019 but was ruled ineligible so we are including here in this group. She is a power hitter, runs well and was a highly-recruited catcher when she committed to Arizona State.
Maddie Hopper is an Oregon native and spent her first two seasons at Pacific. She was a medical redshirt her freshman year and appeared in 17 games, making seven starts, in 2019. She had 22 plate appearances and record five hits and five RBIs. One of those hits was a home run.
Analysis: Oregon will look like a completely different team this year and our prediction of them being back in the WCWS around 2021 is looking to be on track. Multiple All-American pitchers and big bats to help the coaching staff set a consistent lineup will make the Ducks tough competition for anyone this spring.
Senior: Megan Kleist
Junior: Mia Camuso, Callie Martin, Melissa Mayeux
Sophomore: Geana Torres, Kendall Talley
Louisiana’s 2019 season ended on a walk-off in Regionals to Ole Miss and that will not happen again in 2020.
Senior Summer Ellyson has carried the load for the past two years and now she has help in the form of All-Americann and once Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year Megan Kleist. Kleist reunites with her pitching coach Mike Roberts in Lafayette and this two-headed monster of a staff will be hard to slow down. But, keep in mind, Kleist didn’t play in 2019. Hopefully, for the Cajuns, she doesn’t need to take much time to find her rhythm.
Mia Camuso is another Oregon transfer who didn’t play last season. She started 117 games in her first two seasons in Eugene and hit .341 with a team-high 14 doubles and ranked second with 47 RBIs her freshman year.
Callie Martin and Geanna Torres are both from Mizzou. Martin started 110 games in the outfield. She played centerfield her freshman year and right field last year. Torres made 39 appearances with 29 starts as a Tiger. Most of her playing time was spent as the designated player but she collected 20 hits.
Melissa Mayeux excelled in baseball while growing up in France. She was the first female baseball player added to MLB’s Registration List in June 2015. She switched to softball in 2017 and spent two seasons at Miami Dad College where as a freshman she led the team with a .377 batting average with eight homers, 15 doubles, 31 RBIs and a .715 slugging. She followed that up with a stellar sophomore year, finishing with a .431 average, 59 RBIs, 16 doubles, 10 triples and six homers.
Kendall Talley transferred from Lamar after the 2018 season but was a redshirt last year. She was an everyday starter her freshman year in the outfield and the led the Cardinals with 37 runs scored and a .388 batting average.
Analysis: Gerry Glasco already had the majority of the class in place last year but the Mizzou additions make it even strong. Who wouldn’t want to watch practice and see who wins the competition for playing time? The outfield is stacked with both new and returning talent while the pitching staff could almost be untouchable. This could be the year that Louisiana gets back to Super Regionals and possibly a WCWS appearance.
1. Oklahoma State
Senior: Carrie Eberle (VT), Alysen Febrey (UGA)
Junior: Hayley Busby (UVA)
The Cowgirls lost two All-Americans in Samantha Show and Madi Sue Montgomery. Taylor Lynch also graduated at the end of last season.
In comes last year’s ACC Pitcher of the Year Carrie Eberle. She appeared in 36 games last season at Virginia Tech with an earned run average of 1.84 and 201.1 innings pitched. She has one year of eligibility remaining and is looking to find a way to Oklahoma City for the first time. One detail to mention is that Eberle can hit. She wasn’t used much offensively last season but in 2018, she batted .264 with eight homers and 17 RBIs.
Hayley Busby could prove to be the steal of the transfer portal. Busby has started every game in her first two seasons at shortstop or third base. She hit .381 last season at Virginia with 11 home runs and 27 RBIs in 168 at-bats. Her 66 hits were good for second on the team, one shy of All-American Lacy Smith.
Alysen Febrey started almost every game in her first three years at Georgia and was named NFCA All-Southeast Second Team twice. Last season, she slashed .314/.406/.575 with 36 RBIs and nine homers. In 2018, she hit .389 and finished sixth in the SEC with 72 hits.
Analysis: These three players bring years of starting experience to a team that is back in the WCWS mix. The Cowgirls should be back in OKC this spring and this transfer class will continue to move the program up the rankings.