Rager named Pitcher of the Year, four Eagles receive All-SAC laurels

Rager named Pitcher of the Year, four Eagles receive All-SAC laurels

VIDEO: Allison Rager Interview

ROCK HILL, S.C. – Carson-Newman senior hurler Allison Rager (Elkview, W.Va.) was named South Atlantic Conference Pitcher of the Year and joined three other Eagles in earning all-conference honors, the league office announced Thursday.

Rager and outfielder Abby Fiessinger (Benton, Ky.) picked up first team honors, while Lacie Rinus (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) and KaraLynne Levi (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) were placed on the second team as a utility player and catcher, respectively. 

Rager becomes the third Eagle to earn South Atlantic Conference Pitcher of the Year following Rinus in 2017 and Zoe Heim in 2008.

Fiessinger earns All-SAC honors for a third straight season and a spot on the first team for a second straight year.  Rinus earned All-SAC honors for a third straight year and her first as a utility player; she had previously received recognition as a pitcher.   Finally, Levi makes it back to All-SAC honors after earning honorable mention honors as a freshman.

In her lone season with the Eagles, Rager shined in the circle.  The Morehead State transfer had the third lowest ERA in the South Atlantic Conference at 2.13. She finished the year fourth  in the league in batting average against (2.13) and led the league in shutouts (five).  Her 104 strikeouts were ninth in the conference.

"This year was fantastic, and a great way to end my four years in college," Rager said. "Pitcher of the Year is an awesome award to get because there are some really good pitchers in this conference. I definitely wouldn't have gotten this without my defense behind me."

Rager had two standout games on the year.  She earned South Atlantic Conference Pitcher of the Week honors after collecting three wins against Lenoir-Rhyne and Tusculum.  Her start against Lenoir-Rhyne featured a 13-strikeout performance.  That total was good for a career high and the fourth-most in Carson-Newman history. 

In her final regular season home game, Rager again dazzled. She twirled a no-hitter against regionally-ranked Newberry to help clinch Carson-Newman a second-place finish in the SAC standings. 

Rager only allowed four base runners in that game.  She also had a double-digit strikeout performance (11) against North Greenville. At the plate, Rager fell in love with the long ball. The Elkview, W.Va. native homered seven times and drove in 20 runs. 

Fiessinger was a hitting machine for Carson-Newman.  The junior finished the year as the SAC's regular season batting champion with a .442 average.  At present standing, her batting average would be the 10th-highest single season total in program history. 

She is also slugging .841. If the season were to end today, she would be the fourth Eagle all-time to slug better than .800 for a year and finish with the second-highest slugging percentage in program history to Brittany Hefner and her legendary 2013 season. 

Fiessinger has racked up 15 multi-hit efforts.  She has a septet of three-hit days.  The junior drove in five runs in a win over Tusculum, the second most in her career and tied for the 10th most for a single-game in program history.  The Benton, Ky.-native has six-multi-RBI days and is the team leader with nine home runs. 

Fiesssinger rides a 10-game hitting streak into the SAC tournament. She also hit successfully in six straight games twice earlier in the year.

The junior hasn't gone back-to-back games this year  without a hit.  Her batting average hasn't dipped below .404 on the year. With 16 doubles, Fiessinger ranks 10th in the nation in two-baggers. 

Rinus ranked second on the team with her .349 batting average.  She roped nine doubles, hit four triples and drilled four home runs en route to driving in 21 on the year.

The junior split time equally between centerfield and the circle. As a pitcher she tallied an 11-3 record with a 2.99 ERA. She has 60 strikeouts against 24 walks on the year and has gone a complete game 10 times.  She fanned a season-high eight in a home contest with Coker.  Regardless of position, she has played error-free softball this year. 

Rinus has picked up 13 multi-hit efforts and five multi-RBI efforts on the year.  She tallied her lone three-hit effort in the Eagles' 6-0 win on senior day over Newberry. 

Levi once again featured prominently among the top defensive catchers in the South Atlantic Conference and the Southeast Region.  Levi is the only player in the league with more than 150 chances and without an error.  She has only issued one passed ball on the year. She has only given up six stolen bases on the year, the fewest in the league among catchers. That comes while catching a third of runners stealing against her, the second highest percentage in the conference. 

At the plate, Levi leads Carson-Newman in RBI with 31.  She also has a team-best seven game-winning RBI.  She is second on the team in home runs with eight. Levi also has a trio of doubles and a triple.  She has seven multi-hit efforts and six multi-RBI days.

Levi has been hit by a pitch a whopping 47 times in her career.  That's  the second most in school history and the 22nd most in NCAA history. 

All four Eagles will be in action Saturday at 4:30 p.m. against sixth-seeded Queens in the South Atlantic Conference tournament.

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