WEDNESDAY, MAY 11, 2011
Softball plays Mercer to start A-Sun Tournament on Thursday
A chance at a NCAA postseason berth begins Thursday for the No. 1 seed JU softball team as the Dolphins play No. 5 seed Mercer in the A-Sun Tournament at 12:30 p.m. in Spartanburg, S.C.

The Dolphins (40-14, 18-2 A-Sun) won their final 10 A-Sun games to lock up the regular season crown and the top seed for the double-elimination tournament. The Bears (31-22, 10-10) edged Campbell, 2-1, on the first day of the tournament to advance to play JU.

“We are excited to play,” said JU head coach Amanda Lehotak. “This is a fun time of the year because everyone has a clean slate and it is anybody’s title to win. Mercer is a good, scrappy team so we will have to been very sharp to get a victory. I am ready to see what our team can do against them.”

The Dolphins finished the season winning 24 of their final 26 contests en route to securing their first A-Sun title in school history.

Last week, the Dolphins recorded sweeps over UNF and Stetson to close out the regular season schedule.

Junior Sarah Sigrest recorded three of the four JU wins in the circle en route to A-Sun “Pitcher of the Week” honors, while senior Katie Kelly hit a walk-off homer against Stetson in final at-bat at the JU Softball Complex to secure that sweep.

Sigrest finished the regular season with a 23-5 record and 185 strikeouts in 194.1 innings of work. She also currently has the fifth-best ERA nationally (1.01) en route to earning A-Sun “Pitcher of the Year” and first team all-conference honors.

Offensively, sophomore Sarah Simon closed the year with team-highs in average (.376), triples (3), home runs (9), walks (41) and on-base percentage (.515) to receive first team all-conference accolades. Sophomore Olivia Kline (second in average) and junior Amanda Schmidt (first in doubles & RBI) also garnered first team all-conference honors.

The Dolphins met the Bears for the A-Sun opener on March 25 at the JU Softball Complex. JU secured a 7-0 win in game one, while a bloop game-winning single by freshman Miranda Fleming in game two gave the Dolphins a 2-1 victory in nine innings.

Sigrest earned both wins in the circle after striking out seven on one hit in seven innings for the game one victory and added four scoreless relief frames on one hit in the night cap.

Despite the sweep, the Bears own a 12-7 lead over the Dolphins in the all-time series, including a 2-0 win in the 2009 A-Sun Tournament opener. Mercer won six of its final eight games entering this year’s tournament.

Fans can follow the action of the tournament through video streaming on A-Sun.TV and live stats by logging onto JUDolphins.com.