Luna hailed as Newcomer of Year

Published 11:25 pm Monday, May 9, 2016

The News staff report

Ciara Luna highlighted All-Southland Conference honors for Lamar by adding the conference’s Newcomer of the Year award to her resume.

The conference announced its postseason honors and All-Southland teams Monday. Luna, a junior pitcher who transferred from Navarro College, also made second-team All-Southland. Catcher Brynn Baca and right fielder Brittany Rodriguez were selected to the first team. Second baseman Kelly Meeuwsen is on the second team, with center fielder Jenna Holland and shortstop Stephanie Meeuwsen named honorable mention.

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“I’m thrilled that we had so many players honored,” Lamar coach Holly Bruder said in a release. “We’ve had a tremendous season, and it’s great that people are recognizing the success we’ve had and the program that we are building.”

The announcements come ahead of the start of the Southland tournament in Lake Charles. Third-seeded Lamar (32-20, 18-9 Southland) opens the tournament against sixth-seeded and in-state rival Sam Houston State at 11 a.m. Wednesday on Cowgirl Diamond at McNeese State University.

Luna is 15-7 on the season with a team-leading 2.57 ERA. She was 10-3 with a 2.21 ERA with three shutouts in the Southland.

Rodriguez, a sophomore from San Jacinto College, batted .393 with an LU-record 64 hits. Her 20-game hitting streak and 26-game run of reaching base safely also are school records, and she is 13 for 13 in stolen base attempts. Against Southland pitching, Rodriguez is hitting .398.

Baca is a .347 hitter with one home run and 23 RBI. She has thrown out 10 would-be base stealers in Southland play.

Freshman Kelly Meeuwsen has LU records of 40 RBI and 20 doubles. She is hitting .329.

Holland (.292, 1 home run, 22 RBI) holds LU career records for RBI (89) and doubles (32). Stephanie Meeuwsen (.264) owns the school records for hits (188), runs scored (111) and assists (495).

Both honorable mentions are seniors.

“Jenna and Stephanie have been key parts of this program from Day 1,” Bruder said. “They took a chance on coming to a new program, and I’m glad they did. They are two very special players.”