Francis Marion University senior outfielder Briana Barzola, sophomore shortstop Taylor Johnson, and sophomore catcher Chelsea Welty have been named to the 2017 Peach Belt Conference All-Academic Softball Team.
Barzola has a 3.89 cumulative grade point average as a general management and marketing double major, and earns the conference honor for the third consecutive year. Johnson is a political science major with a history minor and owns a 3.63 GPA, while Welty is a biology and psychology double major with a 3.93 GPA.
A native of West Linn, Oregon, Barzola has started all 48 games this season and leads the Patriots in batting (.392) and shares the team lead in runs scored (39). She has driven in 12 runs, owns a .411 on-base percentage, and ranks nationally as one of the toughest batters to strikeout with only six whiffs in 186 plate appearances.
Barzola, an All-Conference performer on the field in 2015 and a four-year starter for the Patriots, was named an NFCA All-America Scholar-Athlete each of the past three seasons. She has been selected to the Peach Belt Conference Presidential and the FMU Swamp Fox Athletic-Academic honor rolls at every opportunity, and is serving on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) for the third consecutive year. She is a member of Beta Gamma Sigma business honor society and Chi Alpha Sigma national college athlete honor society, and has twice earned a D2 ADA Academic Achievement Award.
Johnson, a native of San Diego, Calif., has started every game at shortstop for the past two seasons. She is currently batting .346 with a .466 on-base percentage, four home runs, and 26 RBIs. She leads the Patriots with 15 doubles.
She has been named to the FMU Swamp Fox Athletic-Academic Honor Roll all three of her semesters, and as a freshman was selected to the PBC Presidential Honor Roll.
Welty, an in-state native of St. Helena, S.C., is hitting .321 with nine doubles, five home runs, and 37 RBIs. From behind the plate, she has thrown out eight of 33 runners attempting to steal in 38 contests.
A two-year starter, Welty was chosen as a NFCA All-America Scholar-Athlete in 2016 and is serving on FMU's SAAC. She was also named to the PBC Presidential Honor Roll for 2016 and is a three-time honoree on the FMU Swamp Fox Athletic-Academic Honor Roll.
Francis Marion carries a 27-21 record into its Peach Belt Conference Tournament quarterfinal game with top-seeded and ninth-ranked University of North Georgia (41-10) on Friday at 6:30 p.m. in Milledgeville, Ga.
Barzola is a product of West Linn High School, while Johnson graduated from La Jolla Country Day School and Welty from Beaufort High School.
The All-Academic Team is part of a season-long program recognizing the outstanding accomplishments of PBC student-athletes in the classroom as well as on the field. To be eligible for the All-Academic team, a student-athlete must participate in at least half of her
team's games (either a starter or significant contributor), achieve a 3.30 cumulative grade point average (on a 4.0 scale), and have completed at least one full academic year at her current institution.
Founded in 1991, the Peach Belt consists of 14 member institutions in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida and Alabama. In its short history, the conference boasts 36 NCAA Division II national championships.