With spring semester now over, the University of North Georgia (UNG) baseball and softball teams have brought their full focus to the diamond. Both squads have performed well in postseason play, with the baseball team currently one win away from advancing to the championship game of the Peach Belt Conference tournament.
After winning their conference and region, the Nighthawks softball team defeated Armstrong State University 4-0 in the first game of the 2016 NCAA Southeast Super Regional on May 11. Senior Courtney Poole was nearly flawless in her pitching effort, with just one hit by the opposing team keeping her from achieving a perfect game. Unfortunately, with only a single win separating the Nighthawks from a return trip to the NCAA Division II Softball Championship, the team fell twice to the Armstrong Pirates on May 12, bringing their season to a dramatic end.
The final games moved the team to a 55-8 record for the season. In the May 11 game, Poole threw only 71 pitches while striking out seven and allowing one hit. Her 53rd victory of the season, her achievement broke Courtney Blades' former all-time NCAA single-season wins record of 52, set in 2000 by the ace from University of Southern Mississippi. Poole has been named a top three finalist for the 2016 Schutt Sports/National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division II National Player of the Year award.
UNG's baseball team defeated the top-seeded Columbus State University 7-6 in the first game of the Peach Belt Conference tournament on May 11. On May 12, the team fell to Georgia College, but if they win on May 13 versus Augusta University, they will advance to the championship game. The game begins at 4 p.m. If the Nighthawks win the conference, they will advance to regional competition as one of six teams representing the Southeast.
The men and women of UNG's baseball and softball teams have performed exceedingly well in the classroom as well this year. Seven student-athletes from the baseball team were selected for the 2016 Peach Belt Conference Baseball All-Academic team, which recognizes outstanding accomplishments by students as athletes and as scholars. The student-athletes selected were:
- Kevin Krupp - 3.41 GPA, majoring in criminal justice
- Ryan Tomita - 3.66 GPA, majoring in finance
- Josh Bryan - 3.58 GPA, majoring in business management
- Trevor Sams 3.39 GPA, majoring in history
- Connor Hoover 3.34 GPA, majoring in business management
- Daniel McCrary 3.73 GPA, majoring in physical education
- Steven Tomlinson 3.65 GPA, majoring in business administration
Three senior softball players were also selected for the 2016 Peach Belt Conference Softball All-Academic Team. These three players were also selected in 2015 as NFCA All-American Scholars:
- Katie Block – 3.30 GPA, majoring in physical education
- Meagan May – 3.84 GPA, majoring in business management
- Ansley Phillips – 3.36 GPA, majoring in special education