Where Are They Now? Stroud the ace of Sacramento State


The ace in Sacramento State’s stellar season, Taylor Stroud overcame injury and became a sharper pitcher in the process.

In her second season out of Montgomery High, the All-Empire great recorded better than half of Sacramento State’s victories. The Hornets finished with the highest winning percentage in team history, going 27-19, including a program best nine-game win streak.

“It was a really exciting season. I’m really excited for next year,” Stroud said.

Highlights for Stroud included leading Sacramento State past Fresno State on the road for the first time ever, going the final six in an extra-innings victory. Stroud saved three games — closing was new to her — and she completed all but two of her 13 starts.

That she went 14-9 battling tendinitis in her pitching hand owed to Stroud’s competitiveness. Stroud went through heat treatment before games and physical therapy between appearances.

“It’s been hard. You have to give it all you have,” she said.

Yet the injury demanded that Stroud gain greater command of pitches to keep hitters guessing.

“The college game is all mental. You most definitely have to be a student of the game,” she said.

Stroud was prepared to compete at a high level coming off a strong freshman campaign.

Summer workouts following the team program and under a personal trainer was something new and had Stroud anxious to get on the field. After fall ball was more conditioning and fine tuning her approach on the mound.

“I’m a lot stronger. My legs aren’t tired after games,” she said. “Mentally I’m better at where I want my pitches to go and how to get hitters out.”

Still using her seven pitches from high school, Stroud is better at relying on the defense to make outs. She also minimizes base on balls — Stroud struck out twice as many as she walked this season.

Postseason softball is Stroud’s goal next season. Sacramento State is leaving the Pacific Coast Softball Conference for the Big Sky Conference.

“Going to the NCAA tournament would be really amazing,” she said.