PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Rutgers junior shortstop Kyleigh Sand was named First Team All-Great Lakes Region and junior outfielder/pitcher Morgan Smith was named Second Team All-Great Lakes Region it was announced on Thursday by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA).
Sand is a first-team all-region honoree for the second consecutive season. A Second Team All-Big Ten Team member, Sand led RU batting .374 with a .442 on-base percentage and 26 stolen bases. She totaled 71 hits leading to 13 doubles and a team-leading three triples. Sand led the Scarlet Knights in runs helping score a team-leading 54 of RU’s school-record 288 runs scored. Additionally, she added 14 RBIs. On defense, Sand helped turn 11 of the Scarlet Knights’ 23 double plays. In the Big Ten, Sand led the league in stolen bases and ranked ninth in batting average, second in hits, and third in runs scored. Nationally, she is 20th in hits, 32nd in runs per game and 36th in stolen bases. Among Rutgers single-season leaders, Sand put her name second in hits and at-bats and fifth in stolen bases.
A Second Team All-Big Ten and Big Ten All-Defensive Team member, Smith was a standout for the Scarlet Knights in the outfield, inside the circle and at the plate. She batted .357 behind 60 hits including 14 doubles, two triples and five home runs while totaling 38 runs and a team-leading 46 RBIs. The LSU transfer recorded a .554 slugging percentage and .432 on-base percentage. Defensively Smith totaled 92 putouts with only one error in 57 games holding a .991 fielding percentage. Inside the circle, Smith threw 64.2 innings in 21 appearances with 60 strikeouts with a pair of shared shutouts. Among her Big Ten conference peers, Smith ranked ninth in the Big Ten in RBIs, 10th in hits and fourth in sacrifice flies. Nationally, she is 23rd in sacrifice flies. Among Rutgers single-season leaders, Smith ranks sixth in doubles and tied for fourth in RBIs.
The Rutgers softball team finished the 2023 campaign at 32-35 for the most wins since 1994. The Scarlet Knights opened the year at 8-0 for the best start for the program since 1980 and finished the nonconference schedule at 23-11. RU returned to the Big Ten Tournament behind a victory over No. 18/19 and Big Ten champion Northwestern, along with a series sweep of Illinois and Maryland. The Scarlet Knights earned five…