Softball Lands Five on All-Southern Conference Team
GREENSBORO, N.C. – On Tuesday, the Southern Conference office announced the 2017 All-SoCon Team, with five Spartan players receiving the distinctive honor.
UNCG's five selections to the first and second teams put the Spartans in a tie for the most in the league, matching the number of honorees for Mercer. UNCG also landed five players on the 2016 All-SoCon team.
Nearly the entire Spartan infield was awarded all-conference laurels. Marisa Sholtes (Albany, N.Y./South Colonie Central) and Gabrielle Cubbage (Felton, Del./Lake Forest) were named First Team All-SoCon, while Alicia Bazonski (Sheffield, Mass./Mount Everett), Jasmine Palmer (Biltmore Lake, N.C./Florida State) and Rachael McClaskey (Pine Hill, N.J./Overbrook) garnered second team consideration.
Sholtes leads the Spartans in batting average at .337. That average would rank eighth in the league if the first baseman had not missed 14 games midway through the season, holding her under the number of at-bats to qualify. Despite the missed time, Sholtes still managed to tie for second in the SoCon with nine home runs, posting a .711 slugging percentage and 28 RBIs. During conference action, Sholtes ranked second in the league in batting average (.405) while knocking in 16 runs, fourth most. Sholtes' .690 slugging percentage and .468 OBP ranked fourth and fifth, respectively.
Cubbage was a force at the plate, ranking second in the conference in RBIs with 40 and fifth in doubles with 12. The third baseman also hammered eight homers, tied for sixth in the league. Cubbage did the bulk of her damage when it mattered most in conference play, leading the SoCon with five home runs and 21 RBIs while batting .377, fourth highest in the league.
Bazonski was a mainstay in the circle for the Blue and Gold, posting a 17-12 record with a 3.30 ERA. Bazonski's 37 appearances and 31 starts were both conference bests, while her 17 wins and 186.2 innings pitched ranked second. The righty hurler struck out 107 batters on the year, third most in the league.
Palmer made an immediate impact after transferring to UNCG from Florida State. The second baseman reached base in over half of her plate appearances, recording a SoCon-best .524 OBP. Palmer ranks second in the NCAA with 0.47 HBPs per game, finishing the regular season having reached base in 29 consecutive games and 42 out of 45 games overall. Palmer also tied for the league lead in runs scored (41) and ranked second in walks (30), sixth in slugging percentage (.565) and 10th in home runs (7).
McClaskey was a stand out not only at the plate but also with her glove at her shortstop position. The New Jersey native had 34 RBIs and 29 runs scored on the year, ranking sixth and ninth in the conference, respectively. McClaskey also ranked sixth in home runs with eight and walks with 22. In league play, her .378 average was the third highest in the SoCon, while she ranked second in RBIs (18), second in slugging percentage (.711), third in home runs (4), sixth in on-base percentage (.463) and sixth in runs scored (12).
With the program's first regular season SoCon Championship under its belt, UNCG opens up the SoCon Tournament Thursday at 12:30 p.m. The Spartans will play the winner of Wednesday's game between fourth seed Samford and fifth seed Mercer in Chattanooga, Tenn.