At the SBC Awards Banquet held in New Orleans on Thursday, South Alabama Junior Daniel Leitner was named the 2014 Sun Belt Conference Men’s Tennis Player of the Year and was named to the All-Conference team.
Freshman Tuki Jacobs, senior Sayann Vaezzadeh, junior Manuel Belda and sophomore Gerhard Gruindelingh were also named to the All-Conference team.
Leitner and Jacobs were named to the first team in singles, Vaezzadeh was named to the second team in singles, Belda and Gruindelingh were named to the second team in doubles. This is the most All-Conference honorees by the program since five were named in 2001.
The USA Women’s Tennis team had four named to the All-Conference team. Freshman Laura Valkova was named to the First Team All-Sun Belt Conference team with freshman Monica Mitta was named to the second team for doubles and for singles. Junior Emily Newton and sophomore Michaela Meszorosova were named to the doubles second team.
The Jaguar baseball team is in Bowling Green, Kentucky this weekend to face the Hilltoppers in a three-game Sun Belt Conference series. The Jags enter the game looking to snap a three-game losing skid and looking to hold onto the eighth and final spot in the SBC Championships.
USA (16-20, 6-8) lead the all-time series against WKU 84-51 dating backing to 1983. They will send out the current SBC Pitcher of the Week Locke St. John (4-1) for his 10th start of the season in game one this evening. The lefty allowed only three hits with two strikeouts in seven innings in combination with the Jags bullpen to toss a shutout.
WKU (19-18, 7-8) will start Justin Hageman (4-1) who was named the SBC Pitcher of the Week on March 24.
Jaguar righty Kevin Hill (2-4) will make his eighth start in game two and Hunter Soleymani (0-1) will make his fourth start in game three on Sunday.
USA’s pitching staff is tied for second in the conference with an ERA of 3.73. WKU’s pitching staff is ranked eighth in the conference with an ERA of 4.91.
The #19 ranked Jaguar softball team will host Georgia State for a three-game Sun Belt Conference series at Jaguar Field. This is the last full conference series they will host this season.
They will get underway this afternoon at 4pm for the first game of a double-header and concluding with their third game on Saturday in respect to Easter Sunday. The Jags (32-8) are looking to regain their early season spark in time for the Sun Belt Championships coming up. They took game two of the three game series last weekend against conference leader Louisiana-Lafayette but lost the series 2-1.
Georgia State in currently fourth in the SBC Standings with a 7-5 conference record.
The Jags (32-8, 9-4 SBC) fell from #15 to #19 in the USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches Association Top 25 and fell from #16 to #20 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball top 25 poll as well. They are currently third in the conference standing behind ULL (11-1) and Western Kentucky (8-3).
The Ragin’ Cajuns overtook the Jaguars in the polls to become the highest ranked team from the Sun Belt as they rose to #17 in both polls. The Jags remain the second-highest ranked team in the state of Alabama as the Crimson Tide fell from #3/#2 to #7/#6 in the ESPN.com and USA Today polls respectively. Auburn ranks #23 and #24 in the USA TOday and ESPN.com polls respectively.
The Jags will host Georgia State at Jaguar Field this weekend with a double-header scheduled for Friday beginning at 4pm and concluding with their third game on Saturday at noon prior to Easter Sunday.
First, they announced that they signed junior college transfer John Brown, a 6’4″ forward from Olney, Illinois Central College. He is the first of four expected spring signees. He joins three players who signed with USA in the early signing period in November.
Brown will be used at the wing/small forward position but could play power forwardin a smaller lineup.
Brown averaged 16.2 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game in 32 games with Olney. He shot 51.8 percent on field goals and 63.5 percent at the free throw line. As a freshman he averaged 10.8 points and 3.2 rebounds per game.
On the same day as their announcement of the addition of Brown, they also announced two players will leave the program.
Forward Mychal Ammons and guard Aakim Saintil will both be leaving the program. Ammons, a 6’6″ 225-pound Vicksburg, Mississippi native, would have been a senior next season, has hired an agent with the intention of playing professional overseas. Ammons was the third leading scorer last season with 9.3 points per game and second in rebounds with 7.2 per game. He averaged 27.9 minutes per game and shot 43.9 percent from the floor, 37.1 percent from 3-point range and 64.4 percent from the free throw line. He also added 35 blocked shots, 13 steals, and 44 assists.
Saintil, a 6′ 160-pound Roselle, NJ native, would have been a sophomore next season, wanted to transfer closer to home to be near his mother who is ill. Coach Graves said that he wants to transfer to a Division I school in the northeast or, if nothing is available, wants to transfer to a junior college for a year in hopes of being recruited by different schools in the northeast.
Saintil averaged 22.7 minutes per game and averaged 6.3 points and 2.0 rebounds per game. He shot 32.9 percent from the field, 27.1 percent from 3-point range and 73.9 percent from the free throw line. He also recorded 32 steals and 57 assists (second on the team).
With two open scholarships, coach Graves wants to add another guard who can handle the ball and add depth in the backcourt. They will probably look towards the JuCo route in order to add experience.
Jaguar senior Ashleigh Ryals shot a 5-over 77 in the final round of the Sun Belt Conference Championship at Steelwood Country Club to earn a top-5 finish and All-Sun Belt Conference Honors on Wednesday.
Ryals 77 gave her a 9-over total of 225 to finish tied for fifth place. The front nine saw her shoot a 4-over 40 before a 1-over card for the back nine.
Elisa Axelsen shot the lowest round for a Jaguar on Wednesday with a 3-over 75. She played the front nine at 3-over and then shot even-par on the back nine to finish tied for 12th in the final standings.
Ingrid Hagen shot a 6-over 78 to finish tied for 19th which also tied fellow Jaguar Caroline Beebe. Cariane Wright shot an 8-over 80 to finish 22nd in her first career SBC Championship.
The Jags as a team finished third after a third-round total of 308 for a three-day total of 922.
Troy’s Fatima Fern Cano finished first in the individual with a +5. Troy also took home the team win.
Troy (896, +32)
Texas State (902, +38)
South Alabama (922, +58)
Arkansas Little Rock (927, +63)
Georgia State (935, +71)
Louisiana Monroe (942, +78)
Arkansas State (955, +91)
Western Kentucky (968, +104)
SLU’s Kyle Cedotal and Gage Pickett combined to shutout the Jags 5-0 at Eddie Stanky Field. Cedotal threw a career-high 7 1/3 innings allowing just three hits while striking out four with three walks. Pickett tossed 1 2/3 innings of relief with three strikeouts and two walks.
Jared Gates (1-4) suffered the loss for the Jaguars after tossing 5 2/3 innings and allowing just one run on seven hits with five strikeouts and two walks.
SLU (24-13) got on the board in the top of the second inning after a leadoff single and stolen base put the runner on second base. Then a two-out RBI single by would drive the runner home.
In the top of the seventh, SLU would score two more runs after a one-out walk would put the first runner on base. A single through the left side of the infield would advance the runner to third base on a hit-and-run. A wild pitch by Matt Bell would bring home the runner on third. Then a two-out RBI double down the right field line would score the second run for a 3-0 lead in the seventh inning.
Then in the top of the eighth, SLU would load the bases with one out on back-to-back singles and a walk. An RBI single to center would score two runs for a 4-0 lead. Then one batter later they would score the final run of the game on an RBI groundout to shortstop.
The Jags fall to 16-20 on the season and will travel to Western Kentucky this weekend for a three game series.
The Jags are fighting to stay in the top eight of the SBC Baseball standings so they can not only host the SBC Championships, but also participate in them. Currently the Jags sit in the eighth and final spot with a 6-8 conference record ahead of Georgia State (5-10) and UALR (3-12).
1. UL Lafayette (34-4, 14-1)
2. Arkansas State (20-16, 10-5)
T3. Texas State (19-17, 8-7)
T3. UT Arlington (16-20, 8-7)
T5. Western Kentucky (19-17, 7-8)
T5. UL Monroe (16-22, 7-8)
7. Troy (19-18, 6-8)
8. South Alabama (16-20, 6-8)
9. Georgia State (17-20, 5-10)
10. Arkansas-Little Rock (13-20, 3-12)
South Alabama’s Ashleigh Ryals took over the lead in the Sun Belt Conference Championships on Tuesday after shooting a 3-over par 75 at Steelwood Country Club in Loxley, Alabama.
The senior started 5-over through the first seven holes before rebounding with birdies on holes 8 and 9 to close out the front nine. She then recorded an even-par 36 on the back nine after a bogey at 11 followed by a birdie at 12.
Elisa Axelsen played the front nine at even-par after a birdie at the third. Four bogies on the back nine would put her at 4-over for the day and moving her up to 13th place.
Carianne Wright posted a 10-over par 82 and is tied for 22nd place.
Caroline Beebe shot an 8-over 80 in the second round after going 4-over on the front nine and the back nine. Ingrid Hagen shot a 7-over par 79 for a two-round total of 158 for both of them.
Troy continues to hold onto the top spot with a two-round total of 600 and +24 for the tournament. Texas State is second with a 606 total for the two rounds and +30 for the tournament. The Jags are in third place with a two-round total of 614 for a +38 for the tournament. ULM moved up to fourth place and four shots behind the Jags with a two-round total of 618 for a +42 for the tournament.
UALR is in fifth place (623, +47), Georgia State is sixth (626, +50) with Arkansas State and Western Kentucky tied for seventh (632, +56).
Ryals (148, +4) holds a one stroke lead going into the final round today with ULM’s Alison Knowles and Troy’s Brooke Spinks tied for second place (149, +5), four tied for fourth place two strokes back at +6 and two tied for eighth place at three strokes back at +7. Elisa Axelsen is the next-highest Jaguar at 13th place and six strokes back.
The final round begins this morning with Hagen teeing off at 8:55am, followed by Beebe at 9:04, Wright at 9:13, Axelsen at 9:22am and Ryals at 9:31am.
South Alabama’s Locke St. John was named the Sun Belt Conference Pitcher of the Week on Monday by the conference office in New Orleans, Louisiana.
St. John, a 6’1″ junior from Pell City, Alabama, tossed seven innings in combining for the Jaguars second shutout of the season. He only allowed three hits with two strikeouts in the series opener against Arkansas State. He only allowed two ASU runners to move into scoring position in the seven innings.
St. John is the first left-hander to win the SBC Pitcher of the Week honrs this season and the first Jaguar to be honored since Jarron Cito on March 25, 2013.
He ranks second in the conference with an ERA of 2.68, is tied for fourth in runs allowed with 18 and is fifth in innings pitched with 57.
The Jags will host Southeast Louisiana this evening (if field conditions permit) prior to traveling to Bowling Green, Kentucky for a three game series against Western Kentucky.
The first round of the Sun Belt Conference Championship saw South Alabama’s Ashleigh Ryals shoot a 1-over par 73 to tie for third place on Monday at Steelwood Country Club in Loxley, Alabama.
The senior from Gulf Breeze, Florida played the front nine 1-over after she birdied the second but bogeyed the next two holes. Another bogey at the sixth moved her to 2-over but she would birdie the eighth to get back to 1-over. Starting with nine, she would par the next eight holes before she bogeyed the 17th but ended the round with a birdie at the par-five 18th to shoot even par on the back nine.
She will start the second round on Tuesday just three shots off the lead in a tie for third place.
Carianne Wright shot a 3-over par 75 as she is tied for eighth place.
Elisa Axelsen is 6-over and tied for 19th place along with Caroline Beebe. Ingrid Hagen is 7-over tied for 21st.
Troy currently leads the team standings at +3 with Texas State in second place at +12 and USA is tied with Arkansas-Little Rock at +16. Georgia State is +24 in fifth place, Western Kentucky and Lousiana-Monroe are tied for 6th with +28 and Arkansas State is in the eighth and final place at +30.
UALR’s Sofia Barglund and Troy’s Fatima Fern Cano are both tied for first place after shooting a 2-under 70 in the first round.
Hagen will be the first Jaguar on the tee this morning at 9:25am, followed by Beebe at 9:35am, Axelsen at 9:45am, Wright at 9:55am and Ryals at 10:05am.
The #15 ranked South Alabama Softball team lost two of three to conference leader Louisiana-Lafayette over the weekend to fall to 32-8 overall and 9-4 in Conference play.
On Saturday, the Jags split a double-header with #18 ranked ULL taking game one 6-2 but the Jags came back in the nightcap to even the series with an 8-4 win.
Stephanie Pilkington led the Jaguars at the plate on Saturday by going 4-for-8 with three RBI and a run scored. Blair Johnson, Taylor Rodgers and Alex Breeden all had three hits each and combined for three RBI and two runs scored.
Hannah Campbell got the win in game two after she struck out six with two walks and scattering four hits and allowed all four runs, but only two of them earned.
Farish Beard took the loss in game one after allowing six runs, all earned, on seven hits while striking out one with one walk.
On Sunday they fell 5-1 to give ULL the series. Though the Jags scored first in the top of the second inning, the Ragin’ Cajuns scored five unanswered runs over the next two innings to hand the Jaguars their second consecutive SBC series defeat.
Alex Breeden was the lone run for the Jaguars on Saturday with a one-out solo home run to put her team-leading number at seven on the season.
Campbell took the loss to fall to 13-4 on the season after allowing five runs, only one earned, on seven hits with only one strikeout and one walk. Holly McKinnon threw two innings of shutout relief with on strikeout and two walks and only allowing one hit.
South Alabama will have the week off until the Weekend series against Georgia State. They will play a double-header on Friday beginning at 4pm at Jaguar Field and will play the final game on Saturday beginning at noon ahead of Easter Sunday the next day.
Locke St. John and Ben Taylor combined for a four-hit shutout against Arkansas State on Friday to start the weekend off with a 5-0 win. But would drop the next two games to lose the series.