NEW ORLEANS – Georgia State’s softball team was picked to finish third in the conference in the preseason coaches’ poll, the Sun Belt office announced Thursday. Seniors Ivie Drake and Megan Litumbe were named preseason All-Sun Belt.

The Panthers return 16 players from a team that went 36-25 and 18-9 in the Sun Belt last season. Georgia State’s top hitters from 2017 return as Ivie Drake and Megan Litumbe begin their senior seasons.

The Panthers’ top pitcher also returns as Kinsley Jennings, the 2017 Sun Belt Newcomer of the Year, looks to build on her success from a year ago.

GSU’s 2018 squad will have six seniors and will feature six returning starters on offense and three pitchers that saw 40 innings of work or more in 2017.

Texas State received six first-place votes to earn the top spot in the preseason poll. Louisiana was picked second in the conference with four first-place votes. Georgia State was picked ahead of South Alabama by eight points.

Georgia State begins the season Feb. 9 against No. 18/16 Michigan at the USF Series Tournament in Tampa, Fla.

GSU’s first home game of the season is Feb. 14 against Georgia Tech at the Bob Heck Softball Complex.

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