McSweeney, Gum Win GAC Softball Awards

Arkansas Tech University’s Kristina McSweeney was named 2016 Great American Conference softball coach of the year and Tech’s Jalissa Gum was announced as the 2016 GAC softball pitcher of the year during an awards banquet in Bentonville on Wednesday, April 27.

McSweeney (photographed, left) led the Golden Suns (44-7 overall, 34-6 GAC) to the GAC regular season championship, a No. 1 NCAA Division II Central Region ranking and a consistent place in the top 10 of the National Fastpitch Coaches Association NCAA Division II top 25 poll during the 2016 regular season.

Arkansas Tech has already established a new school record for softball wins in a season with the postseason still to come.

Gum (photographed, right), a right-handed junior from Red Rock, Okla., is 18-1 with a 0.67 earned run average this season.

She leads the GAC and ranks second nationally in ERA. Gum also ranks second in NCAA Division II in fewest hits allowed per nine innings (3.12), and her 10.3 strikeouts per seven innings are seventh-most in the nation.

Gum was voted to the 2016 All-GAC first team as a pitcher and to the 2016 All-GAC second team as a utility player in recognition of her performance as a hitter. She is batting .399 with 45 runs batted in and a team-leading 10 home runs in 2016.

Arkansas Tech is also represented on the 2016 All-GAC second team by sophomore pitcher Morgan Vaughan of Bella Vista, sophomore second baseman Alex Edinger of Claremore, Okla., freshman shortstop Sarah Coronado of Frisco, Texas, senior outfielder Kambri Hill of Springdale and freshman designated player Destiny Crumpley of Little Elm, Texas.

The Golden Suns will open play in the 2016 GAC Tournament at Bentonville with a 2 p.m. game against Southern Nazarene University on Thursday, April 28. Live coverage will be provided by KCAB 97.1 FM/980 AM and