Taylor Harkins named SAA Pitcher of the Year

Taylor Harkins (photo by Jimmy Mitchell)
Taylor Harkins (photo by Jimmy Mitchell)

CONWAY, Ark.—Freshman Taylor Harkins was named Pitcher of the Year, and eight Panthers earned All-Conference honors Thursday evening at the Southern Athletic Association Softball Championship banquet, hosted by Hendrix College in Conway, Ark., on the eve of the 2014 SAA Championship.

A freshman from Mountain Brook, Ala., Harkins was terrific in the circle for Birmingham-Southern in 2014 despite pitching the entire campaign with a fractured vertebra. Nonetheless, she gutted through a sparkling season in which she posted an 8-2 record in conference play and a microscopic season-best earned run average of 1.35. She twirled a second-most six shutouts while limiting her opponents to a third-best .193 batting average. Over 109 innings pitched on the season Harkins walked just 24 batters and yielded only 12 earned runs in 13 conference starts.

Harkins was joined on the First Team by junior Hannah Harris and freshman Amanda Ballew at outfield and junior Bethany Fronk at utility. Fronk also earned a spot on the Second Team as a pitcher, and she was joined on the Second Team by junior first baseman Alyssa Statham and freshman outfielder Maddie Ridgway. Junior Taylor Bassett was named Honorable Mention All-SAA as a designated player.

The second-seeded Panthers begin tournament play tomorrow against seventh-seeded Sewanee at 2 p.m., and will play again, win or lose, at 6 p.m. To view the complete schedule, visit the official tournament site here.