LA Tech Softball Tabbed to Win Conference USA
Jan. 18, 2018
RUSTON – Louisiana Tech softball set all sorts of program firsts as a team and as individual players last year and three weeks before the 2018 season opens, the Lady Techsters have set another one.
For the first time in program history, Louisiana Tech is the preseason favorite to win the Conference USA regular season title according to the 12 league coaches.
Head coach Mark Montgomery and Co. were selected first out of 12 teams by a vote of the Conference USA coaches, edging FIU for No. 1 on the league’s Preseason Coaches’ Poll released Thursday.
Tech earned four of the 11 first place votes (one coach failed to submit a ballot) while FIU picked up seven first place votes. However, the Lady Techsters edged the Golden Panthers in total points to take the top spot. Tech and FIU were followed by Florida Atlantic, Charlotte, Marshall, UAB, WKU, North Texas, Southern Miss, UTSA, Middle Tennessee and UTEP.
In addition to the team honor, Louisiana Tech saw three players earn preseason All-Conference USA honors as junior outfielder Morgan Turkoly (Accounting major), junior pitcher Krystal De La Cruz (Health and Information Management major) and sophomore catcher Marilyn Rizzato (Biology major) all earned a spot on the 16-member team.
Tech, Florida Atlantic and Charlotte led the way with three selections each. This also marks the most players a LA Tech team has placed on a preseason all-conference team in program history.
Turkoly is coming off a sophomore season that saw the Sanger, Texas native earn first team all-CUSA honors after batting .370 with 12 doubles, three home runs, 35 runs and 41 RBI despite missing a 14 games of the season with an injury. She also became the first Lady Techster softball player to ever earn the league trifecta of being named to the Conference USA Commissioner’s Honor Roll, a Conference USA Academic Medalist and to the Conference USA Softball All-Academic Team.
De La Cruz surprised many during her first year, earning the Conference USA Newcomer of the Year Award while also holding a spot on the All-CUSA first team. The Eagle Pass, Texas native and transfer from Texas A&M International recorded a 13-4 record with a 2.01 earned run average. She tossed a complete-game 1-0 shutout over FIU in the C-USA championship game.
Rizzato earned her place on the preseason team coming off a freshman campaign that saw her bat .243 with nine doubles, five home runs and 34 RBI. She also threw out 12 base runners during the season for the Lady Techsters. In the classroom, she earned a spot on the C-USA Commissioner’s Honor Role.
FIU sophomore pitcher Shannon Saile was selected as the preseason Pitcher of the Year while Florida Atlantic senior shortstop Emily Lochten is the preseason Player of the Year.
The Lady Techsters open their season Feb. 8-10 at the Puerta Vallarta Collegiate Challenge in Mexico.
2018 Conference USA Softball Preseason All-Conference Team
2018 Preseason Player of the Year
2018 Preseason Pitcher of the Year
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