Headlining the honorees are outfielder Christi Orgeron and pitcher Ashley Brignac who have been named Sun Belt Player and Pitcher of the Year, respectively, for the second consecutive season. First-year pitcher Jordan Wallace was selected as Freshman of the Year and co-head coaches Stefni and Michael Lotief grabbed their seventh Coaches of the Year accolades.
The eight selections are the third most the Cajuns (46-3, 21-3) have garnered since the league began in 2000. UL swept the Player and Pitcher of the Year awards for the 10th time in the league’s 13-year history.
The Lotiefs guided the Cajuns to their 11th Sun Belt Conference Regular Season Championship and a No. 6 national ranking. The coaching duo led UL to a 46-3 overall record and a 21-3 mark in SBC play while registering three ranked victories, including over No. 24 Tulsa, No. 12 Michigan and defending College World Series champion No. 5 Arizona State.
Joining Orgeron, Brignac and Wallace on the All-Sun Belt First Team are first baseman Matte Haack, shortstop Nerissa Myers, third baseman Natalie Fernandez and outfielder Katie Smith, while catcher Sarah Draheim was selected as an at large bid on the All-Sun Belt Second Team.
Orgeron garnered her second Player of the Year honor and her fourth All-Sun Belt Team Selection. She finished the regular season with 89 RBI, leading the nation in back-to-back years and sits sixth on the NCAA career RBI charts with 283.
The four-time SBC Player of the Week also led the conference in homeruns (20) and slugging percentage (.872) and is a finalist for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award and USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year.
Brignac notched her third Pitcher of the Year accolade adding to her 2008 and 2011 awards. The fifth-year senior posted a team-high five shutouts, finishing the year with a record of 20-2, with 143 strikeouts in 148.1 innings.
The two-time SBC Pitcher of the Week moved into third all-time in SBC and UL history with 821 strikeouts and 91 career victories. Brignac, who was named to her third Academic All-District Team, hurled three complete game one-hitters on the year.
Wallace led the conference in wins and broke the NCAA record for a freshman pitcher to begin her career, with a 23-0 start to the season, including victories over No. 5 Arizona State, No. 12 Michigan and No. 24 Tulsa. The Weatherford, Texas native collected four SBC Pitcher of the Week honors and led the SBC in opposing batting average (.177).
The freshman ranks 20th nationally in hits allowed per game (4.44) and was second in the league in ERA (2.15). She hurled the 80th no-hitter in Ragin’ Cajuns history against Louisiana Tech (2/19) and tallied a career-high 16 strikeouts in a 10 inning, complete game, 1-0 triumph over South Alabama (4/6).
Haack, playing in her first year in the Sun Belt after transferring, earned a spot on the conference’s first team. The Katy, Texas native is third in the league in RBI (44), and seventh in both hits (56) and batting average (.350).
Myers garnered her second All-SBC nomination after being named to the second team in 2011. The two-time SBC Player of the Week was named the Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week (3/12-3/18) and leads the country in runs scored per game (1.45). The junior shortstop is fourth nationally in RBI per game (1.29) and ranks second in the SBC in slugging percentage (.693).
Fernandez was named to her first All-SBC selection after leading the conference in batting average (.431). A 2012 Academic All-District Team member, Fernandez, was second in the league in on base percentage (.500) and hits (62), and ranked sixth in runs scored (40).
Smith, a 2009 Second Team All-Sun Belt honoree, joined Orgeron in the outfield on this year’s first team. The fifth-year senior has hit safely in 42-of-47 games played, including hit streaks of 18 and 14 games during the stretch. The Ruston, La. native led the SBC in hits (67), second in batting average (.419) and ranks seventh nationally in runs scored per game (1.17).
Draheim also earned her second All-SBC selection after being named to the second team in 2011. The junior catcher was named to the 2012 All-Sun Belt Second Team as an at large bid, which goes to the player receiving the second most votes after all positions slots have been filled.
The No. 6 Ragin’ Cajuns will begin postseason play this week as they prepare for FAU in the first round of the SBC Tournament on Wednesday at the FAU Softball Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.
2012 Sun Belt All-Conference Softball Teams
Ashley Brignac (Louisiana, Senior, Pitcher)
Jordan Wallace (Louisiana, Freshman, Pitcher)
Karavin Dew (Western Kentucky, Junior, Catcher)
Matte Haack (Louisiana, Junior, First Base)
Kayla Toney (Middle Tennessee, Sophomore, Second Base)
Nerissa Myers (Louisiana, Junior, Shortstop)
Natalie Fernandez (Louisiana, Sophomore, Third Base)
Ashley McClain (FIU, Senior, Outfield)
Christi Orgeron (Louisiana, Senior, Outfield)
Katie Smith (Louisiana, Senior, Outfield)
Maddelyn Fraley (North Texas, Senior, Utility)
At-Large: Ashley Rainey (Troy, Freshman, Pitcher)
Mariah Dawson (FIU, Sophomore, Pitcher)
Hannah Campbell (South Alabama, Sophomore, Pitcher)
Hannah Renn (Troy, Junior, Catcher)
Hayden Gann (Troy, Senior, First Base)
Sarah Shields (Troy, Senior, Second Base)
Brittany Fowler (South Alabama, Junior, Shortstop)
Preslie Cruce (Western Kentucky, Freshman, Third Base)
Blair Johnson (South Alabama, Freshman, Outfield)
Michelle Hewett (Troy, Senior, Outfield)
Kelsie Mattox (Western Kentucky, Sophomore, Outfield)
Taylor Fawbush (Florida Atlantic, Junior, Utility)
At-Large: Sarah Draheim (Louisiana, Junior, Catcher)
Player of the Year: Christi Orgeron, Louisiana
Pitcher of the Year: Ashley Brignac, Louisiana
Freshman of the Year: Jordan Wallace, Louisiana
Coach of the Year: Stefni and Michael Lotief, Louisiana