Softball Opens GAC Play with SAU

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DURANT, Okla. – After weather changed the schedule around last weekend, No. 2 Southeastern will finally open Great American Conference play when it hosts Southern Arkansas in a four-game series March 1-2 at the Southeastern Softball Field.

Friday's double-header is slated for a 1 p.m. first pitch, while Saturday's action is set to begin at 11 a.m.

The Savage Storm come into the contest ranked No. 2 in the nation for the second-straight week and have amassed a 15-4 record on the year thus far.

This weekend's series with Southern Arkansas will be the conference opener after weather conditions forced the road series against East Central that was set for Feb. 22-23 to be cancelled entirely.

Instead, SE picked up a double-header against then-No. 12 Emporia State, splitting the day with an 11-2 loss and an 8-2 win.

The Storm comes into the weekend hitting .299 as a team, led by a foursome of hitters atop the lineup who are posting better than .300 averages.

That group is led by Jessica Simmons who is second in the GAC with 24 hits on the season and has put together a .364 average to go with a .400 on base percentage in the leadoff slot. She also leads the league in stolen bases with 14.

Courtney Moore is second in average at .352, but leads the leads the team with 15 RBI which is fourth-best in the conference, just one off the league lead. She also leads the team with four home runs.

Lacie Cook and Darrian Williams round out the .300 hitters in the everyday lineup, with Cook posting a .333 average and Williams checking in at .319.

SE has also had great success in the circle where Jacee Bennett and Mindy McElroy have dominated teams. Before ESU exploded for 11 runs last Saturday, Storm pitching had gone eight-straight games without allowing more than three runs.

Bennett paces the club with a 10-2 record which leads the GAC win category by three, and she is sixth in the conference in ERA at 2.33 while piling up 71 strikeouts and holding opposing hitters to a .217 average.

McElroy is fourth in the league in ERA at 2.01 and has posted a 4-1 record on the year with three saves and 23 strikeouts.

The Muleriders come to town with the reigning conference and national Pitcher of the Week in Hannah Gill.

She has helped SAU to a 12-8 start to the season overall along with a 4-0 conference record. They are currently riding an eight-game winning streak.

Gill is 8-3 overall on the season, but is coming off a 4-0 week. She has a 2.75 ERA and 75 strikeouts and opposing hitters are batting .247 off her.

SAU is led on offense by Sarah Higginbotham and Joella Bayles who are both hitting over .400 on the year at .438 and .408, respectively.

Two other hitters have marks over .300, while the Muleriders as a team hit .270.

Bayles leads the way in RBI with 14, while Lauren Witzke is at 10.

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