STARKVILLE, Miss. – One of the top players in the Atlantic 10 Conference in 2017 will be making the move to the Maroon and White next season, as Vann Stuedeman announced the addition of sophomore transfer Candace Denis.
“We are thrilled that Candace will be joining our Bulldog softball family this fall,” Stuedeman said. “Her ability to play anywhere on the field combined with her high character, discipline, work ethic and desire to be excellent make her a
perfect fit. She is a no excuse, get it done Bulldog.”
The Malakoff, Texas native comes to Starkville via UMass, where she put together one of the best freshman campaigns in the A-10 last year. Denis reeled in NFCA All-Northeast Region Third Team honors, while also landing on the A-10 All-Rookie and All-Championship teams.
In her first year on the collegiate stage, Denis showcased her ability to play anywhere on the field and proved to be one of the most versatile players in the nation. Playing in all of UMass’ 53 games, Denis drew 18 starts at pitcher, 11 as the designated player, eight at second base, seven at shortstop, seven in left field, two in right field and one at second base.
Denis posted an 8-8 record with a 3.02 ERA in the circle. She threw 13 complete games and struck out 99 batters, ranking third overall and second amongst rookies in the A-10 in opponent batting average (.221). She also allowed just
5.80 hits per seven innings, which finished second in the league.
Also a threat at the plate, Denis turned in a .296 clip with 47 hits, 31 runs scored and 14 runs batted in. Of those 47 hits, two were doubles, while she also earned a triple and a home run on the year.
Speed is also a major factor in Denis’ game, as she stole 25 bases during the 2017 season and her 0.47 stolen bases per game average closed out at third in the conference. Her total set the UMass freshman record for steals in a season and ranks tied for fifth all-time.
Prior to heading north to Massachusetts, Denis was a four-year letterwinner as a pitcher and utility player at Malakoff High School. The two-time all-state honoree was also named team captain in three of her seasons and was twice honored as the team MVP. Denis had a standout year in 2015, earning 18-3A Player of the Year and Offensive Player of the Year laurels. Denis’ skills weren’t just limited to the diamond, as she also lettered in volleyball and track and field, where she was a four-time regional qualifier as a member of the 4×100-meter relay.
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Source- Mississippi State Athletics