Liberty Voted @ASUNSoftball Favorites; Bishop, DiMartino, DeVault Honored

Full Preseason All-Conference Awards List 

ATLANTA, Ga. -
With the 2019 ASUN Conference Softball season around the corner, newcomer Liberty was voted as the preseason favorites by the league's head coaches. The Flames picked up five first-place votes, with FGCU (2) and Kennesaw State (1) earning the final first-place votes. Liberty's Autumn Bishop and Julia DiMartino captured preseason superlative recognition as Preseason Player and Pitcher of the Year, respectively. Lipscomb's Hannah DeVault was voted as the Preseason Defensive Player of the Year to round out the superlative honors. 

Liberty is coming off an impressive 2018 season, where they went 49-14, won the Big South title and collected two wins in the Columbia Regional against Hofstra and South Carolina. They are returning several of their main contributors both at the plate and in the circle for this 2019 season. FGCU finished in second place in the ASUN Softball Preseason Coaches Poll. The Eagles went 39-17 last season, including a 12-6 record in conference play which earned them the No. 2 seed in last year's ASUN Championship. Kennesaw State comes in third place and will be under new leadership in 2019. Tripp McKay takes over a squad that won both ASUN Regular Season and Tournament Championships in 2018. The Owls finished 39-17 on the season, sweeping through the ASUN Championship and playing in the Tallahassee Regional. Rounding out the top half of the Preseason Coaches Poll is Lipscomb, who finished last year with a 33-17 mark. The River City rivals, North Florida and Jacksonville occupy the fifth and sixth position in this year's Preseason Poll. ASUN newcomer North Alabama is picked to finish in seventh, while Stetson was chosen in eighth-place. 

Liberty junior infielder Autumn Bishop was voted Preseason Player of the Year after a breakout sophomore season for the Flames. She hit .365 with 25 doubles and eight homers. In the field, she was nearly flawless with a .993 fielding percentage. She recorded 21 multi-hit games and 12 multi-RBI contests for the Flames in 2018. She was named Conference Tournament MVP last season after hitting .571 to lead the Flames to their third-ever NCAA Regional appearance. Bishop also earned NFCA All-Mid-Atlantic Region team recognition for the second time in her career. 

Lipscomb's Hannah DeVault is the reigning ASUN Defensive Player of the Year and collects Preseason Defensive Player of the Year honors to start the 2019 season. She finished the 2018 season with a .983 fielding percentage. DeVault recorded 107 putouts and had 64 assists, while only committing three errors all season long playing second base for the Bisons. 

The Preseason Pitcher of the Year award was an unanimous selection and it goes to Liberty's Julia DiMartino. The senior was outstanding last season, compiling a 29-8 record with a 1.72 ERA. She pitched 26 complete games in 31 starts and recorded 10 shutouts. In 240.2 innings pitched, DiMartino struck out 230 batters and held opponents to a .198 batting average. She earned First Team All-Conference honors for the third time and was named to the NFCA All-Mid-Atlantic Region Team. She pitched three games in the Columbia Regional and compiled a 2-1 record with a 1.12 ERA. She enters the 2019 season with 68 career wins, fourth among active pitchers in the nation. 

ASUN Preseason All-Conference Team
- Julia DiMartino, Liberty, Pitcher*: Set single-season program records for wins (29), shutouts (10), saves (6) and strikeouts (230) in 2018. Compiled a 4-1 record in postseason play, helping Liberty win the conference title and come within one win of making the Super Regional. Allowed only 59 ER in 240.2 innings pitched.  

- Riley Randolph, FGCU, Pitcher*: A 2018 ASUN First Team All-Conference and All-Tournament Team selection. Went 18-7 in the circle for the Eagles in 31 total appearances. Posted a 1.68 ERA, good for fourth-best in the ASUN last season. Finished the season with 148 strikeouts in 171 total innings pitched, giving her three-straight 100 K seasons.  

- Lexi Solorzano, Kennesaw State, Catcher*: The sophomore catcher returns for the Owls after an outstanding freshman season. She was named to the ASUN All-Freshman Team and the All-Tournament Team. Started 47 games and batted .319 in those contests. She finished with 10 doubles, two homers and 23 RBI. During ASUN play, she upped her batting average to .348 which ranked second on the Owls. 

- Racquel Fournet, FGCU, Infield*: Fournet returns for the Eagles after garnering ASUN First Team All-Conference and All-Academic Team honors in 2018. She started 43 games at first base and led the team in hitting with a .361 batting average. She finished with 33 RBI, good for eighth in the league. Fournet also finished second in doubles in the ASUN with 14, while slugging .584 on the season.  

- Amber Bishop, Liberty, Infield: The junior second basemen hit .365 for the Flames last season. She was a First Team All-Conference selection for the second year in a row. She led Liberty with 27 multi-hit games and finished the year tied for eighth in the nation with 21 doubles. She homered in three-straight games, April 17-21, the first Liberty player to accomplish that feat since 2012. 

- Autumn Bishop, Liberty, Infield: Finished 2018 with eight homers and 41 RBI for Liberty. Her slugging percentage was .630, while holding a fielding percentage of .993 at first base. She is a two-time First Team All-Conference selection and was the Tournament MVP in the Big South after hitting .571 with seven RBI to lead Liberty to the title.  

- Navia Penrod, North Florida, Infield: Led the ASUN in batting with a .432 average last season, the only player in the league to hit over .400 for the season. She finished the year with 70 hits, seven doubles and one home run. She also stole 24 bases, which ranked fifth in the conference in 2018. Defensively, she finished with 317 putouts and 40 assists while registering a .983 fielding percentage for the Ospreys. 

- Kira Czyrklis, Kennesaw State, Outfield: A 2018 ASUN First Team All-Conference and All-Tournament Team selection for the Owls, Czyrklis returns after hitting .317 with 32 runs scored. She finished with 21 extra-base hits in 2018, including 10 doubles, eight homers and three triples. Her slugging percentage was .583, while her .383 on-base percentage ranked fifth on the Owls team.  

- Caitlin Turner, Lipscomb, Outfield: Turner was a unanimous ASUN All-Freshman Team selection last year after a stellar opening season with the Bisons. She hit .304 and collected 41 hits in 2018. She scored 20 runs and was 15-for-16 in stolen base attempts last season. Turner posted a .368 on-base percentage last season and looks to improve on that in her sophomore season.  

- Dominica Cocuzza, North Florida, Outfield: For the second-straight season, Cocuzza is named to the Preseason All-Conference Team. She started all 54 games for the Ospreys last season and finished the year with a .313 batting average. She had 47 total hits, which included a league-high 15 doubles, two homers and a triple. Defensively, she finished with 52 putouts and four assists.

- Maddie Roth, Kennesaw State, UT: The MVP of the 2018 ASUN Softball Championship returns for the Owls after hitting .377 on the season. She led the team in doubles with 13 and finished the year with 94 total bases. Her .623 slugging percentage ranked third in the league. She had a walk-off homer in the ASUN Championship Semifinals as the Owls advanced to the NCAA Regional for the first time.  

2019 ASUN Softball Preseason Coaches Poll
Place Team 1st Place Votes Points 2018 Record
1.  Liberty 5 61 49-14 (18-3)
2. FGCU 2 56 39-17 (12-6)
3. Kennesaw State 1 47 39-17 (14-3)
4.  Lipscomb    44 33-17 (9-8)
5. North Florida   24 24-30 (4-14)
6.  Jacksonville   22 27-29 (7-10)
7. North Alabama   20 46-7 (29-3)
8. Stetson   14 26-25 (4-13)

 

For the eighth-consecutive year, the ASUN took to social media to poll the fans for the conference preseason superlative awards. Over 3,585 votes were cast for student-athletes across the league. The Fan-Voted Preseason Player of the Year is Hannah Shollenberger of North Alabama receiving 368 votes, while Alex Brown of North Alabama was Fan-Voted Preseason Defensive Player of the Year who tallied 595 votes. Lastly, the Fan-Voted Preseason Pitcher of the Year is Alyssa Bilodeau of Jacksonville who recieved 365 votes. 


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