Moon Township, Pa. - Freshman pitcher Nicole Sleith (Smithton, Pa. / Yough) of the Robert Morris University softball team was selected as the Northeast Conference (NEC) Rookie of the Week in the league's initial release of the season Monday afternoon.
Since this is the first time that the NEC doled out weekly awards in 2012, the honors took into account all games played thus far this season.
This marks the second straight season in which a Colonial rookie has earned honors in the league's first release of the season as sophomore infielder Chelsea Siar (Glenshaw, Pa. / Shaler Area) grabbed rookie honors in the first week of 2011. RMU has also now claimed 11 of the past 32 weekly rookie honors dating to March 2009, a notable figure in an 11-team league.
Sleith also becomes the seventh active Colonial to have won a weekly honor.
Sleith notched wins in each of her first three collegiate appearances at Campbell's Hampton Inn Invitational Feb. 17-18 as she took down a trio of teams that all had winning records a season ago. On RMU's opening day, Sleith came on in relief in the opener and went the distance in the nightcap to help the Colonials start 2-0 with wins over Towson and the host Camels. She worked a combined 10 innings in the two appearances and allowed just eight hits and a lone run during her time in the circle. She also struck out seven batters and held opponents to a .229 average for the day. The following afternoon Sleith tallied the first shutout of her young career as she blanked Ohio University, allowing just three hits, all singles, in seven innings while registering five strikeouts against just one walk. The shutout was made more impressive since she had minimal run support as the Colonials held on for a 1-0 win.
This past Saturday Sleith picked up an eight-inning, complete-game victory over Kennesaw State before coming back that night to earn her first-collegiate save. She allowed three earned runs on five hits in a combined 8.1 innings while also registering her first-collegiate hit in the opener. Sleith finished up the weekend by throwing two scoreless innings against 2011 NCAA Tournament qualifier Georgia State.
Sleith has posted a 1.63 ERA over her first 34.1 collegiate innings. Opponents are hitting just .218 off of her, and she has tallied 29 strikeouts thus far.
Robert Morris will resume action this weekend when it heads to the nation's capital to once again play five games over three days. The Colonials will play a single game Friday, March 2, against Siena before facing two opponents both Saturday and Sunday. RMU will meet Stony Brook and host George Washington March 3 and will face Buffalo and Army March 4.
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