|Photo credits: Fresno State, Cal-Hi Sports|
Classes for the 2017-18 calendar year have started at all Mountain West schools, and rosters for 2018 MW teams are beginning to be posted.
A lot of changes have taken place on various rosters around the conference, with new coaching arrivals at UNLV and New Mexico at the forefront.
Fresno State, tied with UCLA at a national-record 33 NCAA Tournament appearances all-time, and coming off a third straight trip to the postseason, has seen some major changes. Gone from the Bulldogs are 2017 Mountain West Pitcher of the Year Kamalani Dung, along with first-team All-MW outfielder Morgan Howe. Both were set to be juniors in 2018. Also gone: twin sisters Maddi and Kindra Hackbarth, who just completed their freshman seasons. The Hackbarths and Howe are now at Arizona State, where they are reunited with former Bulldog head coach Trisha Ford, who recruited all three out of high school. Dung is now at Cal.
The 'Dogs also picked up transfers from a pair of power conference schools that both reached the NCAA Tournament in 2016: Oklahoma State of the Big 12, and Illinois of the Big Ten. Former high school All-American Hayleigh Galvan joins Fresno State after playing in 43 games for the Cowgirls last season, while catcher Emily Brodner arrives after two seasons with the Fighting Illini, where she made 60 starts. A pair of big bats on the Bulldog roster in 2018 arrive in the form of two JC All-Americans, Dolly Stevens (Antelope Valley) and Jade Nua (Citrus). Stevens led all JC teams in California with 24 home runs and ranked second with 68 RBI last year. Nua ranked No. 1 in the state with an astonishing .725 on-base percentage and 1.235 slugging percentage that included 16 home runs, 30 extra-base hits and a state-best 42 walks.
Giving the Bulldogs some strong hope is this fact: Mejia, in 18 appearances as a true freshman, finished with a 4.22 ERA and was often at her best against the team's strongest opponents, much like Dung in her freshman year. As a frosh in 2016, Dung also made 18 appearances, and finished with an ERA of 4.41 that improved drastically last season. Could another year under the tutelage of Fresno State's outstanding pitching coach Jodie Cox pave the way for Mejia to replace Dung so quickly? Time will tell. Mejia pitched a complete game as a freshman against national power Washington, and held then-No. 20 Michigan scoreless with five strikeouts in four innings of relief in an NCAA Tournament elimination game.
Fresno State's 2018 roster can be found here. Meanwhile, defending Mountain West champion San Jose State, which won its first NCAA Tournament game in school history in 2017, has unveiled its roster. The Spartans will have the largest roster of any MW team in recent memory, with 30 players making up the squad.
San Jose State's roster, which can be found here, includes a key pitching transfer from Drexel in sophomore Desiree Severance, who prepped at San Jose's Archbishop Mitty. A 3-time CIF section title winner in high school, Severance will be joined by freshmen Morgan Orchard and Caroline Bowman.
Also with their rosters for 2018 now available: Utah State, Nevada, San Diego State, UNLV, and Boise State. At this point, we are still waiting on 2018 rosters for both New Mexico and Colorado State.