Under the direction of fifth-year head coach Steve Johnson, Utah State softball will begin practices for its 2018 season on Monday, Jan. 8.

Practices will run from 3 to 6 p.m., on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and from noon to 3 p.m., on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Until LaRee and LeGrand Johnson Field becomes playable, practices will be held in the Stan Laub Indoor Training Center.

Utah State returns six starters to the field this season, including senior third baseman Amee Aarhus, senior catcher Brina Buttacavoli, senior outfielder Jazmin Clark, junior outfielder Mia Maher, sophomore outfielder Riley Plogger and sophomore pitcher Kellie White. In all, the Aggies return 13 players from last year's roster.

Utah State also welcomes eight freshmen to the team this season in Kayla Fielder (League City, Texas/Liberty Hill HS), Kennedy Hira (Mission Viejo, California/Capistrano Valley HS), Delaney Hull (Mission Viejo, California/Capistrano Valley HS), Bri Lerma (Downey, California/Mater Dei HS), Emery Marshall (Syracuse, Utah/Syracuse HS), Leah Molina (Mesa, Arizona/Desert Ridge HS), Stephanie Reed (Santa Fe, Texas/Santa Fe HS) and Joely Williamson (Georgetown, Texas/Liberty Hill HS).

Last season, the Aggies posted a 33-18 record, going 14-9 in Mountain West play. USU posted its best record since 1993 and made its first postseason appearance in 24 years, playing in the inaugural National Invitational Softball Championship.

Utah State opens the 2018 season at the Titan Classic, hosted by Cal State Fullerton, Feb. 9-11. There, the Aggies will play Pittsburgh, Middle Tennessee, Loyola Marymount, Rutgers and the host Titans. USU will play in four preseason tournaments before beginning its single-game competition. The Aggies open the home portion of the season on Wednesday, March 14, when they host Weber State. Mountain West action begins that weekend, when Utah State hosts Boise State, starting on Friday, March 16.

Megan McCuistion is an Assistant Media Relations Coordinator at Utah State.