SPARTANBURG, S.C. (Feb. 1, 2018) -- Junior Tiffany Laughren (Erwin, Tenn.) and senior Madison Ogle (Maryville, Tenn.) earned preseason Southern Conference honors, while the ETSU softball team was picked to finish third, as the league office announced its preseason honors on Thursday.
Laughren, who received second team all-conference honors by the league coaches at the end of the 2017 season, picked up first team preseason honors, while Ogle landed second team honors.
Laughren is coming off a productive sophomore season where she hit .373 (59-for-158) with 18 doubles, one triple, four home runs, 28 walks, 26 runs and 31 RBI, along with registering a slugging percentage of .576 and an on-base mark of .479. The Buccaneer outfielder/pitcher led the team in hitting, while also setting a new single-season program record in doubles. Laughren was also among the SoCon leaders in doubles (1st), on-base percentage (2nd), slugging percentage (3rd), walks (3rd), batting average (4th), and hits (5th). The Buccaneer slugger picked up a pair of SoCon Player of the Week honors and also earned the SoCon Student-Athlete of the Week award in 2017. In addition, Laughren made six appearances (three starts) for the Blue and Gold in the circle, where she picked up two wins and struck out nine in 13.2 innings of work. Laughren is hitting .336 in 84 career games and enters the season 22 hits shy of number 100. The Buccaneer right-hander has generated a 2.78 ERA (11 ER/27.2 IP) with four wins in 13 career appearances (four starts) in the circle.
Like Laughren, Ogle is also coming off a career season where the Buccaneer hurler set personal single-season highs in wins (12), appearances (33), starts (27), complete games (10), shutouts (2), innings (153.2) and strikeouts (96). Ogle was named to the 2017 SoCon All-Tournament Team after going 2-0 with a 0.82 ERA (2 ER/17.0 IP) with one complete game shutout in three appearances (two starts). The Buccaneer right-hander recorded the final six outs of the championship game win over Samford and pitched a career high eight innings in the semifinal win against Mercer. Ogle finished tied for third in the SoCon in wins, ranked fourth in strikeouts, innings appearances and starts, tied for sixth in saves (2) and ranked eighth in ERA (3.55) and opposing batting average (.273). To go along with her all-tournament team selection, Ogle also earned a pair of SoCon Pitcher of the Week honors in 2017. In her first three seasons at ETSU, Ogle has totaled 17 wins in 73 appearances (46 starts) with two complete game shutouts in 282.0 career innings.
Mercer’s Meghan Rud and Samford’s Shelby Maze earned co-Preseason Player of the Year honors, while Furman’s Lindsey Bert was tabbed Preseason Pitcher of the Year.
The Bucs were picked third in the preseason coaches’ poll behind reigning regular season champion UNCG and Furman. Both UNCG and Furman picked up three of the possible seven first-place votes with the Spartans edging out the Paladins by three points, 32 to 29. ETSU – the reigning SoCon Tournament champion – totaled 25 points with Samford (23 points), Mercer (20 points), and Chattanooga and Western Carolina (both with nine points) rounding out the poll. Mercer picked up the other first-place vote.
ETSU is coming off a banner season that saw the Bucs claim their first-ever conference championship and trip to the NCAA Tournament in program history. The Bucs posted their second winning season in the 17-year history of the program after going 29-26 and finished third in the SoCon standings at 10-7. The Blue and Gold went into the final game of the regular season with a chance to earn the title, but UNCG edged out the Bucs in the series finale to secure the regular season crown.
The Bucs’ 2017 season was historic on many fronts as they also posted their highest winning percentage in program history, while 29 wins were the second-most by any Buccaneer team. ETSU also set single-season records in batting average (.285), doubles (80), RBI (218), walks (181), on-base percentage (.371), sacrifice flies (17) and saves (13). The Blue and Gold also went 13-5 (.722) at home, which set the single-season home winning percentage record.=
ETSU opens its 2018 campaign next weekend when the Bucs head to Statesboro, Ga., for the Eagle Round Robin, which begins Friday, Feb. 9. ETSU’s home opener is set for March 9 when they host the Buccaneer Classic at Betty Basler Field.
For more information on Buccaneer softball, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the softball page.