Five Jaguars Named To All-Sun Belt Team; Softball Program Earns Academic Award
The University of South Alabama’s Softball team had five student-athletes named to the All-Sun Belt Conference team on Tuesday at its Family Night gathering at Lamson Park in Lafayette, Louisiana prior to the beginning of the 2014 Sun Belt Conference Tournament that gets underway on Wednesday.
Four Jaguars were named to the First-Team with one being named to the Second-Team. All of the postseason awards are voted on by the conference’s eight head coaches.
Farish Beard, Hannah Campbell, Stephanie Pilkington and Chloe Rathburn were all named as First-Team honorees. Blair Johnson was named as a Second-Team honoree.
Beard was an at-large selection to the first team after compiling a 20-5 record on the regular season with a 1.04 ERA. She was also named one of the top-25 finalist for the 2014 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award earlier this season. During a three week stretch she led the nation in ERA and for two weeks she led the nation in hits allowed per seven innings. She was a three-time SBC Player of the Week this season and finished the year leading the Sun Belt in opposing batting average, hits allowed, runs allowed and raking second in ERA, strikeouts and walks allowed.
Campbell was named the first-team honoree at the pitcher position after a 16-5 season with a 0.94 ERA and also joining Beard as a top-25 finalist for the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award. She also became the first student-athlete in USA softball history to be drafted in the National Pro Fastpitch draft. She ranks fourth in the NCAA in ERA and walks allowed per seven innings and leads the Sun Belt in ERA, saves, walks allowed and home runs allowed.
Pilkington was named as a first-team outfielder after she finished the season as the team leader in batting average, hits, sacrifice hits and triples. She also ranked second on the team in RBI. She was named the SBC Player of the Week on March 31. She also led the team in multi-hit games and multi-RBI games.
Rathburn earned first-team honors at the designated player position after she led the team in RBI, slugging percentage, total bases and sacrifice flies. She also ranked second on the team in home runs. She is currently in the midst of a 16 game hitting streak. The freshman went 1-for-2 in her collegiate debut with three RBI and a home run.
Johnson earned Second-Team honors at outfielder after leading the team with a .354 batting average in Sun Belt play. She is second on the team in hits, sacrifice hits and sacrifice flies. As a junior she had 11 multi-hit games and six multi-RBI games while being honored as the SBC Player of the Week on February 24 after a stellar performance in the Citrus Classic in Orlando, Florida where she had a perfect 4-for-4 game with four RBI against Lehigh to set single-game records for both stats.
Additionally the Jaguars were the recipient of the 2014 Sun Belt Conference Team Academic Award after compiling a 3.36 GPA last season. The award is granted to the team for its overall achievement in the classroom during the previous academic year. The formula is: quality points = grade X credit hours/# of individuals.
The #2 seeded Jaguars will begin their attempt to win the SBC Tournament for the third consecutive season on Thursday. The tournament gets underway today with four games in a single-elimination format before becoming a double-elimination tournament on Thursday. In the final regular-season poll the Jaguars slipped to #22/23 in the two major polls.
All of the games throughout the tournament will be broadcast live on the Sun Belt Digital Network. Games eight and nine along with the championship at 3pm on Saturday will be broadcast on ESPN3.com and will be available through the WatchESPN app.