Texas State’s Ortiz, Rupp Headline Preseason All-Sun Belt Softball Team

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NEW ORLEANS – The 2018 Sun Belt Conference softball preseason honors were unveiled, headlined by Texas State sweeping the top honors as senior shortstop Ariel Ortiz was tabbed Preseason Player of the Year and senior pitcher Randi Rupp was tabbed Preseason in a vote by the league’s 10 head coaches.

Ortiz and Rupp lead the 15-player All-Sun Belt team that featured seven first-team and six second-team all-conference selections from 2017.

A first-team All-Sun Belt and second-team National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-Central Region pick a year ago, Ortiz did a little bit of it all for the Bobcats in leading the team in batting average, slugging percentage, hits, RBI, doubles, triples, home runs and total bases. She hit .324 (62-for-181) with 47 RBI, 34 runs scored and 127 total bases. The Waxahachie, Texas, native set the school’s single-season home run record with 15 and became the school’s career home run record holder, surpassing the previous record of 29 with an inside-the-park home run at South Alabama on April 8.

Rupp adds to a long list of accolades during her time in San Marcos, voted the conference’s Preseason Pitcher of the Year for the third-straight year. The Mont Belvieu, Texas, native made 44 appearances in the circle with 39 starts as a junior, with a 28-10 record, 1.22 ERA, 203 opponent batting average and 325 strikeouts in 264.2 innings. The three-time, first-team All-Sun Belt selection was named to the NFCA All-Central Region first team and earned espnW and FastPitchNews.com National Player and NFCA National Pitcher of the Week honors on April 11 after winning three games over South Alabama and one over Texas (4-0, 0.00 ERA, 29 strikeouts, 25.2 innings pitched).

Louisiana led the way with four all-conference honorees, followed by South Alabama and UTA (3), Georgia State and Texas State (2) and Georgia Southern (1).

The 2018 softball season begins on Thursday, Feb. 8. The 2018 Sun Belt Conference Softball Championship is set for May 9-12 at Alfred and Helen Lamson Park on the campus of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

2018 Preseason All-Sun Belt Team
Randi Rupp (Texas State, SP, Sr.)
Devin Brown (South Alabama, SP, Sr.)
Lexie Comeaux (Louisiana, C, Jr.)
Ivie Drake (Georgia State, C, Sr.)
Aileen Garcia (UTA, 1B/C, So.)
Sandra Mendoza (UTA, 2B, Sr.)
Kaleigh Todd (South Alabama, 2B, Sr.)
Kristian Foster (South Alabama, SS, Sr.)
Ariel Ortiz (Texas State, SS, Sr.)
Alissa Dalton (Louisiana, SS, So.)
Kara Gremillion (Louisiana, 3B, Jr.)
Mekhia Freeman (Georgia Southern, OF, So.)
Kelli Martinez (Louisiana, OF, Sr.)
Krista Rude (UTA, OF, Jr.)
Megan Litumbe (Georgia State, DP, RSr.)

2018 Preseason Player of the Year
Ariel Ortiz (Texas State, SS, Sr.)

2018 Preseason Pitcher of the Year
Randi Rupp (Texas State, SP, Sr.)

About the Sun Belt Conference
The Sun Belt Conference continues to establish itself as a force to be reckoned with in competition.  The 2016-17 athletic season showed that the Sun Belt Conference takes a back seat to no other league in its competitive balance and in proving itself deserving of its status as a member of the NCAA’s highest conference tier.


The Sun Belt has gone 8-3 in bowl games the past two years, which makes the Sun Belt’s winning percentage the best among all conferences. In fact, over the past four years no one ranks higher in bowl winning percentage than the Sun Belt. The Sun Belt also had the most wins and best win percentage among the “Group of Five” peer conferences, including victories over teams in the two top-rated leagues in the final computer rankings.

During the recent 2016-17 academic year, Sun Belt member institutions awarded over $50 million in scholarships to more than 3,100 student-athletes, while also providing life experiences such as team building, domestic and foreign travel, community service, mentoring and recognition through honors and awards.

Appalachian State, Arkansas State, Coastal Carolina, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, Louisiana, ULM, South Alabama, Texas State and Troy will give the league 10 football members and enable the Sun Belt to inaugurate divisional football play and stage a conference championship game in 2018. Little Rock and UTA compete as Sun Belt members in all sports other than football.

For more information on the Sun Belt Conference, visit www.sunbeltsports.org

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Jude Young


As a New Orleans-area native, Jude grew up a fan of all sports and teams in the area. It’s a passion for the games that brought him into the fields of sports broadcasting and journalism. Whether he’s informing, reporting or entertaining, Jude brings his own special flavor to the task at hand. This Jesuit High School and Loyola New Orleans…

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