Feb. 26, 2009

By Amy Farnum Novin
NCAA.com

STORM BREWING:  No. 8 Southeastern Oklahoma, in the midst of a 16-game winning streak, has cruised through its competition this season behind outstanding performances at the plate and in the circle.

Junior outfielder Erika Bernal, the reigning Lone Star North Hitter of the Week, batted .485 with six home runs, 17 RBI and 15 runs scored as she helped the Savage Storm to a 10-0 record last week.  The native of Arlington, Texas, was voted Most Valuable Player of the South Central Shootout as she sparked Southeastern to a perfect 6-0 tournament record.  Bernal reached base safely in every game last week, and then continued her run with a combined 4-for-9 outing in a doubleheader sweep of Central Oklahoma to open LSC action on Feb. 24.

In the circle, senior Marjorie Johnson posted a 4-0 record last week with a 0.81 ERA and .025 opponent batting average.  The native of Tulsa, Okla., fanned 56 batters on the week, and recorded a shutout and two one-hit performances to earn LSC North Pitcher of the Week honors.  She also batted .379 with five homers and 13 RBI at the plate.  In Tuesday’s doubleheader against UCO, Johnson struck out 12 batters in five innings of an 8-3 victory for the Storm.

PIRATE POWER:  Armstrong Atlantic State senior shortstop Ashley Bain has had a power-packed last few days collecting six home runs at the Eckerd Invitational and against Lander University.

Bain set two new AASU records with three home runs and 11 RBI in a 10-1 over Eckerd on Feb. 20 as she became only the fourth player in Peach Belt Conference history to belt three homers in one game.  She followed it up with another pair of round-trippers and three RBI in a 9-8 loss to No. 16 St. Leo the following day.

The native of Cleveland, Tenn., was named PBC Player of the Week for her contributions, and then continued her offensive explosion, knocking out a two-run homer in an 11-0 win over Lander to cap off the Pirates’ home opening sweep, giving them a 2-0 start in league play.

Bain leads the Pirates with six home runs, 16 RBI and .850 slugging percentage.  She is fourth on the school’s all-time home run list with 27.

PITCHING IN:  Metro State made a good showing at the RMAC/NSIC Crossover last weekend as the Roadrunners tied Winona State for the best record at the tournament with a 5-1 mark.

Junior pitcher Christie Robinson played a key role in the Roadrunners’ success, posting a 4-0 record and 2.26 ERA in four appearances.  The transfer from UNLV who hails from Clinton, Wash., Robinson struck out 20 batters in 21.2 innings pitched, and tossed a 4-0 shutout against Mary (N.D.) to wrap up action on Feb. 22.  Robinson, the 2007 Mountain West Pitcher of the Year, was selected Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Week for her solid performance.

Metro State begins RMAC play with a four-game series against Mesa State beginning Feb. 28.

LAYING DOWN THE LAW:  No. 22 Alabama-Huntsville started the season with a trio of victories over three teams ranked in the top 15 nationally as the Chargers notched a 6-0 record at the Charger Softball Chillout last weekend.

Junior third baseman Beth Lawson was stellar at the plate, batting .562 with four home runs, 13 RBI and seven runs scored.  The native of Hazel Green, Ala., recorded multi-hit games in three contests, and belted two home runs, including the game-winning two-run shot in a 5-4 come-from-behind win over No. 4 Barry.  The Chargers also defeated No. 13 Lewis and No. 11 North Georgia College and State during the opening weekend.

Lawson was tabbed Gulf South Conference East Division Player of the Week for her powerful start to the season.