April 29, 2009

By Amy Farnum Novin

LOVE STRUCK:  Florida Southern claimed its 24th Sunshine State Conference title behind the hot-hitting of Sara Lovestrand as the Moccasins got the win they needed to seal up an automatic bid to the NCAA Division II Tournament for the 19th time in program history.

The senior from Crawfordville, Fla., batted .500 in the three game series with two RBI and three stolen bases, but it was her 3-for-3 outing in a 6-0 win over Tampa on April 26 that earned Lovestrand SSC Player of the Week honors for the third time this season.

After the Mocs lost the first two contests of the series, Lovestrand led off the finale with a triple and scored, and then crossed the plate again following a single in the third inning, and capped it off with a two-run double the next inning.  The three hits improved her season total to 88, surpassing the previous mark of 85 that had stood since 1996.  Lovestrand also paces the SSC with 69 runs, and needs just four to tie the program record.  She has set school records for home runs (10) and total bases (153), and tops the team with a .456 batting average.

The Mocs await the NCAA bracket announcement on May 3 for the pairings of the NCAA Division II South Region Tournament.

EAGLES SOAR: Carson-Newman junior pitcher Stephanie Templeton fired a four-hit shutout to spark the Lady Eagles to a 2-0 victory over Wingate as they captured their second straight South Atlantic Tournament Championship on April 26.

The native of Ringgold, Ga., posted a 3-0 record in tournament play, including a pair of shutouts, as she surrendered just five runs in 24.1 innings pitched on the weekend.  Templeton also helped her own cause, batting .429 with a home run and four RBI, and was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.

The Lady Eagles secured an NCAA Tournament berth with their ninth SAC Tournament title.  They have won eight straight tournament games.

POWER-PACKED:  Metro State junior designated player/catcher Tara Mickelson blasted four home runs in a series win over Chadron State as the Roadrunners wrapped up the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference regular season title.

The native of Wheat Ridge, Colo., batted .600 with 12 RBI and 11 runs scored as she increased her single-season school-record home run total to 22.  Mickelson belted two homers in a loss on April 25, and followed it up with a game-tying solo round-tripper in the third game of the series on Sunday.  She capped off the weekend with a three-run jack in the championship-clinching win in the series finale.

Mickelson garnered Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division II National Player of the Week and RMAC Player of the Week for her offensive prowess.  She batted .615 for the week, raising her season average to .436.

NOTABLE:  Northwood’s Michelle Boscola was named Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Player of the Week after becoming the school’s career leader in home runs (18) with three last week, while driving in eight of the Timberwolves’ 10 runs … No. 16 Le Moyne claimed its third consecutive Northeast-10 Conference regular season title after winning its last five league games … Missouri S&T clinched the eighth and final playoff berth in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association as Jen O’Hara went 4-1 with a save in five starts and seven appearances for the Lady Miners last week.  She gave up just one unearned run in 38.1 innings pitched on the week, and became the school’s all-time leader in wins during the stretch.  She was named Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division II National Pitcher of the Week for her performances.  The Miners have won seven of their last 10 games.