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Juniata softball picked fifth in Landmark preseason poll

(Posted February 24, 2009)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- The Juniata College softball team was picked to finish fifth in the Landmark Conference in 2009, according to a preseason poll of the league's head coaches and sports information directors released Tuesday.

Juniata, which returns four All-Landmark Conference performers from a year ago, tallied 27 points in the poll.

Defending Landmark champion Moravian College finished atop the poll with 60 points, followed by 2008 runner-up Catholic University with 51 points. The University of Scranton was third with 45 points, followed by Drew University (34 points), Juniata, Susquehanna University (25 points), and the United States Merchant Marine Academy (10 points).

Juniata finished the 2008 season with a 21-16 mark, 4-8 in Landmark Conference play. The Eagles return six players who started all 37 games last season, led by First team All-Landmark selection and junior first baseman Rachel Nagy (Nazareth, Pa./Nazareth) who hit a team-leading .430 with 33 runs batted in and 20 extra-base hits.

Three Second team All-Landmark Conference honorees also return to the diamond in 2009: senior infielder Tara Carl (Duke Center, Pa./Otto-Eldred), junior outfielder Sarah Eckard (Hollidaysburg, Pa./Hollidaysburg), and junior pitcher Alyssa Erb (Hollidaysburg, Pa./Hollidaysburg).

Carl was Juniata's second-leading hitter last season with a .359 average, while Eckard was fourth in batting with a .354 average. Erb was the Eagles' top pitcher with a 15-9 record and 1.41 earned run average over 158-and-a-third innings of work, with 164 strikeouts.

Juniata opens its 2009 season on Monday, Mar. 9, when it faces the University of Charleston (W.Va.) in a doubleheader at 9:30 a.m. in Myrtle Beach, Fla.

LANDMARK CONFERENCE
SOFTBALL PRESEASON POLL

1. Moravian College (60 pts.)
2. Catholic University (51 pts.)
3. University of Scranton (45 pts.)
4. Drew University (34 pts.)
5. Juniata College (27 pts.)
6. Susquehanna University (25 pts.)
7. U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (10 pts.)

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Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.