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Courtesy: Jeff Huehn/UTSA Athletics

Low named Southland Conference Freshman of the Year

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FRISCO — Megan Low was named Southland Conference Freshman of the Year and she was one of seven UTSA players that earned all-league honors, as announced by the conference office on Tuesday.

Low, who also landed on the Southland's first team, is the fourth player in program history to earn Freshman of the Year accolades and second in a row after Molly Fichtner took home the award a year ago. The Spring native paces the Roadrunners and ranks among the league’s top 10 in batting average (.375/third SLC), on-base percentage (.456/fourth SLC), hits (54/t-fifth SLC), total bases (78/fifth SLC), slugging percentage (.542/fifth SLC) and RBIs (27/t-10th SLC). A starter in all but two games at catcher this season, she also is tied for the team lead with five home runs and has walked a squad-best 19 times to go along with 16 multi-hit contests and seven multi-RBI performances.

Joining Low on the top squad is Fichtner, who earned her second all-conference honor in as many seasons after being the circuit’s second-team catcher a season ago. The sophomore from Houston has started all 49 contests, including 38 at shortstop in her first collegiate action at the position. She has set career bests this year with a .367 batting average and 58 hits and paces the squad with 18 multi-hit games, including five with three or more hits. Fichtner also has hit three homers and driven home 17 baserunners this year.

The first-team selections bring UTSA’s all-time total to 24, while the Roadrunners placed two players on the top squad for the first time since 2007 (Leanne Risberg/Jessica Rogers).

Meanwhile, senior Ashley Kappler, sophomore Haylee Staton and freshman Courtney Buchman all picked up third-team accolades.

Kappler, an honorable mention selection as a freshman in 2009, has started all 49 contests at second base this season and set career highs in batting average (.302), runs scored (33), hits (52) and total bases (71).

Meanwhile, Staton has paced the Roadrunners pitching staff and ranks among the league’s top 10 with 14 victories (fifth SLC), a 2.57 ERA (ninth SLC) and 142 strikeouts (fifth SLC) in 163.2 innings pitched (fourth SLC). The Austin native’s win total, which include five shutouts, are a career best and the most for a UTSA player since Amanda Nikolenko won 14 contests five years ago.

Buchman has made 47 starts, including 38 in the outfield, and is third on the team with a .315 batting average to go along with 16 runs, a half dozen doubles, one round tripper and 15 RBIs. The Katy native put together a nine-game hitting streak from March 2-13 and paced the Roadrunners at the SpringHill Suites Invitational in El Paso by hitting .733 (11-for-20) with a pair of doubles and five RBIs.

Seniors Caitlyn Ivy and Nikki Goff rounded out UTSA’s all-conference honorees, as the pair earned honorable mention laurels.

Ivy has started all 49 contests at first base this season and is hitting .293 with three home runs and 24 RBIs, while Goff has played 39 games at third base and is hitting .290 on the strength of a team-best 17 extra-base hits with 25 RBIs.

The fourth-seeded Roadrunners (23-26) open the Southland Tournament play at 11 a.m. on Thursday against No. 5 Central Arkansas (36-20). The winner will advance to play regular season champion Texas State (35-15) at 4 p.m. later that day, while the loser will play in an elimination contest at 1:30 p.m. on Friday.

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