Jan. 23, 2013
IRVING, Texas - East Carolina junior outfielder Jill Jelnick has been named to the Preseason All-Conference USA Softball Team for the second-straight season, the league office announced Wednesday afternoon.
Jelnick, working primarily as the team's leadoff hitter, hit .315 with a team-high 51 hits last season. She placed second on the team in walks (18) and on-base percentage (.390), third in runs (25), fourth in stolen bases (10) and fifth in RBI (18). The Aliso Viejo, Calif. native also led the squad in multiple-hit games with 14 and was tied for second on the team with six multiple-RBI performances.
Jelnick was also selected to the 2012 Preseason All-Conference USA Softball Team after earning Second Team All-Conference USA honors and Conference USA All-Freshman Team distinction as a true freshman during the 2011 season. She is one of only five players to repeat from last year's preseason selections along Samantha Cobb - Tulsa, Jill Barrett - Tulsa, Holly Anderson - Houston and Caitlin Everett - Tulsa.
As a team, ECU was picked to finish sixth in C-USA, trailing Tulsa, Houston, UCF, UAB and Marshall. The top five in the preseason poll finished in the top five of the 2012 regular season standings with four of those teams earning selection to the NCAA tournament. It was the third consecutive season that the league placed multiple teams in the field and the fourth time in conference history that at least four teams earned NCAA bids. C-USA has averaged nearly three bids per season since it began sponsoring softball in 2000 and has had nine multiple-bid seasons.
The Pirates were one of four teams to garner at least a first-place vote by the league's coaches. The Golden Hurricane, the defending Conference USA softball regular season and tournament champion, received six-of-the-nine first-place votes as the preseason favorite in the league. The Cougars were tabbed second and received one first-place tally. Memphis picked up the other first-place vote.
East Carolina begins the 2013 season two weeks from Friday hosting the Pirate Classic from Feb. 8-10. The Pirates first contest of the season will be at 2:30 p.m. against Cleveland State. The Conference USA Championship will take place May 9-11 at the Collins Family Softball Complex in Tulsa, Okla.
Conference USA Preseason Poll (1st-place votes)
Preseason All-Conference USA Team
P - Lacey Middlebrooks, Tulsa, Sr.
P - Mackenzie Audas, UCF, So.
C - Haley Outon, Houston, Jr.
IF - Samantha Cobb, Tulsa, Sr.
IF - Jill Barrett, Tulsa, Jr.
IF - Holly Anderson, Houston, Sr.
IF - Laura Curtis, Memphis, Sr.
IF - Farrah Sullivan, UCF, So.
IF - Jazmine Valle, Marshall, Sr.
OF - Caitlin Everett, Tulsa, Sr.
OF - Whitney Fletcher, UAB, Sr.
OF - Jill Jelnick, East Carolina, Jr.
OF - Kahley Novak, UCF, So.
UT - Kristen McGrath, UAB, Jr.
DP - Reina Gaber, Houston, Sr.
Haley Outon, Houston, Jr.
Lacey Middlebrooks, Tulsa, Sr.