by Matthew Dalby, sports information graduate assistant
MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. – The Georgia College softball team (14-33, 9-11 PBC) really seems to be hitting their stride heading into the 2011 Peach belt Conference (PBC) Tournament. The ‘Cats have picked up the sixth seed in the tournament after finishing with a 9-11 mark in conference play.
The Bobcats are coming off a sweep of USC Aiken in their season finale, downing the Pacers 6-5 and 2-1. GC is also winners of three of their last four games, after splitting a series with then No. 22 Armstrong Atlantic.
Fortunately, the Bobcats have drawn more favorable matchups on their side of the bracket, with their first game coming against No. 3-seed Columbus State University. Georgia College split the season series with Columbus State back on March 29, as the Bobcats won the first game 2-1 in extra innings before dropping game two 6-2
Win or lose, the Bobcats would then take on either No. 2-seed Armstrong Atlantic or No. 7-seed USC Aiken.
Rounding out the other side of the bracket are No. 1-seed North Georgia, No. 4-seed Flagler College, No. 5-seed Augusta State University and No.8-seed UNC Pembroke.
The Bobcats recent tear can be attributed to their increased offensive production, as six players are hitting .333 or better over their last four games.
Overall, GC has been led by junior Haley Burnett (Columbus, Ga.), who is currently seventh in the conference with a .405 average. Burnett leads the PBC with a .535 on-base percentage, while placing in the top six in slugging, RBI, home runs and walks.
The Bobcats post one of the more feared 3-4 tandems in the league, as junior Anna Parker (Columbus, Ga.) and Burnett have been walked 37 and 33 times respectively. That is good for first and second in the PBC.
Freshmen Whitney Okvist (Kennesaw, Ga.) and Lindsey Conway (Madison, Ga.) have done their part for the Bobcats this year, serving recently as the 1-2 hitters in the lineup.
Okvist brings impressive speed to the plate, stealing 24 bases thus far, which is good for second in the PBC. She also leads the conference in triples with six.
Conway has really turned it on as of late, hitting .500 (6-for-12) in her last four games with six RBI and three runs.
The Bobcats have been nearly as impressive on the mound recently, posting a 3.25 ERA over the last four games.
Freshman righty Chelsie Huffman (Powder Springs, Ga.) has been a threat out of the pen, compiling a 1.17 ERA in that span with a 2-0 record.
Junior Sabrina Chandler (Covington, Ga.) has remained the most consistent Bobcats arm, bringing her 8-12 mark and 3.89 ERA into the tournament.
Georgia College will look to remain hot when they take on No. 3-seed Columbus State Friday, April 15 beginning at 1:30 p.m. in Florence, S.C. All PBC Tournament games will be held at Freedom Florence Complex on fields two and three.
The Georgia College Department of Athletics, back-to-back winners of the PBC Commissioner's Cup, sponsors 10 varsity athletic programs at the NCAA Division II level. As a Division II program, Bobcat Athletics prides itself on balancing the life of the student-athlete, evidenced by the teams' multiple appearances in post-season competition as well as documented academic success and community-service involvement. Sign up at www.twitter.com/BobcatSports and www.facebook.com/gcbobcats for up-to-the-minute reports, and visit www.GCBobcats.com for more information, and to nominate your favorite former Bobcats and Colonials to the GC Athletics Hall of Fame.