FRIDAY, APRIL 24, 2009
Softball clinches spot in Atlantic Sun Tournament
The JU softball team’s season will be extended as the Dolphins have clinched a spot in the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament in DeLand, Fla., starting May 7.
The Dolphins (23-29, 7-13 A-Sun) officially earned their first conference tournament berth since 2005 following Lipscomb’s sweep over Stetson on Thursday.
JU currently sits in position for the No. 4 seed with one weekend left in the regular season. Stetson, Belmont and East Tennessee State will battle from the final two seeds of the double elimination tournament this weekend. The winner of the A-Sun Tournament will earn an automatic bid into the NCAA Regionals.
“This is a great moment for our program,” said JU head coach Amanda Lehotak. “With all of injures this year, our players stepped up and did what they had to do to make the tournament. Now, we can start preparing for the tournament and be ready to make some noise.”
The Dolphins make the tournament following a 7-13 record in conference play. After going 0-6 to start the A-Sun schedule, the Dolphins bounced back to win three out of four games on the trip to Nashville to face Belmont and Lipscomb.
JU split doubleheaders against Mercer (4/10) and Kennesaw State (4/11), but put themselves back into a hole after getting swept by USC Upstate on April 17. The Dolphins regrouped the next day to sweep East Tennessee State on the road to close out the A-Sun schedule.
Offensively, junior Ashley Mora was a key to the Dolphins success in A-Sun play with a team-high 12 RBI and on 15 hits. She had a career-best four hits and two RBI in the game one win at Belmont before recording a run-scoring hit in 2-0 victory vs. Lipscomb on March 30. Mora wrapped A-Sun play in style with a key three-run homer in the 6-2 game two win at East Tennessee State on April 18.
Junior Ashley Iveson has also been impressive as of late, posting 55 strikeouts during conference play to rank in the top five of the A-Sun standings.
After spending this week taking finals, the Dolphins return to the diamond on Wednesday, April 29 against Bethune-Cookman for a single game in Daytona Beach, Fla. First pitch is set for 4 p.m.