A-Sun Softball Boasts Fourth Best Non-Conference Record
Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Lady Bucs one of four schools to post .700 or better win percentage


MACON, Ga. (April 1, 2009) - For the second straight season, Atlantic Sun softball has improved its non-conference record and thanks to stellar play throughout the league, the conference owns the fourth-best non-conference win percentage among all Division I conferences.


ETSU has enjoyed its strongest non-conference season in four years in the conference, winning 15 of its 21 games, and the Lady Bucs are one of four Atlantic Sun member institutions to post a win percentage of at least .700. In addition, ETSU has earned wins over BCS conferences such as the ACC and BIG EAST this season. 


"Our conference continues to get stronger and stronger each year, and these numbers show how much competition there is in this league," commented head ETSU softball coach Andrea Mangrum.


Florida Gulf Coast leads the conference with a 30-4 mark out of league play. The Eagles own three victories against ranked competition and have become a mainstay in the Ultimate College Softball poll, ranking inside the top 25 each of the last four weeks.


"It is a testament to a goal we set as a conference," FGCU head coach Dave Deiros said. "We have challenged ourselves and improved by playing against the best in country."


The two other schools to tie with FGCU for the 2008 regular-season title, USC Upstate and Lipscomb have carried its success into 2009. The Spartans own a 14-4 mark outside of the league and the Bisons have won 19 of their 25 non-league games.


"Our conference can compete with just about anybody," USC Upstate head coach Chris Hawkins said. "After our four schools become eligible, our goal is to have at least two in the NCAA Tournament."


USC Upstate, along with FGCU, UNF and Kennesaw State are in various stages of multi-year transitions to Division I. One stipulation of the transition includes no access to the NCAA Tournament until completing the transition. USC Upstate along with UNF and Kennesaw State become eligible next season. FGCU softball will wait until 2012.


Defending A-Sun Conference Champion, Campbell, owns a 14-8 record, on the heels of posting a 33-12 non-conference mark. Mercer, after a 3-5 start has won 18 of its last 23 games, putting together is best non-conference season in 20 seasons.


"It's a tribute to our players and the coaches and how hard we all worked and recruit," Mercer head coach Mike Raynor said. "It's great to have our girls recognized."


Eight of the A-Sun's 11 schools own winning non-conference records and Jacksonville has split its 30 games. The two under .500, Belmont and Kennesaw State are only a combined six games under .500.


Only the SEC, the Pacific 10 and Big 12 have higher composite win percentages than the A-Sun's .642. The ACC ranks just behind the A-Sun as the fifth conference to boast at least a .600 win percentage. The Big Ten ranks sixth with the Ohio Valley in seventh. The Big East, the last of the six "BCS" Conferences currently sits in eighth. The top ten concludes with the Big West and the America East Conference.


The Atlantic Sun Conference is an 11-member league committed to Building Winners for Life. The A-Sun stands for achievement with integrity in both the academic and athletic arenas, with a focus on the balance between the two for our student-athletes. Headquartered in Macon, Ga., the A-Sun boasts six of the top eight media markets in the Southeast. The A-Sun includes a blend of the most prestigious and dynamic private and public institutions in the region: Belmont University, Campbell University, East Tennessee State University, Florida Gulf Coast University, Jacksonville University, Kennesaw State University, Lipscomb University, Mercer University, University of North Florida, University of South Carolina Upstate and Stetson University.




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