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Islanders softball's Egan named Southland Player of the Year

The Texas A&M-CC junior lead the conference in homeruns, doubles, slugging and on-base percentage.

FRISCO, Texas — Texas A&M-Corpus Christi’s Pal Egan is the 2022 Southland Conference Softball Player of the Year, the league announced Monday, along with its all-conference teams and additional superlative honors.

Egan significantly improved from last season and led the conference in multiple categories, while being nationally ranked and breaking multiple program single-season records. The junior ended last season with a .299 batting average, .370 slugging percentage and a .441 on-base percentage. This year, Egan recorded the conference’s second-highest batting average with a .436 and led the conference with her .786 slugging percentage and .566 on-base percentage. Egan also leads the conference in doubles (17) and home runs (10). Nationally, she is ranked 18th for batting average, 13th for doubles, and 10th for on-base percentage (as of May 7). In addition to her Player of the Year and Hitter of the Year awards, Egan was named a first team all-conference selection.

Credit: KIII

Cowgirls’ Ashley Vallejo was crowned the Southland Pitcher of the Year in addition to being named a first-team selection. She closed out the regular season with a 9-0 record and seven complete games in the circle. The sophomore has a team and conference-low 0.26 ERA with 45 strikeouts. Vallejo allowed just two earned runs in league play over 53.1 innings of work. The New Waverly, Texas, native was named Pitcher of the Week four times in the 2022 season.

McNeese’s Kendall Talley was named Southland Newcomer of the Year along with her second-team selection. Talley joined McNeese after three seasons at Louisiana. She leads the team with a .400 batting average (third in the league), she sits fourth in the Southland with a .492 on base percentage, fifth with 20 hits on the season. The junior recorded a pair of home runs and eight stolen bases in league play. The San Antonio, Texas, native holds a 1.000 fielding percentage and ranks second on the team with a 0.540 slugging percentage. Talley was awarded Hitter of the Week twice for her efforts at the plate.

MSU head coach James Landreneau was named the Southland Coach of the Year after leading his squad to a 35-19 overall record and a 15-3 mark in conference play. Landreneau’s team secured the Southland regular-season championship, its seventh in program history. He recorded his 200th career win in a sweep over Lamar earlier in the regular season. Landreneau has a .624 career winning percentage, which is tops among active coaches in the Southland Conference and is ranked fifth all-time in the league. In Southland Conference games only, he has compiled an astounding 92-31 record, and a .748 winning percentage - the second-highest all-time in conference history.

Northwestern State’s Sage Hoover claimed Southland Freshman of the Year honors after pushing the Lady Demons to a 10-8 conference record and the No. 4 seed at the Southland Conference Tournament. Hoover shined in the circle ranking as the top strikeout pitcher in non-conference play (92), conference (71) and overall (163). The freshman averaged 9.3 strikeouts per seven innings during conference play with a 1.91 ERA and held her opponents to a 0.170 batting average. Hoover tossed a 12-inning complete game where she set the school record with 18 strikeouts against the Islanders. She threw a no-hitter against UIW and logged five complete games through seven total appearances with a pair of shutouts. Hoover was awarded Southland Pitcher of the Week twice this season.

McNeese and Northwestern State led the way on the all-conference rosters with eight selections apiece, followed by Southeastern’s seven honorees. HBU accounted for five spots, while Texas A&M-Corpus Christi nabbed four selections. UIW and Nicholls secured two selections apiece.

The 2022 Southland Conference Softball Tournament gets underway at noon, Tuesday, May 10, at North Oak Park in Hammond, La. The No. 4-seeded Lady Demons will take on the No. 5-seeded UIW in game one, followed by No. 3 seed Texas A&M-Corpus Christi against No. 6 HBU in game two. Tournament host No. 2 Southeastern will face No. 7 Nicholls to close out day one at 5 p.m. Each game at the tournament will be broadcast exclusively on ESPN+.

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