Longwood softball picked high in Big South preseason poll

Published 5:56 am Tuesday, January 30, 2024

The Longwood softball team was picked in a tie with USC Upstate atop the 2024 Big South Conference Preseason Poll, released late last week.

A league-high five players – infielder Korynna Anderson, right-handed pitcher Er’ron Burton, outfielder Lauren Fox, catcher Maryanna Guy and infielder Lauren Taylor – also claimed places on the first-ever preseason All-Big South team.

The Lancers, who won a share of the regular-season title in the league last spring and finished one victory shy of tournament championship, earned 45 points and four first-place votes in the poll. Upstate received 45 points and the remaining three first-place votes. The two teams finished ahead of Charleston Southern (34 points), Gardner-Webb and Winthrop (21 each). Presbyterian (18) and Radford (12) rounded out the voting.

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Anderson, an All-Big South second team selection in 2023, batted .284 (44-for-155) with eight doubles, a team-high-tying eight home runs and 30 RBIs. Anderson, who was also part of the Big South championship all-tournament team, posted 14 multiple-hit games on the season and belted a walk-off grand slam in a 13-5 run-rule victory over St. John’s.

Burton went 16-8 with a 3.14 ERA in the circle, pitching a team-leading 131.2 innings over 38 games and 19 starts. She tossed two of her five complete games in the Big South championship last spring to be named to the all-tournament team. Burton struck out 129 and walked 43 on the year.

Fox batted .315 (29-for-92) in 34 starts in center field as a junior last season, driving in nine runs while getting on base at a .364 clip to earn second team all-conference honors. Fox also posted multiple hits in eight games and stole nine bases in 11 tries.

Guy earned NFCA second team all-region honors as well as spots on the All-Big South second team and league’s all-freshman team. She batted .313 (30-for-92) in 42 games and 33 starts behind the plate and at DP. Guy, who was named Big South Freshman of the Week three times, had five doubles, a team-high tying eight home runs and 20 RBIs on the season.

Taylor, one of three players to start all 53 games for the Lancers, was named to the All-Big South second team last season. She batted .303 (50-for-165) with eight doubles, six homers and 37 RBIs. She registered a .353 on-base percentage and stole 10 bases. Taylor collected multiple hits in 13 games.

A challenging schedule

The Lancers, who finished 32-21 last season, will play nine teams which advanced to the NCAA tournament in 2023, including two Women’s College World Series qualifiers this season. Longwood opens the season at Georgia Tech’s Buzz Classic Feb. 9-11, facing Alabama, Villanova and the host Yellow Jackets.