NATCHITOCHES, La. - Sam Houston State senior ace Lindsey McLeod was named the 2019 Southland Conference Player and Pitcher of the Year following a stellar season, league officials announced Tuesday morning.

McLeod was also selected to the All-SLC first team, along with juniors Tiffany Thompson and Megan McDonald. Junior Taylar Fuselier landed on the second team, sophomore Brooke Malia was third team and freshman Kyndal Kutac and sophomore Sheridan Fisher was were honorable-mention honorees.

First-year head coach Garrett Valis was named the SLC Coach of the Year after guiding the Bearkats to their first SLC regular-season championship since 1993 and fourth all-time.

“It’s very humbling to see so many of our athletes honored by the conference for their accomplishments on the field,” Valis said. “I am so proud of every member of our roster, and the individuals recognized are so deserving of their respective honors. 

“There is an abundance of talent and great coaches in our league, so to have so many of our athletes recognized is just a testament to how special of a season they have had.”

McLeod, who has been named the SLC Pitcher of the Year twice this year and five times in her career, threw three no-hitters (UT Martin, Northwestern State and UIW), which tied the school record for most in a season. The three-time All-SLC honoree pitched 41 consecutive scoreless innings to set a Bearkat record and broke her own school record for strikeouts in a season (231) and in a game (17 against HBU).

McLeod, who is SHSU’s first Player of the Year since Tori Benavidez and Pitcher of the Year since Kelsie Armstrong both in 2013, posted 10 or more strikeouts in 13 games. In SLC play, she was the leader in strikeouts (177), saves (four) and opponent batting average (.127) and was second in wins (14), earned-run average (1.25) and fewest losses (two).

Thompson had an outstanding season at shortstop, earning SLC Hitter of the Week honors in consecutive weeks to lead the Bearkats to a 13-game winning streak. She hit .330 in SLC play and hit three home runs. She was fourth in league play in triples (two), sixth in sacrifice bunts (6), seventh in hits (29), eighth in runs scored (18), ninth in slugging (.568) and 10th in stolen bases (10).

McDonald had a huge role in SHSU's run to the SLC regular-season championship as the table setter at the top of the lineup. She was fifth in SLC play in batting average (.389), tied for first in triples (three), second in hits (35) and fifth in runs scored (19).

Fuselier was named as the second-team designated player. She hit .348 in SLC play with one home run and seven RBIs in 20 appearances. She had 16 hits, two doubles and scored seven runs.

Malia enjoyed a solid season at second base to land on the All-SLC third team. She hit .325 in conference play and was tied for first in home runs with seven (her 10 total home runs were fourth best in the SLC). She was second in slugging percentage (.687) and fourth in RBIs (22) and doubles (nine with a season total of 15, which is second best in the league).

Kutac had a breakout freshman season at third base by hitting nine home runs on the season, fifth best in the league, and Fisher hit .292 with 21 hits and 11 runs scored in SLC action.

“Our roster is filled with talented athletes that choose to work hard every day whether someone is watching or not,” Valis said. “Each of these honorees are tremendous human beings that define what a student-athlete is, they excel in the classroom and are leaders at our university.

“Behind every award earned there are individuals who do not get recognized. I know that every member of our roster and staff has had a tremendous impact on our team’s success and have sacrificed for their teammates.”