IRVING, Texas — Marshall University softball placed three players on the Conference USA Preseason all-league team, and was picked tied for third in the coaches’ poll, the league office announced Thursday.
Senior pitcher Kailee Williamson, junior infielder Aly Harrell and sophomore outfielder Mya Stevenson garnered the preseason honors.
In the preseason coaches’ poll, the Thundering Herd was tied for third with 2019 C-USA Tournament champions Louisiana Tech. North Texas claimed the top spot receiving nine first-place votes. Western Kentucky came in second, with two first place votes, and will host the 2020 C-USA Tournament. Marshall was picked to finish eighth in the 2019 preseason coaches’ poll and ended the regular season as the No. 4 seed before advancing to the tournament championship game.
Williamson enters her senior season as the most experienced in the circle for Marshall. The Norco, California, native has steadily seen her workload increase over her career. She began the season without a single earned run allowed in 17 innings pitched during the five-game span of the USD Tournament. In 2019 Williamson had career-bests with a 3.16 ERA, 12 wins (12-4 record), 35 appearances, 21 starts, 12 complete games, five shutouts, two saves, 139.2 innings pitched and 90 strikeouts.
She also held opposing batters to a .260 batting average. Her 12 complete games quadrupled her previous career total in her first two seasons. Williamson was named to the 2019 C-USA All-Academic team as well.
Harrell was named to the preseason list for the second consecutive season. The Gahanna, Ohio, native led the nation in 2019 in total walks with 68 and in combined free passes with 85 as she added 17 hit by pitches. When Harrell wasn’t being issued first base, she batted .338, smacked 10 doubles and 14 home runs.
Her on-base percentage of .578 was a team record, fifth in the NCAA, and she slugged .697. Harrell started all 64 games last season, tied with teammate Sierra Huerta for another team record. In just two years, Harrell has belted 25 homers, has a career batting average of .343, 91 hits, 81 RBI, and 91 walks. She ended the year named First-Team All-Conference, Second-Team All-Mideast Region and on the C-USA All-Tournament Team.
Stevenson starred for the Herd as a freshman in 2019. The Mesquite, Texas, native broke Marshall’s single season home run record with 20 which led the NCAA for freshman. She drove in 58 runs, second-most in team history, and had the fourth-highest season slugging percentage of .765. Stevenson became the first player in program history to hit for the cycle at Charlotte.
In the first game of the series, Stevenson was 4 for 4 at the plate to hit the elusive cycle, and then drove in seven runs in the second game of the day. It was the first of two times that the then freshman was named C-USA Offensive Player of the Week. The slugger was named to the Conference USA All-Freshman Team, First-Team All-Conference, the all-tournament team and Third-Team All-Mideast Region.
Marshall begins the 2020 season on Feb. 7 against Saint Francis at the South Carolina-Upstate Classic.