SOFTBALL: Sanders picks up national honors, record-tying 5th Sun Belt Player of the Week

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LAFAYETTE – LAFAYETTE – DJ Sanders’ rapid increase in offensive production the past two weeks has garnered national attention for the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Softball shortstop.

On Tuesday, Sanders added a pair of national honors in the same day she tied the school record with a fifth Sun Belt Player of the Week award.

Both the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) and USA Softball bestowed their respective player of the week honor on the Ragin’ Cajuns standout. Sanders was tabbed Louisville/Slugger NFCA Division I National Player of the Week and USA Softball Collegiate National Player of the Week.

Sanders collected the first national awards of her career. She joins former Ragin’ Cajun and three-time All-American and Sun Belt Player of the Year Lexie Elkins, who won both awards on Feb. 16, 2016, as recent program members to sweep the national honors.

It’s the second national honor for the Ragin’ Cajuns this season. Back in February, Alyssa Denham earned the distinction from USA Softball after her role in the Alabama series win.

Sanders was a familiar site on the base paths last week. She reached base safely in 14 of 15 plate appearances and scored all but once, totaling 13 runs. The junior from Columbus, Miss., also drew nine walks and recorded a .933 on-base percentage.

Sanders recorded five hits (5-for-6) last week, four of which left the park, and drove in 10 runs. She opened the scoring with a two-run first-inning homer in a 11-9 road win at No. 4 Texas A&M and also drew a pair of two-out walks that set up a grand slam and a base-clearing double from Haley Hayden. In Saturday’s Sun Belt doubleheader versus Georgia State, she was 4-for-4 with three dingers, seven RBI and seven runs scored.

“We have a plan that changes for each pitcher and Coach Mike does a good job preparing us for what’s coming,” Sanders said after Saturday’s performance at the plate. “We spend all week preparing for it, so I’m not up there guessing what the pitcher is going to throw. It just so happens that when I square it, it usually goes out, but it’s only because of the preparation that Coach Mike has put in.”

Her home run production on the week increased her nation-leading total to 27, which is the third-most in a single season in Ragin’ Cajun history trailing only 30 by Gomez in 2006 and Elkins’ record 32 hit in 2015.

In addition to home runs, Sanders is currently the nation’s leader in runs per game (1.45), RBI (70), RBI per game (1.67), total bases (140) and slugging percentage (1.157).

Last week’s performance continued a month-long hot streak for the Ragin’ Cajuns slugger. Since April 1, Sanders is batting .500 with 26 runs scored, 11 home runs, 33 RBI and a 1.563 slugging percentage.

The 16th-ranked Ragin’ Cajuns (36-6, 17-1 Sun Belt) close out the home portion of the 2017 schedule and celebrate Senior Weekend Saturday-Sunday, April 29-30 at Lamson Park hosting Coastal Carolina (29-19, 7-13 Sun Belt) in a three-game Sun Belt series.

For more information on Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Softball, as well as all of Ragin’ Cajuns Athletics, visit RaginCajuns.com. Fans can also follow along with the team on Facebook (/RaginCajunSoftball),Twitter (@RaginCajunsSB) and Instagram (@RaginCajunsSoftball).

2017 RAGIN’ CAJUNS SUN BELT PLAYER/PITCHER OF THE WEEK HONORS
Feb. 14 – Kelli Martinez (Player of the Week)
Feb. 21 – DJ Sanders (Player of the Week)
Feb. 21 – Alyssa Denham (Pitcher of the Week)
Feb. 28 – DJ Sanders (Player of the Week)
Mar. 7 – Lexie Comeaux (Player of the Week)
Mar. 7 – Alex Stewart (Pitcher of the Week)
Mar. 28 – DJ Sanders (Player of the Week)
Apr. 4 – Daniella Chavez (Player of the Week)
Apr. 11 – Aleah Craighton (Player of the Week)
Apr. 18 – DJ Sanders (Player of the Week)
Apr. 18 – Alyssa Denham (Pitcher of the Week)
Apr. 25 – DJ Sanders (Player of the Week)

RAGIN’ CAJUNS SOFTBALL SUN BELT PLAYER OF THE WEEK ARCHIVE
2017: Kelli Martinez (2/14); DJ Sanders (2/21); DJ Sanders (2/28); Lexie Comeaux (3/7); DJ Sanders (3/28); Daniella Chavez (4/4); Aleah Craighton (4/11); DJ Sanders (4/18); DJ Sanders (4/25)
2016: Lexie Elkins (2/16); DJ Sanders (3/8); Shellie Landry (3/28); Aleah Craighton (4/11); Kara Gremillion (5/9)
2015: Lexie Elkins (3/23); Lexie Elkins (4/20); Aleah Craighton (5/4)
2014: Lexie Elkins (2/10); Natalie Fernandez (3/24); Lexie Elkins (4/7)
2013: Brianna Cherry (2/25); Nerissa Myers (4/8); Nerissa Myers (4/29)
2012: Christi Orgeron (2/13); Christi Orgeron (2/20); Nerissa Myers (3/5); Nerissa Myers (3/19); Christi Orgeron (3/26); Christi Orgeron (4/23)
2011: Gabriele Bridges (2/14); Christi Orgeron (3/7); Gabriel Bridges (3/21); Christi Orgeron (4/18); Gabriele Bridges (5/2); Gabriele Bridges (5/9)
2010: Vallie Gaspard (2/15); Christi Orgeron (3/8); Christi Orgeron (3/29)
2009: Gabriele Bridges (2/16); Karli Hubbard (3/16); Gabriele Bridges (4/6); Christi Orgeron (4/20); Christi Orgeron (4/27)
2008: Melissa Verde (2/11); Holly Tankersley (3/10); Holly Tankersley (4/14)
2007: Codi Runyan (2/12); Holly Tankersley (2/19); Holly Tankersley (2/26); Holly Tankersley (3/12); Holly Tankersley (3/19); Melissa Verde (4/23)
2006: Danyele Gomez (2/14); Danyele Gomez (2/21); Danyele Gomez (4/3); Danyele Gomez (4/10); Danyele Gomez (4/24); Codi Runyan (5/8)
2005: Jill Robertson (2/21); Crystal George (3/14); Jill Robertson (4/18); Danyele Gomez (4/25); Danyele Gomez (5/2)
2004: Holly Tankersley (2/17); Holly Tankersley (3/2); Holly Tankersley (4/5); Holly Tankersley (5/3)
2003: Becky McMurtry (3/4); Danyele Gomez (3/13); Becky McMurtry (4/7); Danyele Gomez (4/14); Becky McMurtry (5/5)
2002: Alana Addison (3/18); Becky McMurtry (3/25); Jerie Alexander (4/1); Alana Addison (4/15); Missy Martin (4/22); Becky McMurtry (4/29)
2001: Alana Addison (3/19); Missy Martin (3/26); Alana Addison (4/2); Jerie Alexander (4/23); Jana Mower (4/30)
2000: Tiffany Clark (3/13); Alana Addison (3/27); Jana Mower (4/10); Tiffany Clark (4/17)

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