Veteran-filled roster has Pacific softball confident of success

softball players give each other a high five

The 2024 softball season begins on the road with a three-day tournament starting Feb. 9 at Cal State Fullerton.

University of the Pacific softball enters the 2024 season teeming with confidence behind a veteran-filled roster that has lofty team expectations.

The Tigers graduated only three players last year and added two transfers and three freshmen in the offseason.

Pacific had success in fall exhibition play, and now is primed to carry that into spring competition.

“The biggest things I have seen with this team are better communication, their commitment to work together, more cohesiveness and trying to learn about each other,” head coach Brian Kolze said. 

Rian Dirmeyer ’24 is a prime example. Dirmeyer had 25 hits in 117 at bats and led Pacific with a .402 slugging percentage a year ago. She is confident in the team’s approach and outlook.

“We put in work off the field,” Dirmeyer said. “Everyone got to know each other well, which is going to be great for team chemistry. It is going to be a fun year.”

Graduate student Vanessa Strong ’24 leads Pacific’s pitching staff. She had five wins in 15 starts in 84.2 innings last season. She led the Tigers with a 3.56 earned run average and struck out 60 batters.

“We increased conditioning and stamina training,” Strong said. “That is going to help us in a long season (34 games).”

Pacific softball embarks on its 32nd season with Kolze at the helm. The Tigers are 817-791-2 during that time, including eight NCAA Regional appearances and a Big West Conference title in 2011. Kolze surpassed 800 wins during the 2023 season.

“We have some great options and more versatility this year and I think what that creates is people feeling like nobody has to do everything by themselves,” Kolze said.

Pacific softball starts on the road, traveling to Cal State Fullerton for a three-day tournament Friday, Feb. 9 through Sunday, Feb. 11. The Tigers debut at home Friday, Feb. 23 through Sunday, Feb. 25 for its Libby Matson Tournament. See the full schedule.