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Four Scarlet Knights Receive All-Conference Recognition
Bates makes First Team, Durando, Howard, Huang make Second
  • Posted on May 07, 2014 7:12:39 PM
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  • HOUSTON, Texas (May 7, 2014) – In Rutgers softball’s first and only season in the American Athletic Conference, the program had four players honored by the league, announced Wednesday evening at the first annual American Athletic Conference Awards Dinner at the Sheraton North Houston.

    Leading the way was junior All-Conference First Team center field selection Jackie Bates (Lincroft, N.J.). The Scarlet Knights (27-18, 9-9 American) also placed three players on the All-Conference Second Team in senior first baseman Alexis Durando (Oakland, N.J.), junior left fielder Chandler Howard (Wilmington, Del.) and sophomore second baseman Stephanie Huang (Paramus, N.J.).

    Conference statistics were the main guideline used by coaches during the voting process; however, supplemental information was also included for their consideration.

    RU posted the most all-conference members since 1999, when four players were honored by the BIG EAST Conference.

    “It’s kind of indicative of this team,” said head coach Jay Nelson. “We’ve accomplished a lot this year. It’s well deserved and they’re all playing to that level so I think four players making all-conference is a good number.

    “I think Jackie is well-deserving of first team. It was pretty close between her and Chandler, so it’s a little disappointing that we didn’t get more. But Jackie is certainly well deserving of that status.”

    #14 Jackie Bates
    American Athletic All-Conference First Team

    Bates picked up the first conference distinction of her career after a record campaign both personally and in single-season Rutgers history. The junior, who became the first RU player to earn first team all-conference status since Sarah Kalka in 2007, ended the regular season second in the American with 16 doubles and 38 RBIs, and recorded a .383 batting average – the fifth-best mark in the league.  

    The center fielder hit .375 in league games and led the team with a .696 slugging percentage. She launched four home runs and six doubles against conference foes – both tied for first among Scarlet Knights.

    In slugging, Bates finished third in the conference with a .667 mark and also compiled the fifth-best on-base percentage (.470) and ninth-most hits (54). She was named to the league’s weekly honor roll three times this season, the most of any Scarlet Knight.

    Her 16 two-baggers are good for third on RU’s single-season list, while her 38 RBIs are five shy of tying for third in a single season.

    Personally, Bates reset her single-season marks in hits (54), doubles (16), home runs (eight), RBIs (38), walks (20) and batting average (.383), while striking out just 12 times in 141 at-bats. She has reached base in 28 consecutive games entering the postseason and started in all 45 games for the Scarlet Knights, getting it done on the diamond with a 1.000 fielding percentage.

    #20 Alexis Durando | Sr. | First Base
    American Athletic All-Conference Second Team

    In her final season “On the Banks,” Durando picked up her first conference honor, hitting .298 and posting a .449 on-base percentage, good for eighth in the American. Her 34 walks this season are two shy of tying for first on RU’s all-time list.

    Durando also proved her worth on the defensive end, leading all RU starting infielders with a .987 fielding percentage

    The first baseman finished tied for third on the team with four home runs, fourth with five doubles and led the way with 284 putouts.

     

    #6 Chandler Howard | Jr. | Left Field
    American Athletic All-Conference Second Team

    Howard posted a breakout year in her junior campaign, finishing atop the American in numerous statistical categories. She wrapped up the year second in the league in batting average (.391), tied for second in total bases (99), tied for second in hits (61), fourth in home runs (9), fifth in slugging percentage (.635) and tied for eighth in at-bats (156).

    The left fielder tied for the most home runs (four) and posted the second-best batting average (.400) for RU in league competition this year, finishing second with 11 RBIs and a .696 slugging percentage.

    She has seven more hits in 11 fewer games so far this season in comparison to 2013 and has tripled her combined home run total from her first two years as a Scarlet Knight. The left fielder hit two home runs in doubleheader action on April 18 against Memphis, with her first one serving as the walk-off shot in a 3-1 win in eight innings.

    Howard was selected as the American Athletic Conference Player of the Week on April 21 and made the honor roll on March 17. The starting left fielder for Rutgers in all 45 games this season, Howard also recorded hitting streaks of 12 and 13 games.

    The Concord HS product needs just one more hit to tie for third on RU’s singles-season list, and is three long balls shy of tying for third on the single-season home run list.

    #3 Stephanie Huang | So. | Second Base
    American Athletic All-Conference Second Team

    Huang earned RU’s starting role at second base this year and did not disappoint, hitting .359 for the eighth-best mark in the conference. Her eight doubles were the third-most on Rutgers and tied for 13th in the league.

    Her .415 batting average and 22 hits in conference play led the Scarlet Knights, while she finished tied for second with six doubles  and 10 runs and third with 9 RBIs.

    She broke out to set new single-season personal highs in games started (37), batting average, at-bats (117), runs (24) hits (42), doubles, RBIs (17) and walks (15). The sophomore also blasted the first home run of her career on April 23 against St. John’s, posting a career-high four RBIs.

    No. 5 Rutgers faces No. 4 Houston in the opening round of the inaugural American Athletic Conference Softball Championships on Thursday, May 8 at 7:30 p.m. The winner will advance and face the winner of No. 1 UCF and No. 8 UConn on Friday, May 9 at 7:30 p.m. Both games will be broadcast live on the American Digital Network.

    American Player of the Year

    Farrah Sullivan, UCF

    American Pitcher of the Year

    Sara Nevins, USF

    American Rookie of the Year

    Juli Weber, USF

    American Coaching Staff of the Year

    UCF

    All-Conference First Team

    P - Shelby Turnier, UCF

    P - Sara Nevins, USF

    C - Kaley Outon, Houston

    1B - Stephanie Medina, USF

    2B - Katie Keller, Louisville

    SS - Kourtney Salvarola, USF

    3B - Farrah Sullivan, UCF

    OF - Jackie Bates, Rutgers

    OF - Ashli Goff, USF

    OF - Juli Weber, USF

    UTL/P - Diedre Outon, Houston

    DP/UTL (Non-P) – Taner Fowler, Louisville

    All-Conference Second Team

    P - Mackenzie Audas, UCF

    P - Maryssa Becker, Louisville

    C - LeeAnn Spivey, USF

    1B - Alexis Durando, Rutgers

    2B - Stephanie Huang, Rutgers

    SS - Selena Hernandez, Houston

    3B - Whitney Arion, Louisville

    OF - Linnea Goodman, UCF

    OF - Kayla Soles, Louisville

    OF - Chandler Howard, Rutgers

    DP/UTL (Non-P) - Jessica Ujvari, UCF

    Follow Rutgers Athletics on Facebook (www.facebook.com/RutgersAthletics) and Twitter (@RUAthletics) for all of the latest news and updates. For specific updates regarding Rutgers softball, follow the program on Twitter (@RUSoftball) and Instagram (@RU_Softball). The team is also on Facebook (www.facebook.com/RutgersSB). Fans can receive timely information, including special offers and giveaways throughout the year on our social media outlets along with www.ScarletKnights.com.

     

    -RU-

     

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