Texas State selected to win Sun Belt

Photo by Gerald Castillo

Texas State Softball

Texas State was selected as the favorite to win the Sun Belt, the conference announced on Thursday. 

The Bobcats nabbed six first-place votes to secure the top spot.

“It is exciting for our squad to be picked to finish first,” head coach Ricci Woodard said in a statement. “It is a testament to the foundation our upperclassmen have laid. While it is something worth noting, we now have the task ahead of us to compete day after day to actually make this goal a reality.”

 Louisiana was picked to finish second with four first-place votes. Georgia State was selected at No. 3, South Alabama was No. 4, Louisiana-Monroe came in at No. 5, UT Arlington was picked No. 6, Coastal Carolina and Georgia Southern tied for No. 7, Troy came in No. 9, and Appalachian State rounded out the preseason poll at No. 10. 

Alongside Texas State’s first-place selection, Bobcat senior pitcher Randi Rupp was named Sun Belt preseason pitcher of the year. This is Rupp’s third Sun Belt pitcher of the year accolade. She is coming of a 2017 campaign where she recorded 325 strikeouts, which ranked seventh in the NCAA. During her tenure at Texas State, Rupp has 953 strikeouts in 779 innings pitched. 

“After the success of her junior year, this preseason honor is much deserved for Randi,” Woodard said. “She works hard and has learned to compete with every pitch. She looks to cap off her career with a strong senior campaign.”

Texas State senior shortstop Ariel Ortiz was named Sun Belt preseason player of the year. Ortiz was named to the All-Sun Belt first team last season after amassing a .343 batting average, 47 RBIs and 15 home runs, which is the Texas State single-season record.

“Ariel has put herself in a position to continue to have a great impact in our lineup,”Woodard said. “Her preseason nod demonstrates the respect she has garnered from our conference.”

Texas State begins its season against Sam Houston State on Feb. 8 at 6 p.m.

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