TROY, Ala. – Serving as tournament hosts for the first time since 2008, the Troy softball team opens up the Sun Belt Conference Championships against No. 18 South Alabama on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. at the Troy Softball Complex.
The tournament begins Wednesday and runs through Saturday with the winner earning an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament. The championship game will be aired live on CSS/CST at 3 p.m. on Saturday.
Looking to snap a seven-game losing streak, Troy (20-30, 7-14 Sun Belt) enters the Sun Belt Conference Championships as the seventh seed; all-time the Trojans are 12-12 in the conference tournament. The Trojans will face either No. 3 Louisiana-Lafayette or No.6 FIU in the second round. Troy is 0-3 all-time at the Sun Belt Tournament against the Ragin’ Cajuns while Troy is 1-2 all-time against the Panthers.
The Trojans and the Jaguars were originally scheduled to close out the regular season last Saturday, but heavy rain made field conditions unplayable and washed the season finale. Both teams met just one time during the regular season as South Alabama (41-7, 17-3 Sun Belt) shut out Troy 9-0 on April 24 in Mobile. Farish Beard no-hit the Trojans during the midweek contest en route to her 20th win of the year.
Despite meeting 19 times over the past seven seasons, Troy has never faced South Alabama at the Sun Belt Conference Championships. During the Trojans only stint as tournament host in 2008, Troy finished 1-2 picking up a first round victory over North Texas before dropping its next two contests against Florida Atlantic and the Mean Green.
Senior infielder Caitlin Ortiz enters the tournament with a 26-game reached base streak, leads Troy batting at .352 clip and is still on pace to break the Trojans’ single-season record in on-base percentage at .500. The Mission Viejo, Calif., native is tied for the league lead with 13 doubles.
Against Sun Belt opponents, senior shortstop Bailey Blake leads the Trojans with a .364 batting average and currently sits in third in the conference with 15 stolen bases. Junior utility player Kacie McAllister has been just as good at the plate in league play, hitting .350 in 21 games and recording 16 RBIs.