UNCG heads to Southern Conference tournament
UNCG (24-30) at Southern Conference Softball Championship, May 11-14, Statesboro, Ga., Eagle Field
Video: UNCGSpartans.com (via SoCon.TV, subscription-based)
• A year removed from the first title game appearance in school history, UNCG will begin its quest for the 2011 Southern Conference Softball Championship title Wednesday when it faces tournament host Georgia Southern in Statesboro, Ga.
• The Spartans are 15-26 all-time in the double-elimination Southern Conference Championship, and have won at least one game there in all but three years since joining the league for the 1998 season. UNCG is 9-10 in the league tournament under the direction of sixth-year coach Jennifer Herzig, and has knocked off the top seed in the tournament in four of Herzig's first five seasons at the helm (and didn't face the top seed in the other year). The Spartans have won two games at the tournament in each of the last four years, the best run in school history. Herzig is the only coach in school history to win multiple games at the SoCon tournament in multiple years.
• In last season's tournament, the fourth-seeded Spartans fell to Elon in the championship game, surrendering five runs in the seventh inning to take a 6-3 loss. UNCG opened the tourney with a bang, as pitcher Amber Harrell came one out from no-hitting top-seeded Chattanooga on its home field and then-freshman Eileen Horsmon hit a grand slam to provide the only offense Harrell would need. Harrell, the tournament's Most Outstanding Player, was joined on the all-tournament team by teammates Hormson, Alex Emeterio and Whitney Sirois.
• UNCG has wreaked havoc on the No. 1 seeds in recent years. In addition to last year's win over Chattanooga, the eighth-seeded UNCG knocked off top-seeded Western Carolina in the first round in 2006. The following year, the eighth-seeded Spartans topped No. 1 Chattanooga in the first round. In 2008, No. 5 UNCG downed No. 1 Chattanooga in the second round. UNCG did not face the top seed in the 2009 tournament.
• Georgia Southern leads the series with UNCG 42-21, including a three-game sweep of the Spartans earlier this season. UNCG is just 2-8 against the Eagles in the SoCon tournament, with seven of those eight losses eliminating the Spartans and ending their season. UNCG did win its last meeting against GSU in the tournament, eliminating the Eagles with a 2-1 victory last season in Chattanooga, Tenn.
• UNCG finished the regular season with a 24-30 mark and 10-14 SoCon record to finish sixth in the league standings. GSU earned the third seed in the tournament, going 28-27 overall and 16-8 in league play. The teams will meet at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
• The Spartans and Eagles each had three players earn All-Southern Conference honors this season. UNCG's Alex Emeterio and GSU's Marie Fogle landed on the first team, while the Spartans' Kaitlin Merkt and Eileen Horsmon and the Eagles' Allie Miles and Megen Smith all took second-team honors. Miles was the SoCon Freshman of the Year, while UNCG's Katelyn Bedwell and Aisha Figueroa also earned all-freshman honors.
• UNCG enters the tournament having lost three straight after being swept by Elon last weekend. GSU has been idle since being swept in a three-game series by regular-season champion Chattanooga on April 30-May 1.
• Emeterio leads the Spartans in average (.350), hits (56), walks (19) and on-base percentage (.425) and has just eight strikeouts in 181 plate appearances on the season. Merkt is second on the squad with a career-best .340 average and leads the team in runs (31), home runs (nine), RBI (39) and slugging percentage (.582), all career highs except for homers. Bedwell (.326) and Jordan Jewett (.313) are also hitting over .300. Figueroa leads the team with 20 stolen bases in 22 attempts.
• As a team, UNCG is in the top three in the SoCon in batting (third, .287) and bottom two in pitching (eighth, 4.62) and fielding (.952). GSU is in the middle of the pack in the league in batting (sixth, .264), pitching (fifth, 3.55) and fielding (fifth, .954).
• Fogle leads the Eagles with a .354 batting average, 14 homers and 39 RBI. With 10 doubles and two triples, Fogle also has a team-best .669 slugging percentage and leads the SoCon with 119 total bases. Hanna Ennis is hitting .314 with a team-best 12 doubles, while Kayla Brooks, who has played in just 23 contests this year, is hitting .381.
• Miles is 14-8 with a 2.79 ERA on the season and has struck out 153 batters in just 130 2/3 innings. The league freshman of the year leads the SoCon in strikeouts (8.20 per game) and opponent batting average (.216). Brianna Streetmon, a two-time SoCon Pitcher of the Year for the Eagles, is 11-12 with a 3.30 ERA and 103 strikeouts.
2011 Southern Conference Softball Championship – Eagle Field at the Softball Complex – Statesboro, Ga.
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Game 1: #8 Furman vs. #9 Western Carolina, 10 a.m.
Game 2: #4 College of Charleston vs. #5 Elon, 12 p.m.
Game 3: #1 Chattanooga vs. Game 1 Winner, 2 p.m.
Game 4: #2 Appalachian State vs. #7 Samford, 5 p.m.
Game 5: #3 Georgia Southern vs. #6 UNCG, 7 p.m.
Thursday, May 12, 2011
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 13, 2011
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 14
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
- UNCG -