INDIANAPOLIS, IN - The Coker College softball team is now ranked fourth in the latest Southeast Region, as announced by the NCAA on Wednesday, May 2. The Cobras finished the regular season in second place in the South Atlantic Conference with a record of 33-15 and 12-8 in conference play. In addition, Coker finished as the runner-up in the conference tournament.
In the first poll, Coker was placed in the seventh spot, but after a split with Lincoln Memorial for the regular season finale, the Cobras jumped to sixth in the region. After finishing the conference postseason in second, the Navy and Gold leaped to fourth.
The No. 1 team in the region, North Georgia, was handed their first loss of the season by the Cobras in March. Coker split their regular season series with No. 4 Queens (N.C.), defeating them handily in the SAC semifinals, and No. 10 North Greenville. Next, the Navy and Gold went on to sweep No. 6 Carson-Newman in regular season action, but falling to the Eagles in the championship game.
In the friendly confines of Saleeby-Stokes Field, Coker is an impressive 15-3 on the season. To start 2018, the team went 14-0 and most recently won 11 of their last 14 games.
The Cobras are led offensively by 72 hits off the bat of first baseman Maria Williamson, who also leads the team with 10 homers, 52 RBI, 28 walks, and .708 slugging percentage. Hannah Price is finishing off her Coker career strong with 43 hits, eight doubles, four home runs, 31 RBI, and 20 walks on a .299/.405/.438 slashline.
In the circle, Christine Carver (18-7, 1.72 ERA) heads up the staff in 155 innings pitched, giving up 38 earned runs and 110 hits, while striking out 129 batters. Nikki Linthicum (7-2, 4.57) and Taylor Forehand (8-5, 2.45) have been impressive as of late, combining for 125 strikeouts, five saves, and only 73 earned runs.
SAC honors are piling up for the Navy and Gold. Both Williamson and Carver were named to First Team All-Conference in their respective positions. Williamson, Carver, and Brianna Strickland earned All-Tournament Team accolades.
As of May 1, the Coker pitching staff finished the regular season as the statistical champion in the conference in strikeout-to-walk ratio of 2.15 and have increased the figure to 2.24. Williamson earned the statistical champion title for her .452 batting average, along with ended the regular season second in on base percentage (.523), and third in both hits (66) and RBIs (49). She has since upped the numbers to a .468 batting average (15th nationally), .541 on base percentage (first in the SAC, 13th in the nation), 72 hits (first in the conference, 10th nationally), and 52 RBI.
Carver completed the regular season with top marks in hits allowed per seven innings (4.94) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.18), alongside a second place finish with a 1.86 ERA. She is now first in hits allowed per seven innings at 4.97, first in strikeout-to-walk ratio at 3.23, and second in ERA at 1.72. Forehand is second in strikeout-to-walk ratio at 3.08, just behind Carver.
The Cobras will learn of their postseason fate on Monday, May 7, 10:00 a.m. when the 2018 NCAA Division II Softball Regional selections will be announced. The team also received a vote in the NFCA Division II Top 25 Coaches Poll that was released Wednesday (May 3) afternoon.
Full rankings can be found at https://www.ncaa.com/rankings/softball/d2.