Friday, February 08, 2013
MACON, Ga. -This week marks the beginning of the 2013 Atlantic Sun Softball season with five teams set to compete on Friday, February 8th and three more squads scheduled to start on Saturday.
FGCU was picked as the preseason favorite with a unanimous ten first-place votes.
A-Sun Softball Weekly Notes (#ASunSB):
- The Eagles defeated Kennesaw State in the 2012 Atlantic Sun Softball Championship to claim the title. The Eagles upset No. 5 seed Florida in the regionals of the NCAA Tournament, 2-1, with pitcher Shelby Morgan collecting her 23rd win of the season.
- Morgan was named the 2013 Preseason Pitcher of the Year as voted on by the coaches. Morgan was the 2012 A-Sun Tournament MVP as well as the 2012 Pitcher of the Year.
- The Eagles Chelsea Zgrabik was awarded the 2013 A-Sun Preseason Player of the Year. Zgrabik led the Eagles in batting average (.329), hits (55), home runs (13) and RBI (53) last season and ended the 2012 season with a 13-game hitting streak.
- Kennesaw State earned 89 votes in the preseason poll to come in at No. 2 in the league. KSU tied for the 2012 regular season crown with a 14-4 conference record, The team collected 50 home runs in the season; tied for the most in the A-Sun. The Owls landed two players, Sharon Swanson and Kaylee Williams, on the Preseason All-Conference team. The Owls start the season on Friday vs. Missouri State.
- USC Upstate is set to host the Upstate Subway Classic starting on Saturday, February 9th with games against Maine and UMKC. The Spartans led the league in batting average (.325) and ERA (2.05) last season.
- The Spartans were picked to finish third in the A-Sun preseason poll with three student-athletes that made the Preseason All-Conference team. Upstate’s sophomore outfielder Shellie Robinson has been named to the Top 50 “Watch List” for the 2013 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year, announced the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) and USA Softball today.
- Lipscomb returns senior second basemen Kelsey Cartwright to the squad as she looks to lead the Bisons into their season. Cartwright led the conference with 18 home runs, which also marked an LU school record for a season. The Bisons are competing in the University of Houston Tournament where they will take on Iowa, Houston, Texas State and No. 11 Louisiana-Lafayette.
- Jacksonville was tabbed to finish No. 5 in the A-Sun Preseason poll and will start their season off on February 9th against Bethune-Cookman and Florida A&M at the FSU Tournament in Tallahassee, Fla. As a team, JU ranked second in the A-Sun in hitting (.278) and third in ERA (2.11). The pitching staff finished second in strikeouts at 370.
- Stetson has two of the top-ten returning pitchers for wins in the conference returning with Courtney Brandt and Meredith Owen. In 2012, Brandt posted 11 wins and a 2.20 ERA her rookie season, while Owen struck out 143 total batters on the season. Owen and Brandt were also two of the team’s top hitters as well in 2012. Owen batted a team-high .311 while hitting six home runs and driving in 25. Brandt batted .273 and led the team with eight home runs and 27 RBI. The Hatters open the season vs. Michigan State on Friday, February 8th.
- North Florida opens the season against Bethune-Cookman and No. 24 Florida State on Saturday, February 9th at the Panhandle Invitational. The Ospreys pitcher Kaylie Wallace had an ERA 1.82, which ranked No. 4 of the pitchers in the 2012 season.
- Mercer hosts the Mercer Invitational on Friday, February 8 with games against IUPUI and Alabama State. The Bears McKenzie Woody was placed on the A-Sun Preseason All-Conference Team and landed tied at No. 8 in the Preseason Poll with newcomer Northern Kentucky. Woody led the league with a .430 batting average and tallied 74 hits, also the best in the league and a Mercer record.
- Northern Kentucky will be starting its first season as a Division One program a week later on Saturday, February 16 at the Georgia State Panther Invitational. The Norse return a strong pitching duo in Alex Caudill and Emily Schwaeble with a combined 38 wins between the pair. Schwaeble pitched 223.1 innings last season and tallied an ERA on 2.23 for the Norse.
- ETSU open the season at the Plainsmen Invite in Auburn, Ala. where they will face off against Auburn, Kent State, Austin Peay and Army. The Buccaneers return heavy hitting sophomore Casey Horner to the line-up. Horner led the Bucs in batting average (.316) and runs batted in (24).
Follow the Atlantic Sun on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.