Georgia State softball’s 2019 season gets underway Thursday in Honolulu against Saint Mary’s College in the Hawaii Paradise Classic.

Head coach Roger Kincaid’s squad will feature a veteran infield anchored at third base by preseason All-Sun Belt selection Kristin Hawkins. A redshirt senior, Hawkins has an elite glove at the hot corner and showed increased production at the plate in 2018. Hawkins hit .308 in Sun Belt play and hit her first career home run against Louisiana on April 7.

Skylar Mosel was named Second Team All-Sun Belt in 2018 after a strong freshman season at shortstop. Mosel hit .300 and was third on the team in both home runs (7) and RBI (25). Other returnees in the infield include Kirsten McMonigle who was second on the team in hitting last season at .336, Baylee Sexton (25 games played) and Caitlin Ray (35 games played).

Georgia State will also return two starters in the outfield as Reagan Morgan and Remington Hasty look to have strong senior seasons. Hasty hit five home runs with 21 RBI and produced some spectacular highlights on defense. Morgan hit .324 with a pair of long balls and 20 RBI in 2018.

Arden Jobe is one of four catchers on the roster following the graduation of 2018 Sun Belt Player of the Year Ivie Drake. Jobe made 41 starts at catcher and first base in 2018, hitting .250 with three home runs and 22 RBI.

In the circle, GSU returns Mandy Chance who tallied GSU’s top ERA in 2018. Chance grew stronger and stronger as the season went on, finishing with a 12-9 record and 3.70 ERA. In Sun Belt contests, Chance’s ERA lowered to 2.84.

Mallory Parson also improved over the season in her first campaign as a Panther. She threw 23.1 innings in 2018.

After missing most last season to injury, Emily Soles looks to return to form in 2019. At the time of her injury, Soles was GSU’s top arm. She was 5-2 with a 3.12 ERA.

The Panthers have 13 newcomers this season including 10 freshmen. Kincaid expects several freshmen to emerge as key players on the 2019 squad.

“We are excited to get out and see how we match up next week in Hawaii,” Kincaid said. “With so many new faces this year, I expect the team to continue to get better with each game as we work towards conference play and the Sun Belt Championship in May.”

Georgia State’s home opener will be Feb. 20 against Georgia. The Bulldogs are ranked No. 6 in the preseason poll and will visit the Bob Heck Softball complex for the first time since April 27, 2005.

Georgia State will also host No. 17 Auburn on March 17 and Georgia Tech on April 3.

The Panthers will play 21 home games in 2019.

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