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Softball: Owls rack up multiple preseason awards, begin season Friday

Five players have been named to the all-conference preseason team.

Kylee Hanson (left), Joan Joyce (right) and the FAU softball team are looking to win their second straight conference championship in 2017. Ryan Lynch | Editor in Chief

Hans Belot Jr., Sports Editor

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The National Fastpitch Coaches Association and USA Softball have both announced their respective preseason polls, with Florida Atlantic softball starting the season at No. 23 in both rankings. The Owls finished the 2016 season with a 51-9 record and a Conference USA Championship, capped off by their second straight NCAA Tournament appearance.

FAU lost in the regional round of the tournament to the University of Central Florida 2-1, after defeating the University of Alabama-Birmingham in the conference tournament championship 6-0.

The Owls, who were also Conference USA’s preseason pick to win the conference, will have some tough challenges this season. They will play nine teams that competed in last year’s NCAA Tournament.

FAU had five players named to the 2017 Conference USA Preseason All Conference Team, the most out of any team in the conference. Senior pitchers Kylee Hanson and Amanda Wilson, junior catcher Alex Miller, junior infielder Emily Lochten and sophomore outfielder Madisyn Palmer all made the list.

Hanson led the nation with a 0.76 ERA, 3.33 hits allowed per seven innings and 15 shutouts. Wilson finished last year with a 1.69 ERA and four shutouts.

Miller allowed three passed balls and committed just three errors. Lochten finished the 2016 season with 14 home runs — which led the team — 46 RBIs and a .342 batting average.

As a freshman, Palmer led the team with a batting average of .432, as well as 10 RBIs.

Florida Atlantic kicks off its 2017 campaign on Friday, Feb. 9, with the FAU Kick-Off Classic, hosting the University of North Florida, North Carolina State University, Bethune-Cookman University and Michigan State University.

Hans Belot Jr. is the sports editor of the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email hansbelot1997@gmail.com or tweet him at @Don_Phenom_.

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