LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. - Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference softball coaches have selected Texas Lutheran as the preseason favorite based on balloting in the annual preseason coaches' poll.
The Bulldogs, who claimed their fifth-straight conference championship a year ago, were the unanimous selection to finish first in the poll after collecting all seven first-place votes and 49 total points. Southwestern, which advanced to its second-straight SCAC Tournament final and won 20-plus games for the second consecutive season, finished behind TLU in the poll with 40 points. Schreiner, who is coming off back-to-back 23-win seasons, and Trinity, which is looking for its first conference championship since 2007, finished tied for third in the poll with 31 points. Centenary rounded out the top five in fifth with 23 points followed by Dallas with 13 points and Austin College with nine.
TLU, which won an SCAC-record 92.9 percent of its games (39-3) and advanced to its fifth consecutive NCAA Tournament a season ago, returns four batters that recorded 40 or more hits and a lineup that led the league with 389 hits. Junior Cassie Roche, defending SCAC Player-of-the-Year and senior Kassie Maddox along with sophomores Kelly Jurden and Skylar Ouellette combined for 168 hits (.378 BA), 112 of the Bulldogs' 256 RBI, 120-of-297 runs scored, 8-of-24 home runs, 37-of-76 doubles and 233 total bases. In the circle, Jordaine Bishop is the leading returner from the Bulldogs staff after posting a 9-1 record last year with 27 strikeouts and a 2.15 ERA in 75 total innings pitched. Leading Texas Lutheran in 2019 will be Wade Wilson, who enters his eighth year as head coach with an 203-55 record, five SCAC titles and five SCAC Coach-of-the-Year accolades.
Since the SCAC began sponsoring softball as a championship sport in 1999, seven different teams have claimed conference championships. Trinity leads the way in that grouping with seven titles (1999, 2000-02, 2005-07), while Texas Lutheran is currently second with five titles (2014-18). DePauw captured three (2008-09, 2011), Southwestern two (2010, 2013) and Millsaps (2003), Univ. of the South-Sewanee (2004) and Birmingham-Southern have each secured one title.
The 2019 SCAC softball season begins on February 1st, while the first conference series of the season are scheduled for Friday, March 1st. The 2019 SCAC Softball Tournament will be held in April on the campus of Centenary College as the double-elimination tournament will begin on Friday the 26th .
|2019 SCAC Softball Preseason Coaches' Poll
(first-place votes in parentheses, followed by total points)
|1.||Texas Lutheran University (7)||49|
|6.||University of Dallas||13|