BEAUMONT, Texas – The Lamar University softball team placed a program-record seven players on the All-Southland Conference team that was announced Monday by the SLC office.
The Cardinals had two first-team selections, two second-team choices and two-third-team performers along with one honorable-mention selection.
“I think having seven players make all-conference shows we are moving in the right direction as a program,” LU coach Holly Bruder said. “A few years ago, we weren’t getting the respect I thought we deserved when some players who I thought should be all-conference weren’t recognized. I think this year’s selections were very fair.”
Senior catcher Brynn Baca and junior center fielder Brittany Rodriguez both earned first-team honors for the second straight year. Baca has been the catcher in 52 of LU’s 53 games this season. She has a .315 batting average with one home run and a team-leading 30 RBIs. Rodriguez leads LU with a .396 batting average, a .518 slugging percentage and a .468 on-base percentage. She leads the Cardinals with nine outfield assists this spring.
Senior right-handed pitcher Ciara Luna was named to the second team along with junior Sable Hankins, who earned the spot as utility player. Luna (12-15, 2.50), who was the 2016 Southland Conference Newcomer of the year along with being a second-team all-conference selection last year, leads team with 120 strikeouts this year. Her 232 career strikeouts are an LU record.
Hankins, who started the season at shortstop before moving to third base, is hitting .298 with a team-leading four home runs. Hankins is second on the Cardinals with 27 RBIs.
Senior left fielder Ashley McDowell and sophomore second baseman Kelly Meeuwsen are LU’s representatives on the third team. McDowell is batting .298 with two home runs and 22 RBIs this spring. McDowell holds the LU career marks for home runs (21), run scored (129), doubles (41), RBIs (107), total bases (309), walk-off hits (5), fielding chances (1,169 and putouts (1,086). McDowell is in her first season of playing in the outfield after spending most of her career at first base.
Meeuwsen, a second-team all-conference choice at second base as a freshman, is batting .290 this season with one home run and 26 RBIs. She leads the LU defense with 126 assists.
Corina Thornton, a junior right fielder, earned honorable-mention status. Thornton is batting a career-best .286 this season with a career-high 14 RBIs.
“To have all three of our seniors named all-conference shows we are bringing the right student-athletes to Lamar University,” Bruder said. “They have made significant contributions to our program. But I’m excited that we have four returning players named all-conference. That shows that our future is bright.”
The Cardinals (27-26 overall, 17-10 Southland Conference) are the third seed for the Southland Conference Tournament that gets underway Wednesday on the campus of the University of Central Arkansas in Conway, Ark. LU faces sixth-seeded Northwestern State at 11 a.m. Wednesday to open the double-elimination event.
“We have had a good season, but we still want to accomplish more,” Bruder said. “Having seven all-conference players is the sign of a good team. We just have to perform our best this week.”