THURSDAY, MARCH 24, 2011
Softball begins A-Sun play on Friday
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The JU softball team will start its 20-game Atlantic Sun Conference schedule on Friday at 5 p.m. with a doubleheader against Mercer at the JU Softball Complex.

The Dolphins (18-12) will round out the weekend against Kennesaw State in a doubleheader on Saturday at 1 p.m. Both contests will be on live stats through JUDolphins.com, while the matchup against the Owls will also be shown on A-Sun.TV.

“Our team is ready to start the conference schedule,” said JU head coach Amanda Lehotak. “We just have to play our game and do the little things right. Overall, we trust in our process that has gotten us to this point.”

The Dolphins enter A-Sun play after splitting six games during Spring Break last week in Clearwater, Fla.

JU began the trip with a 3-1 win against No. 22 Texas A&M, which was the Dolphins’ first win against a ranked opponent since 2004. The Dolphins split a pair in games of the first two days in the USF The Game Tournament before falling in the final inning to Boston, 3-2, to close the week.

Junior Sarah Sigrest was tough to hit in the circle again after fanning 19 batters and posting a 1.83 ERA in 23 innings of work to earn A-Sun “Pitcher of the Week” honors - her second this season.

Offensively, sophomore Sarah Simon drove in six runs to pace the Dolphins, including adding a home run against Dartmouth to tie for the JU all-time mark with Lauren Redfern (10, 2004-05).

Senior Katie Kelly drove in three runs against the Big Green to pass Janine Palumbo for the career RBI record (88), while also securing a double in the next game against Winthrop, to tie her for the doubles all-time mark (35).

The Bears (16-10, 0-2 A-Sun) enter the week after falling to Campbell in their first set of conference games on March 19.

Sara Stukes is leading the offense with a .411 average to go along with a team-best 29 RBI and five home runs. In the circle, Kari Chambers has 79 strikeouts and a staff-best 1.62 ERA in 73.1 innings, while Jenni Holtz leads the Bears with an 8-5 record.

Last season, the Dolphins split the doubleheader in Macon, Ga., but trails Mercer, 12-5, in the overall series.

The Owls (14-10) will face UNF on Friday before traveling across the city to play at the JU Softball Complex. Kennesaw State used a 7-3 victory in game two at Troy on Tuesday to bounce back from an extra innings loss in the first game.

The Owls offense is led by Sharon Swanson who is hitting .359 with six home runs and 28 RBI. Jessica Cross has a 7-3 record in the circle with a 2.13 ERA in 62.1 innings of work.

JU used a pair of 2-0 victories to sweep Kennesaw State on the road last season to close the all-time series against the Owls to 6-4.