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Tigers Open Season at South Carolina
Friday, February 10, 2012

Nashville, Tenn.-The Tennessee State softball team kicks off the 2012 season with a trip to Columbia, S.C. to play in the Palmetto Classic. The Tigers open play with host South Carolina on Friday at 3 p.m. ET.

TSU will square off against Cleveland State on Saturday and conclude tournament play with two games on Sunday. The Tigers will face Western Kentucky at 10 a.m. and take on Winthrop at 3 p.m.

The Tigers and second-year head coach Jeff Dabney look to improve on a 2011 campaign, where they finished 11-43. TSU returns seven players and will introduce seven newcomers to the field.

Junior Tedra Alford finished last season as the top hitter for the Big Blue, hitting .319 and scoring a team high 23 runs. Alford added eight doubles, four home runs and 14 RBI. Senior Kelly Troglin was third in batting average last season at .274 and is the leading returning pitcher in innings pitch with 110.


South Carolina
2011 Record: 26-30
Conference: SEC
2011 Finish: 6-22
Series Record: 0-0
Last Time Played: First Meeting
Last Win: N/A

South Carolina returns seven position starters from last year. Audrey Broyles leads the way in the circle after finishing last season 6-10 with a 3.03 ERA in 22 starts.

At the plate, the Gamecocks bring back their top five hitters from 2011. Lauren Lackey hit .350 with 15 stolen bases and 26 runs. Samie Garcia was second with a .332 average, stole 15 bases and crossed home plate a team-high 31 times.

Cleveland State
2011 Record: 29-21
Conference: Horizon
2011 Finish: 13-8
Series Record: 0-0
Last Time Played: First Meeting
Last Win: N/A

Dara Toman led Cleveland State with ten home runs and 27 RBI. Andrea Nagy is the top returning base stealer with ten, while hitting .250 in 152 at bats.

Megan Bashak posted a 2.59 ERA in just 27 innings last season, striking out 17 while walking eight. The Vikings will look to three newcomers to help in the circle.

Western Kentucky
2011 Record: 30-29
Conference: Sun Belt
2011 Finish: 9-15
Series Record: 2-21
Last Time Played: 2011, Lost 4-13
Last Win: 2006, 2-0

WKU returns nine starters, including Karavin Dew who had a .341 batting average and five triples. Kelsie Mattox (.331) and Amanda Thomas (.318) both hit eight home runs last season and 36 and 35 RBI, respectively. Katrina Metoyer is the leading base stealer with 14 swipes, while hitting .335.

The Hilltoppers return their one-two punch from 2011. Ace Mallorie Sulaski recorded a 2.52 ERA and finished 13-12. Sulaski struck out 80 but walked 78 in 172.1 innings of work. Kim Wagner was 11-11 with a 4.09 ERA and fanned 88 batters in 130 innings pitched. Western Kentucky will also feature junior college transfer Emily Rousseau.

2011 Record: 16-36
Conference: Big South
2011 Finish: 5-13
Series Record: 0-2
Last Time Played: 2003, Lost 0-8
Last Win: N/A

Winthrop is led by two-way star Chelsey Schoenfeldt. In the circle, Schoenfeldt registered a 9-17 record and a 3.43 ERA in 161.1 innings. At the plate, she led the Eagles in several categories, including batting average (.358), doubles (12) doubles, home runs (7) and RBI (28) RBI. Megan Chapman led Winthrop with 32 runs scored and was the only player with double-digit steals (15), while hitting .318.

Natalie Becker led the pitching staff in strikeouts with 107 in 100 innings. Becker was 4-11 with a 3.64 ERA.