Texas A&M-Kingsville is favored to defend its Lone Star Conference softball title according to the preseason poll announced by league officials on Tuesday.
TAMUK received 32 of the 42 first-place votes for a total of 692 points in the poll decided by LSC coaches, sports information directors and various media representatives. The Javelinas, who finished as NCAA Division II runner-up after winning the program's first South Central Regional title, concluded the 2019 season at 52-10 overall with a 24-6 league record to claim the LSC Championship and tournament title for the second time.
Texas A&M-Commerce finished second in the poll with seven first-place nods for 666 points, followed by Tarleton, Cameron and Oklahoma Christian. The Texans ranked third with 594 points and one top vote, while the Aggies and Eagles tied for fourth with 527 points each.
West Texas A&M was sixth with 504 points and one top vote, Angelo State (486), St. Mary's (423), Lubbock Christian (401) and UT Tyler (356) rounded out the top 10.
Tarleton's Georgia Capell was named LSC Preseason Player of the Year, while Texas A&M Commerce's Emily Otto picked up LSC Preseason Pitcher of the Year acclaim.
Capell, a junior outfielder from Midlothian, Texas, started all 55 games for Tarleton in 2019 with a .387 batting average, and school single season record 68 RBI and .822 slugging percentage to earn first-team All-LSC honors. She led the league in RBI and doubles with 17. Capell finished the season among the top 11 in Division II in five statistical categories - RBI (68), RBI per game (1.24), home runs (18), home runs per game (0.33) and total bases (134). She was also named to the LSC All-Academic team.
Otto, a junior pitcher from Richmond, Texas, posted a record of 28-8 in 2019 with a 2.01 ERA with 25 complete games, 13 shutouts, two saves, 173 strikeouts and held hitters to a .194 average to earn LSC Pitcher of the Year, first-team All-LSC, and Golden Glove honors. She led the LSC in wins, innings pitched, complete games and shutouts. Otto recorded a no-hitter and set single-season A&M-C records for wins, lowest ERA, fewest walks per seven innings, lowest opponent batting average, appearances, starts, innings pitched, strikeouts, complete games and shutouts.
The 2020 season starts January 31 with 17 LSC teams playing a single round-robin schedule with a doubleheader (two games) against each league opponent. The LSC Champion will be the team(s) with the best winning percentage in regular-season conference games.
The single-elimination LSC Championship featuring the top 10 teams will be played April 30-May 2, at the No. 1 seed. The winner of the postseason championship will be recognized as LSC Tournament Champion and receive the league's automatic qualification into NCAA postseason.
Here is a closer look at the voting breakdown:
Rank Team 1st Total
1 Texas A&M-Kingsville 32 692
2 Texas A&M-Commerce 7 666
3 Tarleton 1 594
T4 Cameron 527
T4 Oklahoma Christian 527
6 West Texas A&M 1 504
7 Angelo State 486
8 St. Mary's 423
9 Lubbock Christian 401
10 UT Tyler 356
11 Texas A&M International 1 276
12 Midwestern State 271
13 Texas Woman's 220
14 St. Edward's 197
15 Eastern New Mexico 135
16 UT Permian Basin 89
17 Western New Mexico 62