STATESBORO, Ga. - The College of Charleston softball team is set to compete in the Southern Conference Championships presented by Carolina Ford Dealers in Statesboro, Ga., on the campus of Georgia Southern.
The tournament is a double-elimination tournament with the winner receiving the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Softball Tournament.
The Cougars sealed the No. 4 seed in the tournament and will take on No. 5 Elon in the opening round on Wednesday, May 11 at noon.
CofC (33-19, 12-11 SoCon) enters the tournament as victors of 8 of their last 10 SoCon contests. The Cougars swept series against regular-season champion Chattanooga and Western Carolina before taking one of three against Samford. After dropping the Saturday doubleheader, the Cougars bounced back to win the Sunday contest and solidify their .500-plus SoCon record and No. 4 seed in the tournament.
The Cougars will seek success in the tournament behind the league's best pitching staff anchored by 2011 SoCon Pitcher of the Year Alexa Datko (San Diego, Calif.). Datko garnered the yearly honor after she tallied a league-high 16 wins on the season including seven wins in conference play. The senior right hander maintained an impressive 1.95 ERA on the season and posted a 1.83 ERA against SoCon foes. She tossed 157.2 innings on the season and struck out 134, two more than the 132 hits she allowed on the year in holding her opponents to a .224 batting average. She dealt seven complete game shutouts as well.
Offensively, the Cougars are led by junior Katie Forbes (Odessa, Fla.) with her .340 batting average and 28 RBIs, both of which are team highs.
CofC placed a league-high three freshmen on the SoCon all-freshman team in infielders Lizzy Vaughn (Placerville, Calif.) and Kelsey Hodgson (Woodstock, Ga.) and left fielder Carly Corthell (Reno, Nev.), who was also named to the league's second team.
Corthell hit .333 on the year and led the team in hits and runs with 58 and 33, respectively. Vaughn batted .269 on the year with 23 RBIs. She slugged at .423 with eight doubles, a league-high five triples and two home runs. Hodgson was CofC's biggest extra-base-hit threat with her .583 slugging percentage and 11 doubles, two triples and a team-high seven home runs.
Elon (29-22, 12-12 SoCon) finished its regular season campaign riding a five-game winning streak marked by a three-game sweep of UNC Greensboro. The Phoenix outscored the Spartans 23-0 in the series. The Phoenix have six hitters hitting over .300 on the year. Erin O'Shea has done the bulk of the pitching for Elon and holds a 3.15 ERA and 11-11 overall record.
In the teams' regular season series, the Phoenix snatched two out of three from the Cougars at Patriots Point on March 12-13. The teams split the Saturday doubleheader before Elon took the series conclusion, 5-2, on Sunday. Forbes hit .375 (3-for-8) on the series with the team's lone RBI.
The second round will take place on Thursday, May 12 with the Cougars facing either No. 1 Chattanooga or the winner of the play-in game, depending on CofC's results on Wednesday.