The Sun Belt Conference recognized several members of the Texas State softball program with postseason and all-conference honors on Tuesday afternoon.
Among those was Waxahachie High School alumna, Ariel Ortiz.
Ortiz earned first-team honors for the third time in her historic career. She also received first-team nods following her freshman and junior campaigns.
She becomes just the second shortstop in league history to achieve first-team honors on three occasions.
The shortstop has started every game of her Bobcat career, appearing on the lineup card in 226 consecutive games for coach Woodard.
This season, Ortiz hit .333 (41-of-147), collected nine doubles, a pair of triples and six home runs. She ended the regular season second on the team with 36 RBI. On the base paths, Ortiz swiped 11 bases in 2018, second most on the team. In Sun Belt games, Ortiz upped her average to .377 (26-of-69) and drove in 14 runs.
"Ariel followed up a strong junior year with an even better senior year," head coach Ricci Woodard said. "To shoulder the leadership of a young team and continue to perform is never easy. Ariel's honor, like the others, is a result of many hours working to perfect her craft. She does not get outworked."
Woodard was named 2018 Sun Belt Coach of the Year, her first honor since Texas State joined the Sun Belt Conference before the 2014 season. She earned four coach-of-the-year accolades as a member of the Southland Conference, including 2001, 2002, 2008 and 2012. Woodard helped guide Texas State to a 2018 Sun Belt Conference regular-season title, the first in program history.
"I know coach, and she will defer the attention of this award," associate head coach Cat Osterman said. "But, I can speak for the entire team, there is no better person to be the captain of our ship. In five years, she has taken the program a step up every season. Winning the championship was a direct reflection of the work, passion and belief of coach Woodard."
For the second consecutive season, Randi Rupp was named 2018 Sun Belt Pitcher of the Year. She also garnered first-team All-Sun Belt Conference honors for the fourth time in as many years. Rupp becomes the first player in program history to earn first-team honors in each of her four years at Texas State and the second pitcher in Sun Belt history to achieve this feat.
Rupp was lights out all season for the Bobcats, posting a record of 25-9 with an ERA of 1.10. The senior struck out 286 opposing batters in 235.1 innings of work while allowing 158 hits and issuing just 34 walks.
Against the Sun Belt, Rupp pushed her game to the next level, registering an ERA of 0.55 (nine earned runs in 115.0 innings) and amassed a record of 13 wins to just three losses. She also garnered Sun Belt Pitcher of the Week honors on five separate occasions this season.
"It is no secret that Randi has had an incredible season in the circle," Woodard said. "Her entire career, she has worked to be the absolute best she can be, and winning a second Pitcher of the Year award is indicative of that drive and work ethic."
Hailey MacKay was named to the first team, giving Texas State three players on the all-conference first team for the first time since earning four bids in 2015. MacKay, a transfer from Arkansas, provided a consistent force in the heart of the Texas State lineup.
Catcher Haleigh Davis was named to the second team by the Sun Belt Conference. Davis started 44 games for the Bobcats, 39 coming behind the plate.
The Bobcats clinched the 2018 Sun Belt regular season title May 6, defeating UT Arlington 4-1. The team enters the 2018 Sun Belt Conference Tournament as the No. 1 seed and will have a double-bye, securing a spot in the quarterfinals. The Bobcats will play the winner of the UTA vs. Troy/ULM game at 10 a.m. Thursday at Lamson Park in Lafayette, La.