ANDERSON, S.C. – The Anderson University softball team, winners of a league-best nine consecutive games, closes its home schedule by welcoming South Atlantic Conference-newcomer Queens to Smethers Field for Senior Day on Saturday. First-pitch versus the Royals is scheduled for 2 p.m.
Between games of the doubleheader, the Trojans will recognize five seniors - Abby Child, Carly Hudson, Laura Jansky, Charlotte Sieber and Danielle Swygert – a senior class that has combined for nearly 800 games played over the past four seasons and earning 133 victories, forming the winningest class in school history.
Last year, this senior class wrapped up the 2013 campaign with a stellar 40-15 record and made its’ first-ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament after earning a berth in the Southeast Super Regional. The Trojans finished the year ranked No. 12 nationally in the final National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) poll after catching fire at the Hickory (N.C.) Regional and sweeping the competition en route to a matchup with third-ranked Armstrong Atlantic State University in the Savannah Super Regional.
Child has started every game of her career (191) and owns the school record for career home runs (43), RBI (183), on-base percentage (.479) and walks (126) and is currently second in school history with a .648 slugging percentage. Swygert holds the school record with 55 doubles and a career .667 slugging percentage and is second in career hits with 230, just one behind junior Jessica Neidigh. The hard-hitting first baseman is second in the AU record books with 180 career RBI. Jansky is tied for third all-time in AU’s record books with 68 career walks, is fourth with 119 RBI and is sixth with 21 home runs. Sieber ranks 14th all-time with her .358 career on-base percentage and 17th (.405) in slugging percentage. Hudson has seen action in 34 games since transferring from USC Aiken prior to last season.
On the strength of its nine-game win streak, Anderson (33-9, 11-5 SAC) continues to move up the league standings and is currently tied for second, alongside Lenoir-Rhyne, as the two squads are one game behind league-leading Wingate.
The Trojans have won 12 of their last 14 games and enter their final home doubleheader of the season with a 17-5 home mark. AU continues to lead the South Atlantic Conference in runs scored, home runs, RBI, total bases, on-base percentage and slugging percentage, while ranking second in total hits, walks, and batting average.
Four of the Trojan hitters rank among the league’s top 11 hitters, with sophomore Molly Child reaching safely in 25 of the last 28 games and leading the conference with a .748 slugging percentage and is tied with 49 runs scored. The center fielder also tops the SAC with 12 home runs and ranks second in the conference with her 44 runs scored and third with a .424 batting average. Swygert, who has reached base safely in 13 of the last 14 contests, has boosted her batting average by 16 percentage points in the last three weeks, and is seventh in the league with her .392 batting average and .469 on-base percentage. She is second with 12 doubles and fifth with 40 RBI.
Junior Jessica Neidigh ranks eighth in the league and is second on the team with a .389 batting average. The Trojans’ leadoff batter is tied with Molly Child with a league-leading 49 runs scored and paces the league with 20 stolen bases on the season. Abby Child is hitting .380 on the season, which ranks 11th in the conference and trails sister, Molly, for the league lead in home runs by one. Abby leads the league with 28 walks and ranks second in RBI (48), third in runs scored (45) and slugging percentage (.713), fifth in total bases (92) and on-base percentage (.491).
Junior outfielder Rebecca Martin continues to boast a career-best .355 batting average and has blasted a career-high seven home runs on the season, which ties her for ninth in the SAC. The Anderson, S.C. native ranks fifth on the team with a .634 slugging percentage. Freshman outfielder Courtney Czentnar is hitting .339 on the season and is third on the squad and eighth in the SAC with her .678 slugging percentage. The right fielder is riding a three-game hitting streak and has driven in six runs in the last two contests. Czentnar ripped a pair of home runs at Carson-Newman and earlier belted three homers in a doubleheader against Newberry.
In the circle, junior Katelynn Howser (13-4) has reeled off five consecutive wins and has not lost since suffering a 1-0 setback at Wingate on March 30. She has tossed six complete games and ranks sixth in the league with her 1.79 ERA. Freshman hurler Lauren Rudesheim (14-4) has won five consecutive decisions and is tied for sixth in the conference with her 14 victories. Freshman Augie Pena (6-1) has earned wins in her last four decisions and has struck out 66 batters. The right-hander has walked just 16 in 48 1/3 innings of work. Her 9.36 strikeouts per contest rank second in the league.
Queens (19-19, 5-9 SAC) was a preseason pick to finish ninth in the coaches’ preseason poll in the Royals’ inaugural season in the SAC, after finishing its final season in the Conference Carolinas with an overall 23-21 record and a 13-7 mark in conference play.
Sophomore Taylor Rosenbalm leads the Royals’ offense, ranking fourth in the SAC with a .420 batting average and is ninth in the SAC with her .464 on-base percentage.
The Royals, who are currently 10th in the league standings, are riding a four-game win streak after snapping a three-game skid with a 7-0 and 5-4 sweep of Conference Carolinas’-foe Belmont Abbey on Tuesday and defeating Newberry twice on Thursday.
The Series vs. Queens
The Trojans and Royals have met 26 times on the diamond, with Queens holding a 16-10 advantage in the overall series. Saturday’s matchups mark the first meetings with both teams as members of the South Atlantic Conference, as all previous meetings were as members of the CVAC or Conference Carolinas.
The overall series dates back to the 1999 campaign, with Queens reeling off seven straight wins during the mid-2000s. The Trojans won three of the last four meetings – in 2009-10 – before the overall series took a three-year hiatus after Anderson joined the SAC for the 2011 campaign.