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UNCG begins SoCon Championship title quest on Wednesday

Courtesy: UNCGSpartans.com
         
Release: May 07, 2012
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UNCG (21-32) at the Southern Conference Softball Championships, May 9-12, Boone, N.C., Sywassink/Lloyd Family Stadium

Live stats: UNCGSpartans.com
Video: SoCon.TV (every game but championship, free); ESPN3 (championship game)

For the Southern Conference Softball Championship bracket, click here.

Storylines

• With the regular season in the books, UNCG heads to Boone, N.C., for the Southern Conference Softball Championship. The fourth-seeded Spartans will take on tournament host Appalachian State, the fifth seed, on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in their first contest. The double-elimination tournament runs through Saturday.

• The Spartans are 17-28 all-time in the SoCon Championship and have won at least one game there in all but three years since joining the league prior to the 1998 season. UNCG is 11-12 in the league tournament under the direction of seventh-year coach Jennifer Herzig and has won two games at the tournament in each of the last five years, the best run in school history. Herzig is the only coach in school history to win multiple games at the tournament in multiple years and owns the most SoCon tournament wins and best SoCon tournament winning percentage in school history (.478).

• All-time in the SoCon tournament, UNCG is 0-2 against Appalachian State, 3-6 against Chattanooga, 3-4 against College of Charleston, 1-3 against Elon, 1-3 against Furman, 3-8 against Georgia Southern, 1-0 against Samford and 1-1 against Western Carolina. Against former league members, the Spartans were 3-0 against UNCW and 1-1 against East Tennessee State.

• UNCG made its first-ever SoCon title game appearance in 2010. Should the Spartans claim their first SoCon tournament title this season, they would grab the league's automatic NCAA bid and make their first NCAA regional appearance since 1997.

• UNCG trails the all-time series with App, 19-16, but took two of three in Boone on March 10-11 and has won five of the last eight in the series. The Mountaineers hold a slim 8-6 lead in the series in Boone, but the Spartans have won four of the last five on App's home turf. UNCG's two losses to Appalachian State in the SoCon tournament both came in Chattanooga, Tenn., in 2004 and 2009.

Alex Emeterio and Heather Robb each hit .400 against the Apps in this season's first meetings, with Robb bashing two homers and driving in seven runs. Katelyn Bedwell and Tatiana Alcala also homered for the Spartans.

• The Spartans went 21-32 in the regular season and 10-13 in the SoCon to finish fourth in the league for the second time in the last three seasons, matching UNCG's highest finish under Herzig.

• Bedwell was named to the All-SoCon Second Team at designated player on Monday. The Surrey, British Columbia, sophomore is hitting .312 with a team-best 11 home runs and 39 RBI. She has started all 53 games for the Spartans so far, with 34 coming at DP and 19 at catcher.

• UNCG comes into the tournament on a three-game losing streak after suffering a sweep at the hands of Chattanooga over the weekend. Chattanooga took wins of 9-1, 7-1 and 6-3. Bedwell hit .429 on the weekend, while Robb hit her ninth homer of the season. The Spartans honored senior manager Katelyn Dodson, left fielder Emeterio and pitcher Cory Mattson on Sunday.

• Emeterio is in the top 10 in school history in career batting average, hits, doubles, triples, runs, RBI and walks and is on the verge of becoming UNCG's all-time hits leader. With 226 to her credit, she is just one back of school-record holders Karyn Thompson (1993-96) and Jennifer Bonilla (2004-07).

• Mattson is seventh in school history in wins (40) and sixth in strikeouts (390). She is also third in saves with five and is in the top 10 in school history in starts, appearances and innings pitched.

• Emeterio leads the Spartans with a .331 average and a .407 on-base percentage and has struck out just seven times in 164 plate appearances, making her the 48th-toughest player to strike out nationally. Bedwell is second in batting at .312 while Horsmon is third at .308 with 10 home runs and a team-high 46 RBI, more than double her previous career high of 21. Horsmon, who also leads UNCG with 10 doubles and two triples, has a team-best .590 slugging percentage. Bedwell and Horsmon have five sacrifice flies each, tying them for second nationally in that category.

• UNCG has hit 37 home runs in 53 games this season, good for fourth-most in school history. Bedwell and Horsmon have combined for 21 of them, while Robb has nine, Emeterio has four and Alcala, Dominique Madruga and Toni MacReynolds have one each. The Spartans' home run totals have soared under Herzig, as seven of the top 10 home run totals in school history have come during her tenure (2006-present).

• The Spartans have two players with at least 10 homers for just the second time in school history and the first since Jennifer Hubbard and Christine Sweeney had 10 each in 2003. UNCG has never had three players reach 10 homers in a season but could do so this year with one more from Robb.

• Mattson leads UNCG with a 4.11 ERA and is 13-16 on the season for her third straight season with at least 10 wins. She needs just one more to match the career high she set last season. Freshman Erica Navarette owns a 4.51 ERA and is 6-14 with four saves, good for 14th nationally. Sophomore Josie Felix is 2-3 with a 6.81 ERA.

• Appalachian State is 21-23 overall and finished fifth in the league at 9-13. The Mountaineers had a trio of All-SoCon First Team performers, with Allie Cashion earning the honor in the outfield, Megan Rembielak at shortstop and Sarah Warnock at utility. Catcher Michelle Lighton took second-team honors. Warnock and Caroline Rogers earned SoCon All-Freshman honors, while Warnock was the league's freshman of the year.

• The Mountaineers have been idle since dropping two of three at Samford to end the regular season on April 28-29.

• Cashion leads the Apps with a .408 batting average, 16 homers and 50 RBI on the year, while Rembielak is second on the team with a .396 average and is 19-for-23 in stolen base attempts. Warnock is hitting .386, Meghan Smith is hitting .371 and Caroline Williams is hitting .352. As a team, ASU hits .302, the second-best mark in the SoCon and good for 33rd nationally.

• Appalachian State's pitching staff owns a cumulative 3.92 ERA. Freshman Caroline Wainwright is 9-8 with a 3.33 ERA, while her sister, Caitlin Wainright, a senior, is 6-9 with a 3.75 mark. Riley Carter (3-4, 4.65) and Williams (3-2, 4.86) round out the staff.

2012 Southern Conference Softball Championship – Sywassink/Lloyd Family Stadium – Boone, N.C.
Wednesday, May 9
Game 1: #8 Furman vs. #9 Samford 10 a.m.
Game 2:  #2 Chattanooga vs. #7 Elon 12 p.m.
Game 3: #3 College of Charleston vs. #6 Western Carolina 2 p.m.
Game 4: #1 Georgia Southern vs. Game 1 Winner 5 p.m.
Game 5: #4 UNCG vs. #5 Appalachian State 7 p.m.

Thursday, May 10
Game 6: Game 2 Loser vs. Game 3 Loser 10 a.m.
Game 7: Game 4 Loser vs. Game 5 Loser 12 p.m.
Game 8: Game 2 Winner vs. Game 3 Winner 3 p.m.
Game 9: Game 4 Winner vs. Game 5 Winner 5 p.m.

Friday, May 11
Game 10: Game 8 Loser vs. Game 7 Winner 10 a.m.
Game 11: Game 9 Loser vs. Game 6 Winner 12 p.m.
Game 12: Game 8 Winner vs. Game 9 Winner 3 p.m.
Game 13: Game 11 Winner vs. Game 10 Winner 5 p.m.

Saturday, May 12
Game 14: Game 12 Loser vs. Game 13 Winner 11 a.m.
Game 15: Game 12 Winner vs. Game 14 Winner 1:30 p.m.
Game 16: Game 15 Winner vs. Game 15 Loser (If necessary) 30 min. after Game 15

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