Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Atlantic Sun Softball Shines Inside the Circle

MACON, Ga. – As the NCAA released its latest weekly Division 1 softball statistical report, the Atlantic Sun Conference headlines several categories, led by USC Upstate’s defense and the individual efforts of several A-Sun pitchers.

The NCAA releases its weekly statistical report every Tuesday and USC Upstate tops the nation with a .985 fielding percentage for the second week in a row, with Lipscomb, UNF and Mercer all ranking in the top 35. Only two current A-Sun institutions have ever finished a season leading the nation in a category. Campbell led in double plays turned in both 2007 and 2008 while Stetson paced Division I in triples and triples per game in 1990. Thanks to dominant starting pitchers, Lipscomb owns the third best ERA at 1.29. USC Upstate places 11th (1.53) and Stetson ranks 16th (1.68).

A-Sun pitchers in Lipscomb’s Whitney Kiihnl, USC Upstate’s Morgan Childers and Stetson’s Amanda Lindsey continue to shine among the nation's top hurlers. Childers tops all pitchers with a 0.62 ERA, while ranking third with 12.5 strikeouts per seven innings and fourth in total strikeouts, 261. The sophomore from Kings Mountain, N.C. ranks second in victories with 20, third with 2.4 hits allowed per seven innings and sixth in shutouts. Childers added to her totals on Tuesday with her seventh shutout, a 12-strikeout, two-hit gem against South Carolina, the Spartans’ first ever against an SEC opponent.

Kiihnl, the A-Sun Softball Pitcher of the Week, tops the nation in the fewest hits allowed per seven innings (2.04), claims second to Childers with a 0.64 ERA, ranks fifth in shutouts (9), eighth in victories (19), 12th in strikeouts per seven innings (10.8) and 13th in strikeouts (201). With Kiihnl and Childers owning the top two ERAs in the nation, the pair of A-Sun aces have a chance to become the first pair of pitchers from the same conference to own the two best ERAs in the nation since 2001 when UCLA’s Amanda Freed paced the country with 0.46 ERA followed closely by Arizona’s Jennie Finch and her 0.54 ERA.

Lindsey claims the No. 17 position with a 1.04 ERA, ranks 10th with 3.45 hits allowed per seven innings, 28th in shutouts with five and 30th in strikeouts with 168.0, 46th in victories (13). One of the better two-way players in the conference, she also ranks in the top 30 in a pair of offensive categories as she places 23rd in walks per game (0.83) and 24th with a .551 on base percentage.

UNF’s Devyn Findley and Mercer’s Jenni Holtz also boast multiple top-20 rankings. Holtz joins Childers in the top 10 in strikeouts with 201 and her strikeouts per seven innings ratio of 10.4 ranks 15th. Findley’s 190 strikeouts enter the week ranking 16th while her six shutouts place 17th. With three saves, ETSU’s Shelby Morris ranks in a tie for 10th. A season ago, Campbell’s Katie Woodcock tied for the national lead with six.

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The Atlantic Sun Conference is an 11-member league committed to Building Winners for Life. The A-Sun stands for achievement with integrity in both the academic and athletic arenas, with a focus on the balance between the two for our student-athletes. Headquartered in Macon, Ga., the A-Sun boasts six of the top eight media markets in the Southeast. The A-Sun includes a blend of the most prestigious and dynamic private and public institutions in the region: Belmont University, Campbell University, East Tennessee State University, Florida Gulf Coast University, Jacksonville University, Kennesaw State University, Lipscomb University, Mercer University, University of North Florida, University of South Carolina Upstate and Stetson University.

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