Carson-Newman Opens NCAA Southeast Regional 2 Softball Tournament on Friday Against Francis Marion
JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. — The 25th-ranked Carson-Newman softball is set to open the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional 2 Tournament on Friday against Francis Marion in Dahlonega, Ga.
The fifth-seeded Lady Eagles (36-10) are making a South Atlantic Conference record sixth-straight NCAA Tournament appearance. First pitch for Friday's contest is set for 5 p.m.
C-N, which enters the contest coming off of a runner-up finish in the SAC Tournament, will turn to a pair second team All-SAC selections to lead the way in Jessie Howard (Knoxville, Tenn.) and Sara Little (Calhoun, Ga.).
Howard, a senior shortstop, was among the conference leaders this season in batting average (.396), runs scored (43), triples (four) and stolen bases (31). Little, a senior first baseman, led the team and was near the top of the league leaders in home runs (nine), RBIs (49), on base percentage (.476) and slugging percentage (.641).
Fourth-seeded Francis Marion (34-14) received an at-large bid to the regional after a second-place finish in the Peach Belt Conference Tournament.
The bid is the Patriots second in three seasons. Francis Marion won the region title in 2008 and advance to the Division II World Series. C-N faced the Patriots in the South Regional in 2008, falling 4-3. Francis Marion leads the all-time series 4-2.
Top-ranked North Georgia (45-0), the regional host, is on the other side of the bracket. The Saints, who earned an automatic bid after winning their second-straight PBC Tournament title, will face eighth-seeded Queens (N.C.) on Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The Royals (26-23) claimed an automatic bid to the regional after winning the Conference Carolinas Tournament.
C-N will be playing in familiar territory over the weekend. The Lady Eagles won the Southeast Regional 2 Tournament last season in Hickory, N.C., and advanced to the Super Regional in Dahlonega, where they fell to top-ranked North Georgia.
The winner of the double elimination regional will advance to the Super Regionals on May 21-22. The finals will be held May 27-31 at the Heritage Park Softball Complex in St. Joseph, Mo.