Thursday, May 13, 2010

Gina Mason & Jessica Bergin Among Four UAlbany Players on All-America East Softball Team

Cambridge, Mass. - University at Albany's Gina Mason and Jessica Bergin headline a group of four student-athletes who were named to the 2010 America East All-Conference Softball Team, as announced on Wednesday, May 12 by the conference office. Mason, a junior first baseman from Sacramento, Calif., and Bergin, a junior outfielder from New Windsor, N.Y., were placed on the all-conference first team.

Michelle Connors, a senior infielder from Clifton Park, N.Y., and Kat Smith, a senior catcher from Pasadena, Texas, were each named to the all-conference second team. Kylie Apostolina and Allie Weiser garnered spots on the all-rookie team, marking the eighth consecutive season at least one Great Dane has been on the squad.

Mason, who made the all-conference second team last season and was an all-rookie pick in 2008, has had a breakthrough season as the team's top slugger who regularly bats in the cleanup spot. She was one of two players to start all 41 regular-season games and leads the team in several offensive categories, including batting average (.357), home runs (8), RBIs (30), hits (40), runs scored (24), slugging percentage (.634) and on-base percentage (.456). In addition, the junior ranks fifth in the conference in batting average, slugging percentage and on-base percentage. Defensively, Mason has a .976 fielding percentage. She already ranks fourth on the program's all-time list with 21 career home runs and is tied for fifth with 100 RBIs.

Bergin, who entered the season with a .249 career batting average, also improved her numbers this spring and is earning postseason recognition for the first time in her career. The junior, who leads the team with 17 stolen bases and ranks third in the league in the category, is second on the UAlbany squad behind Mason with a .301 batting average and a .524 slugging percentage. Almost half of her 31 hits have been for extra bases, including 10 doubles. Bergin, a 37-game starter, is batting a team-best .392 against league opposition. She blasted a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 10th inning to lead UAlbany to a 6-5 win over Binghamton in the America East opener and also had the game-winning hit in the series finale of a three-game set against Boston University.

Connors, a senior utility player who saw time at three different infield positions, is being honored by the conference for the third time in four seasons. She was a first-team all-conference selection and an all-rookie honoree as a freshman in 2007 and a member of the all-league second team in 2008. Connors, who started every game for the second consecutive season, enters this week's conference tournament as the team's hottest hitter. She is batting .529 over the last five games and has a .283 average this season. The four-year starter also has 35 career doubles and needs four more to break the school record. Her 23 career home runs rank third all-time, while her 100 RBIs are tied for fifth.

Smith, who has started 40 of 41 games, landed on the America East second team for the second straight year. She is batting .274 and ranks second on the team behind Mason with four home runs and 22 RBIs. Defensively, the catcher has not committed an error and has gunned down a league-best 10 base runners attempting to steal. A four-year starter, Smith had a walk-off home run, a three-run blast, in the team's 5-4 win over Binghamton and belted a three-run homer while recording four RBIs in a 9-1 road victory at Stony Brook. She has caught seven no-hitters, including four perfect games, as a collegian.

Apostolina has made 32 appearances and 28 starts, the most of any freshman on the squad, at third base and as the team's designated player. She has totaled 16 hits, including two home runs, and drove in 11 runs while scoring 10 times. Her best performances came when UAlbany swept a twinbill on the road against Siena on April 29. The freshman homered in each game and went a combined 3-for-5 with four RBIs.

Weiser made 18 appearances and 10 starts as a pitcher. The freshman made an immediate impact, posting a 1.50 earned run average in the season-opening tournament at Stetson. For her efforts, she was named the America East pitcher and rookie of the week. Weiser has a 5-5 record and a 3.15 ERA on the season. She won two of her three decisions in conference play and also picked up two victories against Siena. Weiser has fanned 47 batters against only 14 walks in 86.2 inning of work.

UAlbany has produced 58 all-conference players, including 30 first-team selections, since joining the conference in 2002.

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

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