Arizona State isn’t at the Women’s College World Series, but Trisha Ford and company are clearly taking the time to add talent for next year’s roster.
Jessi Puk, who had spent the previous four years at Ole Miss, announced on her Instagram that she’ll be transferring to Arizona State to use her last year of eligibility after graduating.
Puk wrote in her post:
“I couldn’t be more thankful for Ole Miss and the 4 years I spent in Oxford. From the people that I met to the memories I’ve made, Ole Miss will always have a very special place in my heart and I’m forever grateful for the university and Ole Miss Softball. After receiving my degree from Ole Miss, I’ve very excited to announce that I will be pursuing higher education and playing out my last year of eligibility at Arizona State University! I can’t wait to get to Tempe and get to work! #forksup”
Puk offers a lot of defensive versatility. In her time at Ole Miss, she played a lot of left field, second base and spent time behind the plate.
Catcher was a big hole heading into the 2022 season for Arizona State. Maddi Hackbarth’s graduation plus the departures of Harleigh Braswell (transfer) and Macy Simmons (left the program) meant that the only projected catcher on the roster was incoming freshman Liliana Thomas. While Thomas, the reigning Hawaii Gatorade Player of the Year, will probably be the starter, Puk can catch a few games to allow Thomas’ legs some rest like she did for Autumn Gillespie in Oxford.
Puk also played 61 games at second base back in 2019. Last season, Arizona State used a mixture of Halle Harger, Brittany Holland and Savannah Price there. Price took over the job late in the season and in the postseason despite being a true freshman.
Outfield is a position Puk is used to as well. However, Jazmine Hill and Makenna Harper already control the corner outfield spots. Yanni Acuña is an outfielder as well but is probably slated to be the designated player again. The program also has high hopes for Emily Cazares, a highly touted recruited that saw some action in her freshman season last year. Kindra Hackbarth’s center fielder spot it open, but it seems more likely Hill or Cazares takes over there.
Puk was a .263 hitter, primary batting in the second or third spot in the Rebels’ lineup this past season. She has some power in her bat, driving out 18 home runs the past three season.