ROCK HILL, S.C.—The Tusculum University softball team has been picked to finish 10th for the second consecutive year, as revealed in the 2020 edition of the South Atlantic Conference Coaches' Poll. Additionally, junior second baseman Brittney Franse earned second-team laurels, her first career league honor.
Franse, a Knoxville, Tenn. native, started 40-of-41 games for the Pioneers in her sophomore season, primarily at second base. The right-hander batted .320, slugged .340, and had an on-base percentage of .366. She went 3-for-3 with three runners batted in, scored two runs, and stole a base at UVa-Wise. Franse also went 3-for-3 versus New Haven and crossed home twice, alongside a double. She finished the year with a fielding percentage of .972 with 74 putouts and 67 assists. Academically, Franse was named to the Division II Athletic Directors Association (D2 ADA) Honor Roll.
The Pioneers received 38 total points in a vote of the conference's 12 head coaches. Defending league regular season champion and regional finalist Lincoln Memorial is the favorite to win the title as the Railsplitters garnered 10 first place votes and 131 points. Carson-Newman is second with 115 points and one first place nod. SAC Tournament winner Anderson landed third in the poll with 100 points, followed by Lenoir-Rhyne (97), Wingate (92), Coker (87), Newberry (78), Queens University of Charlotte (72), Catawba (45), Tusculum, Mars Hill (37), and conference newcomer UVa-Wise (32).
Tusculum returns 13 letter-winners from last year's 22-20 squad that finished last in the league standings with an 8-12 mark.
The Pioneers will open the season at Converse College on the first day of February in an afternoon double-header. Tusculum’s first home series is set for one week later versus Davis & Elkins.
For the first time since 2012, Red Edmonds Field will serve as host of the SAC Softball Tournament. The eight-team, single-elimination tournament will be held Apr. 24-25 on the Tusculum campus.