UMHB places seven on All-Conference softball teams

umhb_softballBELTON – The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor softball team placed seven athletes on the American Southwest Conference All-Conference teams released on Monday. The Cru had two First Team selections, two Second Team honorees, two placed on the Third Team and one earning Honorable Mention.

Karley Free was named Freshman of the Year after a stellar first-year campaign with the Cru. Free, a Henderson, Texas (Henderson H.S.) native ranked second on the team in batting average (.400), runs (25), hits (48), RBI (35), doubles (11) and total bases (73). She also slammed four home runs and earned 12 walks at the plate. Free played in all 39 games for UMHB and was also named Second Team All-ASC.

Tiffany Birdwell was named Co-Newcomer of the Year and First Team At-large after her first season as a Crusader. Birdwell, a sophomore from Round Rock, Texas (Rouse H.S.), was a staple in the pitching staff for UMHB, leading the Cru with nine wins. She pitched 117.2 innings with 40 strikeouts in 22 appearances. Birdwell allowed just 29 earned runs and walked 37 batters, making 15 starts for UMHB with a 2.62 ERA.

Joining Birdwell on the All-ASC First Team was sophomore third baseman Leah Brown. Brown, a Waco, Texas (Crawford H.S.), native led UMHB in batting average (.400), hits (50), RBI, (39), and walks (15). She was also among the conference leaders in batting, topping the leaderboard in doubles (17), ranking second in home runs (10), slug percentage (.808) and total bases (101) and third in runs (39).

Janie Neyland joined Free on the All-ASC Second Team. A senior from Franklin, Texas (Franklin H.S.), Neyland recorded 48 hits with 24 runs and six RBI. She ranked third on the team with a .366 batting average and led UMHB with 11 stolen bases. Neyland also added 40 putouts as an outfielder for the Cru, boasting a 1.000 fielding percentage in 37 games played.

Kourtney Bevers and Myranda Hinojosa were named Third Team All-ASC. Bevers, a junior from Liberty Hill, Texas (Liberty Hill H.S.), played in 29 games for UMHB. She amassed 28 hits scoring 16 runs with 11 RBI. Bevers had six extra-base hits with a .407 slug percentage and also recorded 29 outs as the Cru’s centerfielder. Hinojosa, a sophomore from Edinburg, Texas (Edinburg H.S.), was named Third Team At-large. Hinojosa played 39 games as UMHB’s shortstop, batting .316 with 37 hits, 16 runs and 25 RBI. Hinojosa slammed six extra-base hits for 46 total bases. She also recorded 80 outs with 107 assists and was named to the 2015 ASC All-Tournament Team.

Cori Drake was the final Crusader to earn all-conference honors and was named Honorable Mention. The sophomore catcher from North Zulch, Texas (North Zulch H.S.), batted .336 on the season with 36 hits and 19 runs. Drake added 21 RBI and 11 extra-base hits with eight doubles. She also recorded 78 outs with 18 assists.

Neyland and Bevers are three-time All-ASC selections while Brown and Hinojosa earn their second all-conference honors. This is the first award for Free, Birdwell and Drake. UMHB ended the season with a 21-18 overall record and 18-12 mark in conference play. The Cru advances to the ASC Softball Tournament for the 16th time in program history.

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