Nashville --- The Tennessee State University softball team will make their third tournament appearance of the season at the 2011 Phyllis Rafter Memorial Tournament. The tournament will begin Friday February 25 and continue through Sunday February 27 at the Twin Creeks Softball Complex in Woodstock, Ga.
The Tigers will take on Georgia State, Mercer, Ball State, Purdue, and Kennesaw State in the tournament. On Friday the 25th the Tigers will face Georgia State at 1:00p.m. before meeting Mercer at 6:00p.m
Georgia State (5-6) will be rebounding from a 4-2 loss to Auburn. In addition to the loss, Georgia State's long-time head coach Bob Heck has recently stepped down after earning his 700th career win. Assistant Roger Kincaid, in his third year of coaching with the Panthers has taken over as head coach on an interim basis. Pitcher Katilyn Medlam (3-0) is off to an impressive start for the Bears and has yet to give up a run, registering a 0.00 ERA in 14.2 innings pitched on the season.
Mercer (8-4) enters the tournament riding a five-game winning streak with a recent sweep of Savannah State in their double header on Tuesday winning both games by the run rule. Mercer has been led by senior pitcher Jenni Holtz who has a team-low 1.66 ERA. At the plate Sara Stukes leads the Bears with a .438 batting average along with a team-high 13 RBI.
On Saturday February 26, the Tigers will face Ball State in their morning game at 10:30a.m. followed by Purdue at 6:00p.m.
Ball State (2-2), saw their first action of the year at the Austin Peay Spring Invitational, closing the event with a split. The Cardinals defeated Belmont and Austin Peay, while dropping games to Cleveland State and UMKC. On the short season Alicia Barkley leads the Cardinals at the plate, batting .429, while Audrey Workman (1-0) leads the team at the mound with a 1.35 ERA.
Purdue (5-3) has recently went 3-4 at the CenturyLink Classic in a field that included Purdue, Texas State and Iowa State. Purdue defeated Texas State twice and split games with Iowa State. The Boilermakers are batting .330 as a team, led by Molly Garst who is batting .458 on the season, and Andie Varsho who follows close behind batting .455. The Boilermakers' offense is evenly distributed as they will come into the contest with seven starters batting at least .300 and have four home runs as a team, by four different players. On the hill, senior Suzie Rzegocki (4-2) leads Purdue with a 1.77 ERA, recording 27 strikeouts along with three shutouts in 31.2 innings this season.
On Sunday February 27, the Tigers will conclude the tournament against Kennesaw State at 1:00p.m.
Kennesaw State (7-3) is coming off of a big 4-1 win against No. 22 ranked Georgia Tech. Sharon Swanson, the Owl's leading run producer, registered a third inning grand slam gave the Owl's the edge over Georgia Tech. Swanson also has 23 RBI on the season. As a team Kennesaw State is batting .279 with 47 RBI.
Tennessee State (5-6) comes into the tournament, rebounding from a split in a doubleheader against Belmont (W,8-0) (L,13-4). In both games, the Tigers were able to tally 19 hits and a .339 batting average.
The Tigers will be leaning on the bats of offensive leaders Caitlin Eaton and Brittany Webb. Eaton, has scored a team-high 11 runs on the season while batting .448. In addition, Webb continues to bring runners in, leading the team with 11 RBI. Eaton also leads the pitchers with three wins and a 3.62 era.