Photo Courtesy of Atlantic Sun Conference
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Atlantic Sun Softball Championship begins on Wednesday, May 7th in Nashville, Tennessee at Lipscomb’s Draper Diamond with No. 3 Stetson facing No. 6 FGCU in game one and No. 4 Mercer going up against No. 5 Kennesaw State in game two.
USC Upstate picked up its second-ever A-Sun Regular Season title with the first coming in 2008, but the first-ever No. 1 seed for the Spartans as they went 22-2 in league play. Lipscomb landed the No. 2 seed with an 18-8 conference record.
You can catch the A-Sun Softball Championship for free on ASun.TV with the Championship Final on Saturday broadcast live on ESPN3.
There is a total of seven A-Sun Championship Titles previously won among the six teams in this year’s championship with Stetson holding the most with four A-Sun Championship Crowns in program history.
A-Sun Softball Weekly Notes (#ASunSB):
- The Hatters won the first three A-Sun Softball Championships ever with three consecutive title from 1986-88.
- The last time a host school won the A-Sun Softball Championship was in 2007 when Stetson collected the title in DeLand, Florida.
- The league has combined for 131 victories over teams that are currently ranked in the top-125 in RPI.
- In non-conference action, the A-Sun has a winning percentage of .622 with 152 non-conference victories. The league has secured 26 wins vs. teams in the 2013 NCAA Tournament.
- The A-Sun has four teams ranked in the top-50 in RPI and six teams in the top-100. Only four conferences have more than six teams in the top-100 with the SEC (13), Big Ten (9), Pac-12 (9) and ACC (7).
- The average RPI of an at-large selection to the NCAA Tournament in the last three years is 22.95. Last year 10 at-large teams were chosen to participate in the NCAA tournament with an RPI in to 30-50 range, while in 2012 a total of 12 teams had an RPI greater than 30 that were selected as at-large teams.
- Upstate has the best RPI in the league at No. 28 followed by Lipscomb (33), Mercer (42) and Stetson (44).
- The Spartans’ Shellie Robinson captured A-Sun Player of the Year after leading the league in doubles (15), slugging percentage (.861), on-base percentage (.503) and total bases (136). Upstate has registered 139 extra base hits this season as a team this season.
- The A-Sun Player of the Year has only won the Atlantic Sun Championship Title five times in the last 15 years.
- There are nine student-athletes appearing in the A-Sun Championship that rank in the top-40 in the A-Sun record books in career home runs as junior Robinson leads the way with 46 career home runs to rank tied for sixth.
- Teammates Anna Miller and Lexi Shubert picked up All-Conference honors for the Spartans in the circle as Miller earned Pitcher of the Year and Shubert was named Freshman of the Year. The duo helped lead Upstate to a nation’s best team ERA of 1.18.
- Miller has recorded four no-hitters this year and is leading the country in strikeouts per game with an average of 12 strikeouts in the circle.
- The Spartans have the second-best winning percentage in the country at .898. Upstate comes into the A-Sun Championship with an eight-game winning streak.
- USC Upstate won its first-ever Atlantic Sun Championship crown last year when the Spartans defeated Lipscomb in the final. First baseman Cheyenne Griffin was named the A-Sun Championship MVP. In 2013 the Spartans were the No. 2 seed ; the first team in five year to win the title and not hold the top-seed.
- USC Upstate’s 44 wins this season is the tied for the seventh most wins in the A-Sun since 2005, while Lipscomb’s 39 win is tied for 17th.
- Lipscomb has made an appearance in the A-Sun Championship Final three of the last four years with its lone championship crown coming in 2010 when the Bisons defeated Upstate in the championship final.
- The Bisons have defeated eight teams this season that are currently ranked in the top-50 in RPI including No. 12 Baylor.
- LU’s Paige Neely and Kelsey Cartwright landed on the first team all-conference selection. Neely’s batting average of .377 is the fourth-best in Lipscomb’s history.
- Stetson’s Meredith Owen collected First Team All-Conference Honors as she has the third-best ERA in the country at .90.
- Owen is the second player in A-Sun history to have 50+ career wins and 25+ career home runs. The last player to achieve this was Florida Atlantic’s Nicole Myers with 54 home runs and 108 wins from 1999-02.
- The Hatter’s No. 3 seed is the highest seed for the squad since 2010 when they were the No. 2. Stetson was the No. 3 seed in 1988 when they won the championship title.
- This marks Mercer’s first appearance in the A-Sun Championship since 2011 when the Bears fell in game eight to Campbell.
- McKenzie Woody collected first team honors with another outstanding season for the Bears. Woody ranks in the top-10 in the A-Sun career record books in hits (274), runs (161), batting average (.394) and stolen bases (91).
- The Bears marked three players on the Atlantic Sun Freshmen Team with Caroline Taylor, Kirsten Steven and Taylor Miller earning honors.
- Kennesaw State’s Amanda Henderson has struck out 673 batters over her career with the Owls; the most of the active A-Sun players.
- The Owls’ Kara Chambers snagged Defensive Player of the Year Honors and Second Team All-Conference Accolades with 67 putouts and 107 assists this season for the Owls.
- KSU’s last win in an A-Sun Championship was in 2012 when the squad made it all the way to the championship final before falling to FGCU.
- FGCU grabbed the A-Sun Championship Title in 2012 as the Eagles’ pitcher Shelby Morgan was named the Championship MVP.
- The Eagles’ Kelsey Carpenter has the league’s best batting average at .433. Carpenter ranks 23rd in the country in batting average this season.
- FGCU’s Jessica Barnes has the most career triples of the active A-Sun players with 15, while teammate Chelsea Zgrabik leads in career RBI with 152 for the Eagles.