WINTER PARK, Fla. (May 31,
2011)- A banner 2010 season was followed by a historic 2011 that firmly thrust
Rollins into the national spotlight. The 2011 campaign marked the
second-consecutive year the Tars tallied 45 wins as the squad landed No. 16 in the final national poll. The
Tars posted a record of 45-4 and set a program record 0.918 winning percentage
while collecting their third straight Sunshine State Conference crown and fifth
straight NCAA appearance. They were ranked as high as No. 4 in the nation and also earned the right to host the Division II
South Region Tournament for the first time in program history.
Rollins returned nine players from the 2010 squad and added five players, including three freshmen and two transfers. The biggest addition was to the pitching staff, which saw the Tars add Hope Bitzer and Amye McIntyre to the rotation with returner Kirsten Frame. Bitzer became the ace of the staff going 18-1 with a 0.61 ERA, tops in Division II. She was named First Team NFCA and Daktronics All-American, First Team NFCA All-Region, and Daktronics South Region Pitcher of the Year along with SSC Pitcher of the Year. Frame followed up her spectacular freshmen season with Second Team All-SSC and Second Team Daktronics All-Region honors. She went 15-2 with a 0.66 ERA, which was third best in Division II to give a formidable punch to opposing lineups. McIntyre also saw time in the circle for the Tars, going 10-1 with a 1.25 ERA, helping strengthen the staff.
Christine Roser finished a remarkable 2011 season to cap off her illustrious career in a Tars uniform. Roser left an indelible mark on the record books leaving Rollins as the career leader in hits, doubles, home runs, RBIs and runs scored. Roser tallied First Team NFCA and Daktronics All-American, First Team NFCA All-Region, Daktronics South Region Player of the Year, and SCC Player of the Year awards to fill her already cramped trophy case. She finished with a .415 batting average and 48 RBIs to lead the team and also went 2-0 in the circle with a 0.64 ERA.
The infield returned three veterans and welcomed one freshman to the crew to post the league's best fielding percentage. Second basemen Krista Rodden garnered First Team NFCA All-Region, Honorable Mention NFCA All-American, First Team Daktronics All-Region and First Team All-SSC. She quickly became one of the most clutch player for the Tars, delivering timely hits to help secure wins late in the game. Rodden hit .361 with 39 RBIs and held a .979 fielding percentage. Hilary Brown took the reigns over at third base and provided the Tars with exceptional play in the field and provided clutch hitting at the plate.
Joining Rodden in the infield were veterans Amber Pederson at shortstop and Jessica Moreland first base, who each received postseason accolades for their senior seasons. Pederson secured First Team All-SSC, First Team Daktronics All-Region and NFCA All-Region Second Team, while Moreland was nominated to Daktronics All-Region Second Team and Second Team All-SSC.
Centerfielder Monica Meadows returned to form after sitting 2010 out with an injury the entire season. Meadows hit .370 with 33 RBIs from the leadoff spot. She was selected to First Team All-SSC, Second Team Daktronics All-Region and Second Team NFCA All-Region. Flanking Meadows for most of the season were veteran Meredith Foster and transfer Lawna Hunter. The pair combined to drive in 28 runs with Foster hitting .307 and Hunter notching a .311 average.
The newcomers made an immediate impact on the Tars, with
Veronica Alred grabbing the illustrious SSC Freshmen of the Year award. This
marks the second consecutive year the Tars have captured the award with Frame
receiving the honors last year. Alred saw action in 34 games and hit .345,
while driving in 23 runs. Nikki Gouldthread gave the Tars a potent bat in
pinch-hitting situations with the freshman driving in seven runs and notching one
Head coach Michelle Frew collected her 500th victory at Rollins on February 24th against Florida Southern and was named SSC Coach of the Year after leading the Tars to the best regular season in program history, wielding a 45-2 record heading into the tournament.
Rollins started the season on a tear winning 35 of its first 36 games. This included a 4-1 mark on their trip to Hawaii, which saw the Tars drop one game against the defending national champion Hawaii Pacific. The Tars racked up five victories against nationally ranked opponents, including a no-hitter from Bitzer against No.14 Lenoir-Rhyne in the Francis Marion Patriot Invitational. Rollins picked up two victories against twelfth-ranked Tampa and against third-ranked Hawaii Pacific. Rollins again breezed through the conference portion of their schedule, going 22-1.
Rollins had 10 players hit over .300 for the year along with 11 players collecting one home run or more to support the offense. The Tars hit a staggering .341 as a team, while opponents hit .153 against the formidable pitching lineup for Rollins.
Once in the NCAA Tournament the Tars faced familiar opponents with Arkansas-Monticello, West Alabama and Tampa slated to matchup in the bracket. Rollins drew West Alabama in their first game and suffered heartbreak in nine innings to the Tigers, losing 4-2. Rollins faced Arkansas-Monticello and, for the second-straight season, the Cotton Blossoms ended the Tars season, winning 2-0.