May 18, 2011
NCAA Tournament Notes | 2011 NCAA Softball Championship Bracket | Tournament Central
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- The UAB softball team has earned its second-straight NCAA Championship bid and will travel to the Athens Regional hosted by the University of Georgia to face Florida State in the opening round of the 2011 NCAA Softball Championship. The Blazers and Seminoles will square off on Friday at 2:30 p.m. ET/1:30 p.m. CT at Jack Turner Softball Stadium in Athens, Ga.
UAB At A Glance
UAB (38-17) has claimed 25 of its last 35 contests and has won seven of its last 11 games. The Blazers are coming off a 2-1 loss to UCF last Thursday at the C-USA tournament.
The UAB pitching staff ranks third in C-USA and 10th nationally with a 1.55 team ERA. UAB has recorded 18 shutouts and held opponents to a .207 batting average. Leigh Streetman (15-7) has the league's fourth-best ERA at 1.18, which ranks 12th nationally. She has allowed 29 earned runs through 172.2 innings pitched while fanning 188.
The Green and Gold are currently hitting .252 as a team. Centerfielder Caley Walden leads the team in batting average (.330), hits (60) and runs (31), while shortstop Kayla Orr has registered a team-best 30 RBI.
Scouting Florida State
Florida State (30-26) received its 24th NCAA bid after winning the ACC tournament last Sunday. The Seminoles defeated North Carolina, 4-1, to claim the title.
The Seminoles are hitting .292 as a team, led by Jen Lapicki's .353 average. Lapicki also has driven in a team-best 33 runs and has seven home runs this season, two shy of team-leader Ashley Stager with nine. Tiffani Brown poses the main threat on the basepaths with 46 runs scored and 24 stolen bases.
In the circle, Sarah Hamilton has carried the load for the Seminoles with a 19-17 record and 2.07 ERA. Hamilton has six shutouts this season and has allowed 65 earned runs in 219.1 innings.
Florida State holds a 3-0 series advantage over the Blazers. In the last meeting, FSU earned a 4-1 win in Tallahassee in 2008. The only other time the two teams played was in a doubleheader in 2002 when the Seminoles captured 9-0 and 5-3 wins.
Georgia (47-12) enters the regional as the No. 6 national seed, earning its 10th consecutive and 10th overall NCAA bid. The Bulldogs are coming off a 6-5 eight-inning loss to the Tennessee Lady Vols in SEC tournament title game last Saturday.
Georgia is hitting .321 as a team, led by Megan Wiggins with a .374 average. Brianna Hesson is the team's leading RBI-getter with 57, while Alisa Goler is on her heels with 54. Goler tops the team with 16 home runs this season, one more than Hesson's 15.
Alison Owen and Morgan Montemayor have seen the bulk of the action in the circle for the Bulldogs. Owens is 15-5 with a 1.89 ERA, while Montemajor is 23-3 with a 2.04 ERA.
Georgia is 6-1 against the Blazers all-time, including a 3-1 record in Athens. The two teams met four times in 2001, with UAB earning its only win against the Bulldogs in a 5-1 contest, while Georgia earned 1-0, 4-2 and 2-0 victories. The Blazers and Bulldogs also met three times in 2000 in Columbus, Ga., with Georgia claiming all three games.
Scouting Georgia State
The Georgia State Panthers (36-23) earned their second NCAA nod after capturing the CAA tournament title last weekend.
The Panthers are hitting .250 as a team, led by Paige Nowacki's .308 average. Lauren Jones tops the team in RBI (39), runs (32) and home runs (13).
A trio of pitchers have split the majority of time in the circle, led by McCall Langford. Langford is 15-10 with a 1.62 ERA, while Kaitlyn Medlam is 10-2 with a 1.59 ERA. Alana Thomas holds a 9-9 record with a 2.02 ERA.
UAB is 9-5 against Georgia State, including a 3-0 win on March 4 this year in Woodstock, Ga. The Blazers have won the last two meetings between the two teams and are 4-1 against the Panthers when playing at a neutral site.
UAB earned its 30th win of the season with a 7-0 victory over Jacksonville State on April 15. It marks the second-straight season UAB has reached the 30-win plateau and fifth time in program history. The 38 wins mark the second-most in school history, one shy of the record 39 set in 2002.
Centerfielder Caley Walden was named to the All-Conference USA First Team and catcher Mandy Lowman earned second-team honors. Pitcher Leigh Streetman rounded out the Blazer honorees, earning all-freshman team accolades. Walden and Lowman each earned their second career accolades. Walden was named to the all-freshmn team in 2008 while Lowman received first-team honors last year.
C-USA All-Academic Team
Leftfielder Catherine Douglass, catcher Mandy Lowman and rightfielder Sallie Van Kirk were each named to the 2011 Conference USA Softball All-Academic Team. The trio represents the most selections in program history and the most among any C-USA team this year.
Lowman earns the all-academic honor for the second straight year and joins current assistant coach Holly Krzan as the only Blazers to receive the honor multiple times.
NCAA Tournament Appearances
The UAB softball team received the program's first NCAA Championship bid in 2010. The Blazers competed at the Tuscaloosa Regional, falling to Lipscomb, 4-1, to open the weekend, before downing Alcorn State, 10-1. The Blazers were edged by Lipscomb, 7-6, in an extra-inning heartbreaker to wrap up their season.
C-USA In The NCAA Regionals
Conference USA teams earned five bids to the NCAA tournament this year. East Carolina earned the automatic bid after winning the tourament last week, while Houston, Tulsa, Memphis and UAB also received at-large bids. In 2004, C-USA sent Houston and Southern Miss to the event, along with former members DePaul, Louisville and USF, marking the only other time in conference history five teams were selected to the NCAA Championship.