MONTGOMERY, Ala. | Southern University Jaguars softball team will enter the 2018 Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) Softball Tournament as the fourth seed and will face the number one seed Alcorn State University Lady Braves who shared the Eastern Divisional title with Alabama A&M University. The 2018 Southwestern Athletic Conference Softball Tournament Championship will take place May 9-12 in Montgomery, Ala., at Barbara Williams Softball Complex.
The Jaguars (8-9 SWAC, 16-21 OVERALL) are led by first-team All-SWAC selection Kiara Suttles, the former 2015 player of the year and two-time All-SWAC performer terrorized the conference recording four homeruns, ten RBIs and scored 12 times. For, the season Suttles ranked second in the league with ten homeruns, behind AAMU's Tiana Sanders 11 homeruns. Joining Suttles on the first-team is fellow Senior Outfielder Sydney Andrews who scored 31 times for the Jags. Andrews recorded 36 hits and a 42% on base percentage. Landing on the All-SWAC second-team is sophomore Jazmine Dukes who sported a .342 batting average recording 25 hits and 15 RBIs after joining Southern 11 games into the season.
In the circle, Southern is led by Sophomore Aubrion James, she was the work-horse for the Jaguars with a 10-10 record and 3.50 ERA in 120.0 innings. She's pitched more than half of the team's innings this year. To the surprise of many James was not selected to the SWAC All-Conference team voted by SWAC Head Coaches and Sports Information Director after sporting a ten win season, six of those wins came against conference foes. James only gave up four home runs this season, zero to SWAC opponents. James 29 strikeouts versus conference opponents ranked third, she recorded a league-leading two saves and pitched 67.1 innings during conference play, Laura Rodriguez of Texas Southern was second with 44.1 innings pitched.
The Lady Braves' (11-7 SWAC, 14-33 OVERALL) Senior first baseman Taylor Hughes was named the SWAC Hitter of the Year. The All-Conference First-Team selection led Alcorn with a .350 batting average and .460 on-base percentage this season.
Alcorn's head coach Joesf Rankin led squad is 5-1 versus Southern's John Garris over the past three seasons. Southern seeks to repeat last season postseason performance when the Jaguars pulled the upset over the top-seeded Alcorn State. Southern held on to a 4-0 lead going into the sixth inning when Alcorn rallied and fell short. The Lady Braves loaded up the bases when Alcorn's senior Adriana Gutierrez singled down the left field line to score two runs and cut the deficit in half. An error fill seventh inning allowed Alcorn to cut the lead, 4-3. Southern settled down and sat the next two batters to seal the upset.
This season Southern dropped the inter-divisional series 2-1. After, taking game one in exciting fashion when Dukes knocked a RBI single to left center field, scoring Aubrion James who was in the process of stealing second and rounding third when the outfielder struggled to field the line drive allowing Dukes to proceed to second on the fielding error. James earn run completed the late game heroics, James came in the sixth inning and pitched 2.1 scoreless innings, struck out three Lady Braves in the process and scored the tying run in the bottom of the seventh inning to send the game into extra innings.
In the following two games, Alcorn State took advantage of Southern's 10 errors to steal both games.
First pitch is scheduled for 6 pm.
Southern's second round game will be Thursday at 6 p.m. with a win, or Thursday at 12 p.m. with a loss. The Jaguars will play the winner/loser of Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Alabama State.
Click here to visit the SWAC Championship tournament central.