Guilord's Franklin, Bittner Earn All-State Diamond Honors

Greensboro, NC --  Guilford College's Jennifer Franklin (Greensboro, NC/S. Guilford) and Rob Bittner (Wilmington, DE/Salesianum) earned all-state recognition from the North Carolina Collegiate Sports Information Association (NCCSIA) earlier this week. Franklin received all-state softball honors and Bittner represented Guilford on the group's baseball team.

The squads consist of NCAA Division II, NCAA Division III and NAIA student-athletes from North Carolina colleges and universities.  North Carolina sports information directors submitted nominees and NCCSIA members selected the team.

Franklin captured Second Team All-Atlantic Region honors from the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) earlier this month and was a First Team All-Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) honoree. The center fielder held a share of the team lead in every offensive category save stolen bases, where she ranked second, and RBIs, where she finished third. She hit .393 with 15 doubles, four homers and 17 RBIs in 40 games. The three-year starter placed among the ODAC's toughest hitters to strike out, fanning only five times, the lowest figure among Guilford regulars. Franklin paced the conference in total bases (86) and doubles (15) and ranked second in hits (55) and home runs.

Head coach Ty Cook's Quakers finished the season with a 16-24 record overall, 8-8 in the ODAC. They set school standards for the most overall and conference wins in a season. Guilford was eliminated in the six-team, double-elimination ODAC Tournament in Salem, VA. Guilford fell to fourth-seeded Bridgewater, 4-3 in eight innings, and third-seeded Virginia Wesleyan, 6-4. The Quakers expect 10 letter winners back next season.

Bittner, a first baseman, received honorable mention All-ODAC honors in 2005. He shared Guilford's 2004-05 Best Undergraduate Male Athlete Award with golfer Colin Clark and won the baseball team's Most Valuable Hitter and Most Valuable Player prizes. He shared the team lead in every offensive statistical category, save runs scored, doubles and triples. Bittner hit a career-best .403 with an ODAC-leading 10 home runs and 45 RBIs, which ranked fourth in the league. He had 17 multi-hit games, including a 5-for-5 performance with three runs scored and two RBIs against Piedmont Feb. 26. Bittner ranks sixth in school history in career-home runs (19) and 10th in career-RBIs (99).

A left-handed hitter, Bittner batted .310 in 29 at-bats versus southpaws in 2005. Additionally, he batted .450 with runners on base and upped that mark to .467 with runners in scoring position. Defensively, in 377 chances Bittner posted a .984 fielding percentage, tops among Guilford's regulars.

Coach Gene Baker's squad finished with a 24-17 overall record, the ninth-highest win total in Guilford history and its fourth straight 20-win season, a school record. The Quakers matched the Guilford standard with a 12-6 ODAC mark. Baker expects 23 returning letter winners next year.