JSU's McGinnis, Borders & Harbin Highlight OVC Honors

The Jacksonville State softball team placed nine different players on the 2014 All-Ohio Valley Conference softball teams on Tuesday, highlighted by Tiffany Harbin earning Pitcher of the Year, Sara Borders Player of the Year and Jana McGinnis Coach of the Year honors. The league office released its all-conference teams on the eve of its 2014 tournament, hosted at University Field by the regular season champion Gamecocks (39-13, 22-5 OVC). They will face eighth seeded Morehead State at 5:30 p.m. in Wednesday's first round of the four-day event and will do so with a roster full of all-conference honorees. Borders and Harbin are joined on the All-OVC First Team by first baseman Amanda Maldonado, catcher Savannah Sloan and right fielder Ella Denes. Freshman designated player Taylor Sloan was a second team pick and was joined on the All-Newcomer Team by pitcher Logan Green and outfielders Melanie Steer and Stephanie Lewis. In her 21st season as the Gamecocks' head coach, McGinnis claims her fourth OVC Coach of the Year honor in 11 seasons in the league. She led her alma mater to its fourth OVC regular season title and its first since 2009. Harbin, a native of Hazel Green, has had a dominant senior season in the circle for the Gamecocks to earn first team All-OVC honors for the second time. She becomes the fourth JSU player to earn OVC Pitcher of the Year honors and did so by putting up her most impressive numbers against OVC hitters. On the year, she holds a 17-6 record and a 1.86 earned run average and 201 strikeouts, while tossing 13 shutouts to lead the nation in that category. Her performance against league foes has been even better. In 17 appearances against league foes, Harbin is 13-2 with two saves and a league-best 0.69 earned run average. She closes the regular season with a streak of 48.2 consecutive scoreless innings and in 101.2 innings pitched in league play, she has put a zero on the board in 96 of them. League hitters are hitting .153 against her and haven't scored a run on her since April 6. She was the league's Freshman of the Year and was a first teamer in 2011, while grabbing second team honors in 2012. Borders, a second baseman from Alexandria, grabs first team all-conference honors for the second-straight year and becomes JSU's fourth OVC Player of the Year after leading the OVC in almost every offensive category. Her .430 average, 68 hits, 13 home runs, 15 doubles, 48 runs scored and 49 runs batted in all topped the league rankings, as did her 126 total bases, .528 on-base percentage and .797 slugging percentage. That slugging percentage is on pace to break the school record set by Daniela Pappano in 2004 and is good enough to rank 21st nationally. She also ranks in the nation's top 30 in average and on base percentage. In league play, Borders hit .400 with seven doubles, five homers and 25 RBI and was walked 17 times in 27 games. Maldonado, a senior first baseman from Tucson, Arizona, saw her game come full circle in her second year at JSU after transferring from Eastern Arizona College prior to the 2013 season. After hitting one homer as a junior, her senior year has seen her belt eight homers and drive in 32 runs. She also has 11 doubles and is batting .320 heading into this week's tournament. In the field, she has committed just one error in 348 chances for a .997 fielding percentage. Savannah Sloan grabbed a spot on her first All-OVC team after hitting .328 at the plate and emerging as one of the league's top defensive backstops. The junior from Reynolds, Ga., boasts a .985 fielding percentage behind the plate, from where she has thrown out 42 percent of runners trying to steal this season. She hit .366 in conference game with all four of her home runs and 14 of her 18 RBI. Denes earned All-OVC honors as a sophomore for the first time after being named to the league's All-Newcomer Team as a freshman a year ago. Also a great defender, the Pisgah native did not commit an error in 2014 while setting up the most prolific offense in the OVC from the leadoff spot. She hit .290 from the top of the lineup with eight doubles, three triples and six homers, while driving in 26 runs and hitting over .300 in league play. Taylor Sloan made a splash in her first collegiate season to nab Second Team All-OVC and All-Newcomer honors as the Gamecocks' designated player. The Warrior native is second on the team with a .346 average and a .349 mark in league games. She doubled 10 times to go with a triple and a homer, while also tying Savannah Sloan for the team lead with seven sac bunts. Freshman Logan Green was named to the All-Newcomer Team as well after a very impressive debut season in the circle for JSU. The Hebron, Maryland, native was 11-3 with a 2.71 ERA on the year, thanks to a 7-2 mark and a 2.41 ERA in conference games. In 17 starts, she tossed nine complete games and five shutouts, including a no-hitter of Southeast Missouri on April 18. Junior Melanie Steer and freshman Stephanie Lewis split time rotating in the outfield for the Gamecocks in their first seasons in Jacksonville and earned All-Newcomer nods for their efforts. Steer, a native of Scarborough, Ontario, and a transfer from Lake Land College in Illinois, hit .294 on the year but boasted a .382 batting average against OVC pitchers. She drove in nine of her 11 runs in league games. Lewis hit .308 in the regular season but also did most of her damage in league play. The freshman from Fort Meade, Florida, hit .308 on the year, a stat that was bolstered by a .354 average in conference play. She also doubled three times and homered once with 14 RBI against OVC pitchers. The Gamecocks' five first team All-OVC players were three more than any other team. (Courtesy: JSU Sports Information)

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