Four Bucs earn All-Conference accolades at Big South Softball banquet

Four Bucs earn All-Conference accolades at Big South Softball banquet

ROCK HILL, S.C. - Led by junior utility player Marci Christian's All-Big South Conference First Team selection, the Charleston Southern Buccaneers softball team had four players recognized among the Big South Softball Annual Awards, as announced at the banquet on Wednesday evening.

Christian led the Buccaneers offense in 2013 and has had a season for the ages in the Charleston Southern softball program during her first season wearing the CSU Blue and Gold. Her current numbers stack up very well against a multitude of Charleston Southern single season records as her powerful bat looks to continue to rewrite the record book after shattering the CSU single season home run record, set by Jana Matthews back in 2010.

Christian has 15 round-trippers on the season, breaking Matthews' record of 12 home runs set back in 2010. Her 15 home runs also puts her in a three-way tie with Erin Kegley (2008-11) and teammate Stephanie Sbardella for fifth all-time in the career record books.

Among the other records she is chasing in the 2013 season include batting average, where she is currently tied for fifth on the year with Jill Shondel (2008) in hitting .360 on the season. She also boasts the top slugging percentage in a single season for the Bucs, at .713 and is one base away from tying Megan Lombard's record of 108 total bases set back in 2010.

For the season, she leads the Bucs offense with 54 hits, eight doubles, 35 runs scored and 32 RBI, while lining up all over the field for head coach Shane Winkler.

Joining her in being recognized on the All-Conference team includes 2013 Second Team selections Stephanie Sbardella and Jana Matthews.

Sbardella was selected as the Second Team Third Baseman, joining Christian as one of four CSU players to have started all 51 games this season in the CSU Blue and Gold.

She is second on the team hitting .321 from the plate on the season and is tied for the team lead with 35 runs scored and is second on the team with 42 hits, contributing seven doubles and eight home runs to the Bucs' efforts on the season, while driving in 27 RBI. She also possesses the top on-base percentage for CSU on the season, getting on base at a .459 clip which would be second in the CSU single season record books if the season ended today. Her on-base numbers have been aided by 25 walks and a team-high 11 hit by pitches as Sbardella rode a career-high 18 game on-base streak early in the season, running from February 16 to March 16.

Matthews earns her fourth consecutive Big South postseason team accolades dating back to her freshman season as the senior from Boonville, N.C. was named to the Second Team as one of the outfielders.

Matthews has been arguably the hottest hitter on the team over the past six weeks, boosting her batting average from .203 to .279, while connecting on seven of her nine home runs for the season. The CSU career home run and RBI leader with 34 home runs and 136 runs batted in, Matthews dots the career record books in multiple categories, sitting among the top five in at-bats, hits, doubles, runs scored, slugging percentage, total bases and games played.

She looks to continue building on those marks in the Big South Conference tournament after another strong season, sitting third on the team with 39 hits and 27 runs scored, while added seven doubles, one triple and nine home runs, as well as 29 RBI, sitting with a .536 slugging percentage and a .370 on-base percentage.

Jennifer Giles also earned All-Big South postseason honors on the academic side, as the sophomore right-hander from Jupiter, Fla. was named to the Big South All-Academic Team.

Giles possesses a career GPA of 3.90 and is majoring in Kinesiology, while minoring in Biology. She is a three-time member of the Dean's List and has been named a CSU Scholar Athlete three times. She was also a member of the Big South Presidential Honor Roll in 2011-2012.

Giles stepped up as the CSU ace on the mound this season and leads the Big South Conference in appearances, starts, innings pitched and complete games, while sitting among the leaders in strikeouts. She currently is tied for second in the CSU single season record book with 46 appearances, matching Morgan Dowdy's mark set in 2011, and adds 122 strikeouts (4th), 37 starts (3rd) and 225.2 innings pitched (tied 4th) to her marks this season.

Longwood senior Brooke Short and Campbell head coach Drew Peterson were voted Big South Softball Player of the Year and Coach of the Year, respectively, by the League's head coaches. In addition, Coastal Carolina sophomore Kiana Quolas was voted Big South Pitcher of the Year, while Campbell catcher Courtney Klingler earned Freshman of the Year honors. Gardner-Webb's Samantha Burns was voted Scholar-Athlete of the Year by the Big South's sports information directors.

The Conference also announced the 2013 All-Conference, All-Academic and All-Freshman teams Wednesday evening, which are listed below. The First and Second All-Conference and All-Freshman teams are voted by the head coaches, while the All-Academic Team consists of one student-athlete from each institution that meets the criteria and is nominated and selected by the League's sports information directors.

2013 Big South Conference Softball Award Winners
First Team All-Conference
Kori Nishitomi, OF, Longwood
Katie Zavodny, OF, Liberty
Stephanie Jones, OF, Campbell
Raven Lee, 1B, Campbell
Samantha Meenaghan, 2B, Gardner-Webb
Ericka Nesbitt, SS, Campbell
Kory Hayden, 3B, Coastal Carolina
Megan Baltzell, C, Longwood
Kiana Quolas, P, Coastal Carolina
Rachael Walters P, Radford
Brooke Short, DP, Longwood
Marci Christian, UTL, Charleston Southern

Second Team All-Conference
McKenzi Corn, OF, Winthrop
Jana Matthews, OF, Charleston Southern
Morgan Eye, OF, Radford
Morgan Baker, 1B, Gardner-Webb
Carly Adams, 2B, Longwood
Emily Murphy, SS, Longwood
Stephanie Sbardella, 3B, Charleston Southern
Courtney Klingler, C, Campbell
Courtney Roberts, P, Campbell
Ashley Bagwell, P, Coastal Carolina
Chelsey Schoenfeldt, DP, Winthrop
Cat Tarvin, UTL, Presbyterian College

All-Freshman Team
Courtney Klingler, C, Campbell
Courtney Roberts, P, Campbell
Emily Murphy, SS, Longwood
Rachael Walters, P, Radford
Briana Chiusano, OF, Coastal Carolina
Carly Adams, 2B, Longwood
Emily Naegele, C, Radford
Erin Ruff, DP/UTL, Presbyterian
Morgan Noad, C, Coastal Carolina
Becky Mantel, CF, Radford
Kassidy McCoy, 3B, Liberty
Casey Burns, 1B, Radford

All-Academic Team
Brittany Arnn, P, Campbell
Jennifer Giles, P, Charleston Southern
Kiana Quolas, P/OF, Coastal Carolina
Savannah Burns, SS, Gardner-Webb
Megan Robinson, 2B, Liberty
Amy Putnam, OF, Longwood
Morgan Durham, 2B, Presbyterian College
Ryndee Ruch, OF, Radford
Chelsey Schoenfeldt, P/DP, Winthrop

Player of the Year - Brooke Short, Longwood
Pitcher of the Year - Kiana Quolas, Coastal Carolina *
Freshman of the Year - Courtney Klingler, Campbell
Coach of the Year - Drew Peterson, Campbell
Scholar-Athlete of the Year - Savannah Burns, Gardner-Webb

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