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UL Softball Picked To Win Sun Belt Conference

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Louisiana’s Ragin’ Cajun softball team was picked to win another Sun Belt Conference  title, receiving all nine first-place votes by the league’s head coaches, in the 2013 Preseason Coaches Poll, which was released on Monday.

Louisiana, who have won five-consecutive regular season league titles, and 11 of the past 12 SBC regular season championships, have made 14-straight NCAA Regional appearances, as well as 21 in the last 22 years.

The Cajuns, who went 53-6 in 2011, including an NCAA Super Regional appearance, return five non-pitching starters from last year’s squad, along with with two pitchers who have combined for 38 wins in only season season of work.

Louisiana returns senior catcher Sarah Drahiem, senior first baseman Matte Haack, senior shortstop Neriss Myers, junior third baseman Natalie Fernandez, senior and outfielder Brianna Cherry, along with sophomore pitchers Jordan Wallace, who won 27 games in the circle last season, and Christina Hamilton, who won 11 games in 2011, before missing last season with a knee injury.

South Alabama, who won the 2012 Sun Belt Conference Postseason Tournament, was picked second, with 71 points, followed by FIU (52 points), Troy (49 points), North Texas (48 points), WKU (43 points), FAU (25 points), ULM (24 points) and Middle Tennessee (12 points).

Meanwhile, Myers and Wallace highlight the 2013 Preseason All-Sun Belt Conference Team, which features six Louisiana players.

Myers, last season’s national leader in runs scored and third in RBI’s, was tabbed the Sun Belt’s Preseason Player of the Year, while Wallace, who established the NCAA record for best start to a career by a freshman with a 23-0 record, was the choice for Sun Belt Preseason Pitcher of the Year.

Draheim, Haack, Fernandez, Cherry were also named to the team.

The Cajuns will open their 2013 season this weekend, as they take part in the Hilton Houston Plaza Classic, in Houston, Texas.

The 2013 Sun Belt Conference Preseason Coaches Poll, as well as the 2013 Preseason All-Sun Belt Conference Team is below:

2013 PRESEASON SUN BELT COACHES POLLVoted on by the league’s head coaches • (First place votes in parenthesis)

1)—Louisiana – 81 (9)   2)—South Alabama – 71    3)—FIU – 52   4)—Troy – 49   5)—North Texas – 48   6)—WKU – 43   7)—Florida Atlantic – 25    8)—ULM – 24   9)—-Middle Tennessee – 12

2013 PRESEASON ALL-SUN BELT CONFERENCE TEAM Jordan Wallace (Louisiana, Sophomore, P) Hannah Campbell (South Alabama, Junior, P) Sarah Draheim (Louisiana, Senior, C) Matte Haack (Louisiana, Senior, 1B) Kayla Toney (Middle Tennessee, Junior, 2B) Nerissa Myers (Louisiana, Senior, SS) Natalie Fernandez (Louisiana, Junior, 3B) Jessy Alfonso (FIU, Senior, OF) Brianna Cherry (Louisiana, Senior, OF) Blair Johnson (South Alabama, Sophomore, OF) Kelsie Mattox (WKU, Junior, OF) Taylor Fawbush (FAU, Senior, UT/DP) Kayla Burri (FIU, Senior, At-Large) Brie Rojas (FIU, Senior, At-Large) Britney Campbell (South Alabama, Senior, At-Large) Hannah Renn (Troy, Senior, At-Large) Karavin Dew (WKU, Senior, At-Large) PRESEASON PLAYER OF THE YEAR Nerissa Myers, Louisiana-Lafayette PRESEASON PITCHER OF THE YEAR Jordan Wallace, Louisiana-Lafayette

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