HATTIESBURG, Miss. – Following a record-setting season including its first ever Conference USA West Division title, Louisiana Tech saw a program record six players voted to the league’s postseason all-conference team released by the league office Tuesday.
Tech opens the Conference USA Tournament hosted by Southern Miss in Hattiesburg Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. against the winner of North Texas vs. Charlotte. Every LA Tech game during the league tournament will be broadcast live on the LA Tech Sports Network on ESPN 97.7 FM (Saturday’s championship game would be on KPCH 99.3 FM).
The Lady Techsters led all Conference USA teams with six honorees on the first and second team with league champion Marshall coming in second with five and FIU placing four.
Head coach Mark Montgomery’s team saw sophomore outfielder Morgan Turkoly, sophomore pitcher Krystal De La Cruz and junior utility/outfielder Ali Galaz voted to the first team by the league coaches while sophomore pitcher Preslee Gallaway, freshman catcher Marilyn Rizzato and sophomore outfielder Jazlyn Crowder were voted to the second team.
De La Cruz was voted the Conference USA Newcomer of the Year while Rizzato was also voted to the league’s All-Freshman team.
De La Cruz picked up her pair of honors after a season that saw her post a 10-3 record and two saves with a 2.03 earned run average. She worked 100 innings allowing opponents to bat only .212, allowing 77 hits and 28 walks while striking out 56. In Conference USA-only games, the Eagle Pass, Teas native and Texas A&M International transfer posted a record of 5-3 with a 1.62 earned run average.
Turkoly, who earned second team honors and all-frosh honors a year ago, was one of four outfielders to earn first team accolades after batting .398 with 45 hits, 11 doubles, 2 triples and 2 home runs with 33 runs and 34 RBI in a season that saw her miss 14 games with a broken hand. In Conference USA-only games the Sanger, Texas native hit .425 with seven doubles, one triple, one home run, 20 runs and 17 RBI.
Galaz, who transferred from Tyler Women’s University, picked up first team honors at the Utility/DP position after batting .333 with 43 hits, 10 doubles, two triples, three home runs, 29 runs scored and 25 RBI. In league-only action, the Mineola, Texas native batted .436 with seven doubles, two home runs, 16 runs and 15 RBI.
For the first time in Tech softball history, the Lady Techsters placed a pair of pitchers on the all-conference team as Gallaway picked up second team honors. The Pilot Point, Texas native recorded a 14-12 record and three saves along with a 2.77 earned run average. She led Tech with 144 innings, allowing 146 hits and 32 walks while striking out a team high 125 batters. In Conference USA-only games, Gallaway was 7-2 with three saves and a 2.03 earned run average.
Crowder was another transfer that LA Tech hit on this year. The former Tyler Junior College star earned second team honors in the outfield, batting .293 with 54 hits, 16 doubles, three triples, six home runs, 42 runs and 27 RBI. In league-only action, the Kennedale, Texas native batted .282 with seven doubles, two triples, one home run, 13 runs and 12 RBI.
Rizzato picked up second team and all-freshman team honors as a rookie. The Forney, Texas native batted .240 with eight doubles, five home runs, 21 runs and 30 RBI while throwing out 12 base stealers and committing just one error in over 200 chances behind the plate. In league-only games, she batted .245 with two home runs and 10 RBI.
The six honorees are the most ever by a LA Tech softball team, surpassing the previous record of five set in 2009.
Marshall infielder Morgan Zerkle was voted Player of the Year while teammate Jordan Dixon was voted Pitcher of the Year. Thundering Herd coach Shonda Stanton was named Coach of the Year. FIU pitcher Shannon Saile was named Freshman of the Year.