BOCA RATON, Fla. - Florida Atlantic University softball shortstop Emily Lochten was named Conference USA Preseason Player of the Year, as announced by the league office on Thursday.
Lochten is a two-time C-USA First Team selection. Last season, the Lake Worth, Florida, native led the Owls in numerous offensive categories, including batting average (.408) and RBI (41), while setting single-season program records for runs scored (58), slugging percentage (.834) and on-base percentage (.539), and tying the FAU mark for total bases (131). She is already the program’s all-time leader in career stolen bases with 92. Lochten was also named a Third Team NFCA All-American, becoming just the third player in program history to earn All-American honors.
Senior catcher Alex Miller and junior outfielder Madisyn Palmer joined Lochten on the preseason All-Conference team. Miller assumed full-time catching duties as a junior and responded with the best offensive season of her career, hitting .280 with 24 RBI while calling all the pitches for a FAU staff that finished the season with a collective 2.15 ERA. Miller also made last season’s C-USA All-Academic Team for her efforts in the classroom.
Palmer proved that winning C-USA Freshman of the Year in 2016 was not a fluke, finishing second on the team with a .337 batting average and stealing a team-high 42 bases as a sophomore. Her 68 career stolen bases trail only Lochten in school history.
As a team, the Owls were picked to finish third in the preseason coaches’ poll, behind Louisiana Tech and FIU.
FAU begins its season on Thursday, Feb. 8 with a doubleheader at home against Duke as part of the FAU First Pitch Classic.