Tide's Morgan Tops In SEC Softball

Alabama softball has the Southeastern Conference Player of the Year and the Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Year, the league has announced prior to the start of the SEC Tournament in Knoxville Thursday.

Alabama, the second seed in the SEC Tournament, will face Arkansas in the first round of the tournament at Tennessee on Thursday. Alabama is ranked third in the nation.

The Crimson Tide's Charlotte Morgan has been named SEC Player of the Year in a vote by the league's head coaches. The top freshman honor went to Bama's Amanda Locke. This marks the first time an Alabama player has won player of the year honors, but the sixth time—and second straight year—a Tider has been selected as the top freshman.

led the league in hitting (.447) and RBI (34), and helped guide Alabama to a 21-6 SEC record and the Western Division title. Morgan, who became the first Alabama player to collect three 50 or more RBI seasons, was also a threat in the circle. The pitcher/utiltity player made eight starts and recorded a 6-4 record in 62 innings pitched with 63 strikeouts. At the plate, the Moreno Valley, Calif. native recorded 34 RBI on 34 hits in 76 at bats during league play.

Locke, a utility/pitcher player hit .321, with 14 RBI and five home runs in conference play. The Mesquite, Texas native also made four SEC pitching appearances and in 4.2 innings did not allow a run.

The All-SEC Teams consist of 24 total student-athletes, along with a 12-member All-Freshman team and a nine-member All-Defensive Team. No ties were broken.

In addition to Morgan, Alabama's representatives on the All-SEC first team are pitcher Kelsi Dunne, infielder Kelley Montalvo, and outfielder Brittany Rogers. Bama did not have any second team picks.

Locke was joined on the Freshman All-SEC squad by outfielder Cassandra Reilly-Boccia.

Montalvo, Rogers and catcher Ashley Holcombe were Crimson Tide players on the SEC All-Defensive team.

For the second consecutive season, Florida's Stacey Nelson earned Pitcher of the Year. Nelson led the Gators as she posted a 19-1 record in the league and a 32-2 record overall. The Los Alamitos, Calif. native has 127 career wins which ranks her 8th best in the NCAA, second in the SEC. Nelson recorded her 1,000th career strikeout against Arkansas and threw two no-hitters against SEC teams this season. She leads the nation in ERA and shutouts and is second in victories. She went 54.2 innings without giving up a run, including 46 straight innings in SEC action.

Also for the second consecutive season, Florida's Tim Walton was named Coach of the Year. Walton guided the Gators to a 52-3 overall record and a 26-1 record in the SEC. The Gators have spent 10 weeks, nine consecutive, as the nation's No. 1 team in both the NFCA/USA Today and ESPN.com/USA Softball Polls. The Gators enter the SEC Tournament as the No. 1 seed and will defend their tournament title. Walton is only the second coach to win this honor in back-to-back seasons.

Tennessee's Lillian Hammond was named Scholar-Athlete of the Year as she boasts a 4.0 GPA in sociology - criminal justince and anthroplogy.

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