SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Furman’s Candace Johnson and UNCG’s Stephanie Bryden have been named Southern Conference softball player and pitcher of the week, respectively, for games played March 6-11, the conference office announced Monday.
Johnson hit .438 with a pair of doubles, a homer and five RBIs to help Furman to a 4-2 record this past week. The Conyers, Georgia, native doubled, scored a run and drove in a run in the 5-0 victory over Sacred Heart on March 7 before going 2-for-3 with two RBIs and a base on balls Friday against Wright State in the Holy City Showdown. Johnson then went 3-for-4 with a home run, two RBIs and two runs to help the Paladins to a 7-0 win over Norfolk State on Saturday. The redshirt senior capped the week with a 1-for-2 effort and three walks in an eight-inning, 6-5 win over Eastern Illinois on March 11. For the week, Johnson posted a .591 on-base percentage and a .750 slugging percentage as Furman improved to 20-6 on the season. The outfielder currently ranks second in the SoCon in batting average (.358), on-base percentage (.470) and runs scored (20) and is tied with three others for the most walks (13) in the league.
Bryden appeared in two of UNCG’s three games against Elon this past weekend, finishing with 12 strikeouts and an 0.84 ERA in 8 1/3 innings pitched. In the first game of the doubleheader on March 10, Bryden was dominant in the circle, throwing her second complete game this season as the Spartans earned a 4-1 win. The junior needed just 81 pitches to strike out a season-high 12 batters and had a perfect game broken up in the seventh inning with no outs. Bryden allowed just two hits and one earned run in the contest as she picked up her sixth win of the season. The Orlando, Florida, native rounded out the weekend with 1/3 inning of relief as the Spartans fell 6-4 to the Phoenix. Bryden currently leads the SoCon in opposing batting average (.140), fewest hits allowed (21) and fewest runs allowed (11).
Others nominated for player of the week: Nikki Grupp (ETSU), Whitney Hinton (Samford) and Ashlyn Long (Western Carolina).
Others nominated for pitcher of the week: Kelly Schmidt (ETSU), Lindsey Bert (Furman), Taylor DeCelles (Samford) and Haley Brogden (Western Carolina).
2018 SoCon Softball Players of the Week
Feb. 12 – Marisa Sholtes, 1B, RJr., UNCG
Feb. 19 – Makenna Matthijs, OF, Fr., UNCG
Feb. 26 – Caroline Taylor, 1B, RSr., Mercer
March 5 – Shelby Maze, OF, Sr., Samford
March 12 – Candace Johnson, OF, RSr., Furman
2018 SoCon Softball Pitchers of the Week
Feb. 12 – Emily Demonte, Jr., Furman
Feb. 19 – Emily Demonte, Jr., Furman
Feb. 26 – Lindsey Bert, Sr., Furman
March 5 – Jill McElderry, Sr., Mercer
March 12 – Stephanie Bryden, Jr., UNCG