Jan. 28, 2014
RUSTON - Louisiana Tech senior Erin Kipp and sophomore Anna Cross were both voted to the Conference USA Preseason Coaches Team while the Lady Techsters were picked to finish eighth out of 13 teams as the league released the results on Tuesday.
Kipp was voted preseason all-conference at the designated player position while Cross earned her spot on the team as one of the two utility players on the 13-member squad.
As a junior, Kipp batted .349 with 51 hits, 14 doubles, two triples and four home runs while scoring 28 times and driving in 22 runs. She led the team in total bases (81), batting average, slugging percentage (.555) and doubles while she also stole 11 bases in 15 attempts.
The Bullard, Texas native earned numerous postseason accolades, including second team all-Western Athletic Conference honors by the league coaches and second team all-state honors by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association. Kipp also became the first Tech softball player in 15 years named to the Capital One CoSIDA Academic All-American team.
Cross earned her spot on the preseason team after a rookie campaign that saw her bat .323with 40 hits, nine doubles, six home runs, 30 runs and 29 RBI. She was 20-of-22 in stolen bases during the year. In the circle, the Cross Roads, Texas native was 6-8 with a 3.06 earned run average, including picking up her first collegiate win at New Mexico State, handing the Aggies their only home conference loss in 12 games.
Cross became the first LA Tech player to ever earn WAC Freshman of the Year honors while also being named first team all-WAC by the league coaches. She also earned Academic All-WAC honors.
UAB was voted as the preseason favorite to win the league title. UAB earned seven first-place votes and is ranked No. 21 in the nation in the USA Today/NFCA Division I Softball Preseason Poll. The Blazers are coming off their best season in school history, posting a 40-19 record in 2013, claiming the Conference USA regular season title (19-4) and advancing to the program's first NCAA Super Regional.
Tulsa, which is receiving votes in the USA Today/NFCA poll, boasts both the C-USA Preseason Player of the Year in Jill Barrett and Pitcher of the Year in Aimee Creger.
Barrett started all 59 games at third base for the Golden Hurricane in 2013, earning all-region and all-conference distinction. She led the league in batting average (.415) and hits (83), and accounted for 42 runs, 31 RBI, 12 doubles, one triple and two home runs.
Creger totaled 36 appearances in 2013, making 31 starts, en route to C-USA Pitcher of the Year accolades. She posted a 25-7 mark, pitching 26 complete games, compiling a league-best 1.15 ERA (5th, NCAA) and .176 opposing batting average in 200.2 innings pitched. Creger struck out 286 batters, averaging 9.98 strikeouts/seven innings.
The Lady Techsters are coming off a 2013 season that saw them record a 27-26 record and the program's highest finish ever in their 12-year affiliation with the WAC. Tech returns nine letter winners and adds nine newcomers to this year's roster.
Head coach Mark Montgomery's team opens its season the weekend of Feb. 7-9 when they host a three-day, six-team, 15-game tournament at the Lady Techster Softball Complex in Ruston. Tickets for the tournament are $10 per day for adults ($5 for youth age 3-17) and $20 for an all-tournament pass ($10 for youth).
Tech fans can follow all of the latest on the Lady Techster Softball team at LATechSports.com. Fans can also follow through social media via Twitter at @LATechSB and by LIKING the Lady Techster Facebook page at Facebook.com/LouisianaTechSoftball.
2014 Conference USA Preseason Poll (1st place votes) 1. UAB (7)
2. Tulsa (5)
4. East Carolina (1)
5. North Texas
7. Florida Atlantic
8. Louisiana Tech
11. Southern Miss
13. Middle Tennessee
2014 All-Conference USA Preseason Softball Team
P - Aimee Creger, Tulsa, Sr.
P - Lannah Campbell, UAB, Sr.
C - Megan Low, UTSA, Jr.
IF - Chelsea Ingersoll, Charlotte, Sr.
IF - Brooke Foster, North Texas, Sr.
IF - Jill Barrett, Tulsa, Sr.
IF - Caitlin Attfield, UAB, So.
OF - Kaelynn Greene, Marshall, So.
OF - Haley Henshaw, Tulsa, Sr.
OF - Darian Blake, UTSA, Sr.
DP - Erin Kipp, Louisiana Tech, Sr.
UT - Anna Cross, Louisiana Tech, So.
UT - Shaelynn Braxton, Marshall, So.
2014 All-Conference USA Preseason Player of the Year
Jill Barrett, Tulsa, Sr., IF, Greenwood, Ark.
2014 All-Conference USA Preseason Pitcher of the Year
Aimee Creger, Tulsa, Sr., RHP, Yukon, Okla.