Eight Sharks Recognized as Easton/NFCA Scholar All-Americans

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The NFCA released the Easton/NFCA All-America Scholar Athlete honors for the 2021-22 academic year. The Nova Southeastern Sharks placed eight student-athletes on the list and achieved a total team grade-point average of 3.37.  

Student-athletes who achieve a GPA higher than 3.5 or better on a 4.0 scale are recognized as NFCA Scholar-Athletes.  

The Sharks that were recognized as Easton/NFCA Scholar All-Americans are Samantha Burke, Madison Fine, Emily Hess, Allie Janowiak, Sydney Lageyre, Emerson Morris, Kerstyn Shaw and Sidney Swantic.  

Under Head Coach Julie LeMaire, the Nova Southeastern Sharks finished the 2022 campaign with a record of 38-14 (the program’s most wins since 2010), earned the program’s first share of the Sunshine State Conference title and advanced to the NCAA South Region Tournament. 

To stay up-to-date on Sharks Softball, be sure to follow on Instagram and Twitter at @NSU_Softball.  

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Connor Named Finalist for 2022 National Freshman of the Year Award

LOUISVILLE, Ky.  A week removed from helping the Nova Southeastern softball program return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2010, starting pitcher Ashley Connor has been nominated as one of eight finalists for the 2022 Schutt Sports/NFCA Division II National Freshman of the Year award.

One finalist was selected from each of the NCAA’s eight regions by the Association’s Division II All-America Committee. The winner of the award will be announced on May 26.

Connor burst onto the scene in 2022, collecting All-South Region honors from both the D2CCA and NFCA while also being recognized as the Sunshine State Conference Freshman of the Year and as a First Team All-SSC nod. In 28 appearances in the circle, Connor made 19 starts on her way to earning a record of 18-4. Among those 19 starts, 17 went as complete games – seven of which were shutouts. She added three saves while posting an ERA of 1.40 and a WHIP of .97 across 159.2 innings. Connor also tallied 100 strikeouts and limited opponents to a .207 batting average.

Created in 2015, the award honors the outstanding athletic achievement among freshman softball student-athletes throughout NCAA Division II. To be eligible, student-athletes must come from a NFCA member institution. 

Past winners include Janessa Bassett (Dixie State – 2015), Autumn Humes (Harding – 2017), Bailey McKittrick (Central Oklahoma – 2019), Callie Nunes (Concordia Irvine – 2018), Charlotte Romero (Colorado Christian – 2016) and Kenzee Smith (UIndy – 2021).

2022 Schutt Sports/NFCA DII National Freshman of the Year Finalists
Atlantic – Caleigh Rister, California University of Pennsylvania
Central – Leigha Harris, Harding University
East – Jessica Klein, Caldwell University
Midwest – Josie Newman, University of Southern Indiana
South – Ashley Connor, Nova Southeastern University
South Central – Kaiden Boren, Cameron University
Southeast – Lydia Taylor, Emory & Henry College
West – Paige Donnelly, California State University San Marcos

The Sharks captured the program’s first-ever share of the SSC title en route to a 38-14 record this spring. To stay up-to-date with NSU throughout the offseason, visit NSUSharks.com or follow the Sharks on Instagram and Twitter at @NSU_Softball.

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Sharks Eliminated from NCAA South Regional

MONTGOMERY, Ala.  Following a promising start in the NCAA South Regional, the Nova Southeastern softball team had its postseason run come to a screeching halt on Friday as the Sharks were eliminated from play after falling 8-0 to Auburn Montgomery and 7-1 to Alabama Huntsville. The Sharks conclude the season with a record of 38-14, their highest win total since 2010.
 
INSIDE THE MATCHUP
Score: Auburn Montgomery 8 (W: A. Goble, 14-2), Nova Southeastern 0 (W: E. Hess, 13-6)
Records: Auburn Montgomery (45-9), Nova Southeastern (38-13)
Location: AUM Softball Complex | Montgomery, Ala.  
Get Social: @NSU_Softball on Instagram and Twitter
 
HOW IT HAPPENED:
TOP 1st | The very first inning set the tone for the time of day it would end up being for the Sharks. Consecutive walks to open the game put two runners aboard for the Warhawks before AUM grabbed an early 1-0 lead following an NSU fielding error.

BOT 3rd | In search of momentum, NSU’s Alexis Smith led off the frame with a perfectly executed bunt single. However, just moments later, the Sunshine State Conference stolen base leader was ruled out after apparently leaving early on a steal attempt.

TOP 4th | Capitalizing on a pair of bunt singles, UAM extended its advantage to 2-0 thanks to a sacrifice fly to left.

TOP 7th | From there, the game snowballed on the Sharks a bit, as the Warhawks score two runs apiece in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings to punch their ticket into Saturday’s championship round.

INSIDE THE STATS:

  • NSU was limited to just three hits in the effort.
  • The loss marked the second for the Sharks against UAM this season after dropping the season opener to the Warhawks back on Feb. 5.

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INSIDE THE MATCHUP
Score: Alabama Huntsville 7 (W: L. Murphy, 19-9), Nova Southeastern 1 (L: A. Connor, 18-4)
Records: Alabama Huntsville (40-16), Nova Southeastern (38-14)
 
HOW IT HAPPENED:
BOT 2nd | A one-out double gave the Chargers a 1-0 edge in the bottom of the second.

BOT 3rd | That margin soon grew to 2-0 following a solo homer off the bat of UAH’s Kiara Akles – her 12th of the season.

TOP 5th | Sydney Lageyre cut the deficit in half in the fifth after an infield single to shortstop scored Sidney Swantic.

BOT 5th | The Chargers answered right back in the bottom of the inning, though, using consecutive two-out singles to push the margin to 4-1.

BOT 6th | The Sharks would be retired in order in the top of the sixth before UAH rattled off three more runs, including a two-run triple, to all but end it for NSU.

INSIDE THE STATS:

  • Lageyre recorded a game-high three hits in her final career game.
  • Just one night after tossing a complete-game shutout against the Chargers, Ashley Connor surrendered nine hits and seven runs – five earned – in Friday’s defeat.

UP NEXT
To stay up-to-date with NSU throughout the offseason, visit NSUSharks.com or follow the Sharks on Instagram and Twitter at @NSU_Softball.
 

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Connor, Fine Propel Sharks to 5-0 Win in Regional Opener

MONTGOMERY, Ala.  Ashley Connor tossed her seventh complete-game shutout of the season, while Madison Fine broke open the ball game with a bases-clearing double in the fourth inning, as the Nova Southeastern softball team kicked off the NCAA South Region Tournament with a commanding 5-0 victory over Alabama Huntsville on Thursday in Montgomery, Ala. The Sharks will now advance to the winner’s bracket, where they’ll face host Auburn Montgomery on Friday at 2 p.m. ET.
 
INSIDE THE MATCHUP
Score: Nova Southeastern 5 (W: A. Connor, 18-3), Alabama Huntsville 0 (L: L. Murphy, 18-9)
Records: Nova Southeastern (38-12), Alabama Huntsville (38-16)
Location: AUM Softball Complex | Montgomery, Ala.  
Get Social: @NSU_Softball on Instagram and Twitter
 
HOW IT HAPPENED:
BOT 1st | The Sharks threatened right away in the bottom of the first after an error by the UAH shortstop helped load the bases with one out. However, NSU would fail to capitalize on the early opportunity, as the Chargers wiggled out of the jam by inducing a strikeout and a lineout to second.

TOP 5th | Connor would work around a pair of walks in the top of the fifth to keep the game scoreless heading into the home half of the inning.

BOT 5th | Limited to just three hits through the first four innings, Samantha Burke and Sydney Lageyre sparked the NSU offense with a pair of singles to put two runners on with one out. A Ryleigh Langwell walk loaded the bases before Sunshine State Conference Player of Year Tia Williams lined a single into right to score the game’s first run. In the ensuing at-bat, Fine would give the Sharks some much-needed breathing room, roping a double down the left-field line to extend the lead to 4-0.

BOT 6th | Langwell provided some more insurance in the sixth with a two-out triple to right that plated Alexis Smith.

TOP 7th | A key 6-3 double play cleared the bases in the seventh before Connor forced a routine grounder to short to secure the victory.

INSIDE THE STATS:

  • Connor scattered five hits while walking two and striking out four in her 18th win of the season.
  • Eight of the nine players in the NSU lineup recorded at least one hit. Lageyre and Sidney Swantic each registered two apiece.
  • Each of the first four batters in the NSU lineup scored a run.
  • The Sharks tallied seven of their 10 hits in the fifth and sixth innings.
  • The win marked the Sharks’ second this season over UAH after defeating the Chargers 6-1 back on Feb. 6.

­­­­­­UP NEXT
The Sharks will look to continue their winning ways when they face top-seeded Auburn Montgomery on Friday at 2 p.m. ET. NSU dropped a 6-3 decision to the Warhawks in its season opener on Feb. 5. For complete coverage, visit the schedule page on NSUSharks.com or follow the Sharks on Instagram and Twitter at @NSU_Softball.

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Sharks Place Three on All-South Region Teams

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.  Less than 24 hours before the Nova Southeastern softball team opens play at the NCAA South Region Tournament, the Sharks have had three players recognized as All-South Region performers by both the Division II Conference Commissioner’s Association (D2CCA) and the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA). Ashley Connor and Tia Williams earned first-team honors by the D2CCA and second-team selections by the NFCA, while Sydney Lageyre was also named a member of the NFCA All-South Region Second Team.

Connor adds the latest accolade after capturing Sunshine State Conference Freshman of the Year and First Team All-SSC honors earlier in the week. In 26 appearances in the circle, Connor has made 17 starts en route to a record of 17-3. Among those 17 starts, 15 have been complete games – six of which have been shutouts. She has added three saves, while posting an ERA of 1.29 and a WHIP of .93 across 146.2 innings. Connor has also tallied 94 strikeouts and limited opponents to a .200 batting average.

Williams, the SSC’s Player of the Year, deservedly lands two all-region nods after having ranked among the Top-5 in the SSC in nine offensive categories, including finishing as the league leader in both batting average (.389) and RBI (38) while tying for first in runs scored (41). She was tabbed as the SSC Player of the Week on Apr. 11 and was even a member of the Top-50 list for the 2022 Schutt Sports/NFCA Division II National Player and Pitcher of the Year awards.

Lageyre collects all-region honors following a career year in her final season as a Shark. Starting in all 49 games this spring, the centerfielder has racked up an SSC-best 63 hits, good enough for a batting average of .366. Lageyre has also registered 27 RBI and 37 runs scored to go along with 29 stolen bases. She has hit safely in 16 of NSU’s last 18 games.  

For a complete list of the D2CCA All-South Region awards, click here.

For a complete list of the NFCA All-South Region awards, click here.

As the No. 4 seed in the NCAA South Region Tournament, NSU will take on No. 5 seed Alabama Huntsville in the opening round Thursday at 2 p.m. in Montgomery, Ala. For complete coverage, visit NSUSharks.com or follow the Sharks on Instagram and Twitter at @NSU_Softball.
 

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NSU Headlines Softball All-SSC Award Winners

MELBOURNE, Fla.  It’s been quite the Monday for the Nova Southeastern softball program. After earning the No. 4 seed in the NCAA South Region Tournament in the morning, the Sharks have since landed a combined 12 All-Sunshine State Conference honors in the afternoon, including Player of the Year, Coach of the Year and Freshman of the Year.

The 12 total accolades are the most of any program in the league.

Tia Williams becomes the fifth player in program history to be named SSC Player of the Year, and the first since Suka Van Gurp took home the award in 2019. In 2022, the Land O’ Lakes, Fla. native ranked among the Top-5 in the SSC in nine offensive categories, leading the league in both batting average (.389) and RBI (38) while tying for first in runs scored (41). She was recognized as the SSC Player of the Week on Apr. 11 and was a member of the Top-50 list for the 2022 Schutt Sports/NFCA Division II National Player and Pitcher of the Year awards.

Julie LeMaire becomes the program’s first-ever coach to be selected SSC Coach of the Year after guiding the Sharks to their first-ever share of the SSC title. After beginning the season with a 6-7 record, NSU has since won 31 of 36 games including a 23-4 mark in conference play during that span. The Sharks rattled off six SSC series sweeps to wrap up the regular season with 37 victories – the most in a single season since 2010.

Ashley Connor’s SSC Freshman of the Year honor also goes down as the first in program history. In 26 appearances in the circle, Connor made 17 starts en route to a record of 17-3. Among those 17 starts, 15 were complete games – six of which were shutouts. Connor added three saves, while posting an ERA of 1.29 and a WHIP of .93 across 146.2 innings. She also tallied 94 strikeouts and limited opponents to a .200 batting average.

As expected, both Williams and Connor were also members of the All-SSC First Team, joined on the list by teammates Madison Fine and Sydney Lageyre. Ryleigh Langwell and Alexis Smith represented the Sharks on the All-SSC Second Team, with Connor, Lageyre and Langwell making the All-SSC Defensive Team as well.

Mary Beth Feldman of Tampa and Rollins’ Ashley Worrell shared SSC Pitcher of the Year honors. Tampa’s Lilly Kiester captured Co-Freshman of the Year honors alongside Connor.

For a complete list of the All-SSC softball awards, click here.

Recently announced as the No. 4 seed in the NCAA South Region Tournament, NSU will travel to Montgomery, Ala. to take on No. 5 seed Alabama Huntsville this Thursday at 2 p.m. For complete coverage, visit NSUSharks.com or follow the Sharks on Instagram and Twitter at @NSU_Softball.
 

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Sharks Sweep SSC Softball Player of the Week Awards

MELBOURNE, Fla.  After a three-game sweep of Florida Southern to close out the regular season, the Nova Southeastern softball team earned another sweep on Monday as both Ashley Connor and Alexis Smith were named Sunshine State Conference Pitcher and Player of the Week.

The award marks the third this season for Connor, while Smith collects her first.

Connor secured two of NSU’s three wins in the circle this past weekend, registering a combined ERA of 0.51 across 13.2 innings while limiting the opposition to a .188 batting average. In Thursday’s series opener, the freshman allowed just four hits to go along with five strikeouts in her sixth complete-game shutout of the season. In the series finale, she then entered in relief in the top of the first and proceeded to allow just five hits and one earned run in 6.2 innings as the Sharks would come from behind to claim the walk-off victory.

Smith caused fits for the Florida Southern pitching staff and defense all weekend long, posting a ridiculous slash line of .700/.750/1.000 during the sweep. NSU’s lead-off hitter scored a team-high five runs in the series while adding four stolen bases. She had multiple hits in each of the three games, including a 3-for-3 effort with three steals in the series opener.

The series sweep helped the Sharks clinch the program’s first-ever share of the SSC title.

Recently announced as the No. 4 seed in the NCAA South Region Tournament, NSU will travel to Montgomery, Ala. to take on No. 5 seed Alabama Huntsville this Thursday at 2 p.m. For complete coverage, visit NSUSharks.com or follow the Sharks on Instagram and Twitter at @NSU_Softball.
 

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Sharks Punch Ticket to NCAA South Region Tournament

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Just days after earning the program’s first-ever share of the Sunshine State Conference title, the Nova Southeastern softball team has officially been selected as the No. 4 seed in the NCAA South Region Tournament as the automatic qualifier out of the SSC.

The NCAA Tournament berth is the first for the Sharks under head coach Julie LeMaire, whose team’s 37 wins this season are the most by the program since 2010.

As the No. 4 seed, the Sharks will travel to Montgomery, Ala., where they’ll open against No. 5 seed Alabama Huntsville this Thursday at 2 p.m. EST.

In the South 1 Region bracket, NSU will also be grouped with top seed and host Auburn Montgomery, the automatic qualifier from the Gulf South Conference (GSC), along with No. 8 seed Tuskegee, the winner of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC).

The South 2 Region bracket is comprised of No. 2 seed and host Tampa, No. 7 seed Embry-Riddle, No. 3 seed Valdosta State and No. 6 seed Rollins.
The winners of each double-elimination bracket will meet in a best-of-three Super Regional beginning Thursday, May 19.

The Division II Softball Championship will be held at The Regency Athletic Complex in Denver, Colo. from May 26-31.

NSU began the season with a record of 6-7 after being swept on the road at Embry-Riddle. However, the Sharks have since been arguably the hottest team in Division II, closing the regular season by winning 31 of their final 36 games, including a 23-4 mark in conference play during that span.

To stay up-to-date with the Sharks throughout the postseason, visit NSUSharks.com or follow them on Instagram and Twitter at @NSU_Softball.

Below is the complete NCAA South 1 Region Tournament schedule:

Thursday, May 12
Game 1: No. 4 Nova Southeastern (37-12) vs. No. 5 Alabama Huntsville (38-15), 2:00 p.m.
Game 2: No. 1 Auburn Montgomery (43-9) vs. No. 8 Tuskegee (24-7), 4:30 p.m.

Friday, May 13
Game 3: Winner of Game 1 vs. Winner of Game 2, 2:00 p.m.
Game 4: Loser of Game 1 vs. Loser of Game 2, 4:30 p.m.
Game 5: Loser of Game 3 vs. Winner of Game 4, 7:00 p.m.

Saturday, May 14
Game 6: Winner of Game 3 vs. Winner of Game 5, 2:00 p.m.
Game 7 (If Necessary): Rematch of Game 6, 4:30 p.m.

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Sharks Sweep Florida Southern, Earn Share of SSC Title for First Time in Program History

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.  Following a doubleheader sweep of their own, and a doubleheader split between both Rollins and Tampa, the Nova Southeastern softball team clinched a share of the Sunshine State Conference regular season title for the first time in program history on Friday. The Sharks shut out Florida Southern by a score of 4-0 in the afternoon’s first ball game before coming from behind to secure a 3-2 walk-off win to conclude the regular season with a record of 37-12 and 23-7 in league play.
 
INSIDE THE MATCHUP
Score: Nova Southeastern 4 (W: E. Hess, 13-5), Florida Southern 0 (L: C. Buckner, 2-2)
Records: Nova Southeastern (36-12, 22-7 SSC), Florida Southern (18-28, 7-22 SSC)
Location: AD Griffin Sports Complex | Fort Lauderdale, Fla.  
Get Social: @NSU_Softball on Instagram and Twitter
 
HOW IT HAPPENED:
BOT 1st | Like she had in Thursday’s series opener, Alexis Smith sparked the NSU offense by leading off the ball game with a bunt single before moving into scoring position with her 37th stolen base of the season. Two batters later, Ryleigh Langwell laced an RBI-single up the middle as the Sharks grabbed an early 1-0 advantage.

TOP 2nd | Florida Southern didn’t muster many scoring chances against NSU starting pitcher Emily Hess, yet the Moccasins loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the second. Hess would battle back, though, eventually painting the corner for strike No. 3 and out No. 3 to end the threat with the Sharks still in front 1-0

BOT 3rd | Langwell struck again in the third, this time driving in Sydney Lageyre on a double that reached the wall in left center. Langwell would be thrown out trying to stretch the hit into a triple. However, Tia Williams kept the offense rolling with an infield single and a stolen base before a Madison Fine single into center extended the margin to 3-0.

BOT 6th | NSU tacked on another run in the sixth thanks to a Florida Southern fielding error.

TOP 7th | The four-run cushion was more than enough for Hess, who retired the side in order in the seventh to finish off her complete-game, three-hit shutout.

INSIDE THE STATS:

  • Eight of the nine NSU players in the lineup registered at least one hit, including Lageyre, Langwell and Smith, who each tallied two apiece.
  • Lageyre collected two of NSU’s four total stolen bases in the victory.
  • Hess needed just 82 pitches in her fifth shutout of the season.
     

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INSIDE THE MATCHUP
Score: Nova Southeastern 3 (W: A. Connor, 17-3), Florida Southern 2 (L: L. Edgington, 5-6)
Records: Nova Southeastern (37-12, 23-7 SSC), Florida Southern (18-29, 7-23 SSC)

 
HOW IT HAPPENED:
TOP 1st | After recording the first out of the inning, four straight Florida Southern batters reached base safely against the Sharks, as the Mocs jumped out to a 1-0 lead.

TOP 3rd | Entering as a reliever on Friday, NSU’s Ashley Connor did a nice job minimizing the damage, yet surrendered a two-out single in the third that allowed the Mocs to double their advantage to 2-0.

BOT 5th | Having stranded runners in each of the first four innings, the Sharks finally got on the board in the fifth when Lageyre followed up a Williams triple with an infield single to second base.

BOT 7th | The Sharks left a combined three more runners on base in the fifth and the sixth, yet produced one final scoring chance in the seventh after a Smith walk and a Lageyre single up the middle. A Langwell sacrifice bunt would move both runners into scoring position with one out. A flyout to shallow right, though, would put two outs on the board, bringing Fine to the plate. Down to her final strike, the NSU catcher worked the count back even at 2-2 before hitting a sharp grounder at the FSC shortstop. Initially unable to field the ball cleanly, the shortstop compounded the miscue with an errant throw, allowing both Smith and Lageyre to come around to score to hand the Sharks the walk-off victory.

INSIDE THE STATS:

  • Lageyre finished 3-for-4 at the plate with one RBI and one run scored.
  • Smith reached base three times, scoring twice.
  • Connor pitched 6.2 innings in relief, surrendering five hits and one earned run while striking out two and walking none.

UP NEXT
The Sharks will await their postseason fate when the NCAA Tournament field is announced Monday morning at 10 a.m. To watch the selection show, visit NCAA.com. To stay up-to-date with the Sharks, follow them on Instagram and Twitter at @NSU_Softball.
 

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Sharks Shut Out Florida Southern on Senior Night

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.  The Nova Southeastern softball team put up crooked numbers in three of the first four innings before starting pitcher Ashley Connor handled the rest, as the Sharks cruised to a 7-0 win over Florida Southern on Senior Night at the AD Griffin Sports Complex. The victory keeps the Sharks in contention to earn a share of the Sunshine State Conference regular season title for the first time in program history.
 
INSIDE THE MATCHUP
Score: Nova Southeastern 7 (W: A. Connor, 16-3), Florida Southern 0 (L: M. Rogers, 3-8)
Records: Nova Southeastern (35-12, 21-7 SSC), Florida Southern (18-27, 7-21 SSC)
Location: AD Griffin Sports Complex | Fort Lauderdale, Fla.  
Get Social: @NSU_Softball on Instagram and Twitter
 
HOW IT HAPPENED:
BOT 1st | NSU quickly grabbed control of the ball game by putting up a three-spot in the bottom of the first. Alexis Smith led off with a bunt single and would later steal second before scoring on a throwing error by the Florida Southern second baseman. A Tia Williams RBI-triple down the leftfield line doubled the NSU lead until Madison Fine dropped a single into left to make it a 3-0 advantage.

BOT 3rd | Allie Janowiak singled up the middle with two outs in the third to extend the lead to 4-0. Two more miscues by the Moccasins’ infield prolonged the inning and eventually allowed the margin to build to 5-0 as Janowiak came around to score.

BOT 4th | Smith scored on a fielder’s choice before Janowiak notched her second RBI-single of the night to stretch the lead to 7-0.

TOP 7th | Connor allowed just her fourth hit of the ball game to lead off the seventh. The freshman would dial it back in, though, striking out the side to secure her sixth complete-game shutout of the season.

INSIDE THE STATS:

  • Smith finished a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate, scoring two runs to go along with three stolen bases. Her 36 steals this season are six more than any other player in the league.
  • Janowiak went 2-for-4 at the dish, tallying two RBI and one run scored.
  • Connor retired 12 straight batters at one point.
  • The shutout marks the 13th this season for NSU.

­­­­­­UP NEXT
The Sharks and Mocs will play two more games on Friday with the afternoon doubleheader set to begin at 1 p.m. For complete coverage, visit the schedule page on NSUSharks.com or follow the Sharks on Instagram and Twitter at @NSU_Softball.
 

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