LOUISVILLLE – Wednesday was a good day for Carson-Newman softball.
The Eagles vaulted back into the national rankings for the first time since mid-March, inserting themselves back into the NFCA top 25 at No. 23.
However, far more importantly, Carson-Newman bumped past Lincoln Memorial and is now second in the final edition of the region rankings. With only games in the Peach Belt tournament left to be played in the Southeast Region, it more than likely means Carson-Newman will host its first regional in school history.
Carson-Newman's resume was strengthened by four straight wins over regionally-ranked foes before losing to Anderson in the SAC tournament championship game. The Eagles swept Newberry to finish to close the regular season before picking up wins over Queens and Coker in the first two rounds of the SAC tournament.
North Georgia is the region's top-ranked team for a third straight ranking. Six South Atlantic Conference are represented in the rankings. After Carson-Newman in second, rival Lincoln Memorial sits in third and Coker fourth. Wingate and Newberry check in in sixth and seventh, while Lenoir-Rhyne is on the outside looking in in 10th.
The conference champions from the South Atlantic Conference, Peach Belt and Conference Carolinas combined with the top five teams from the region rankings go on to make up the Southeast Regional. Chaos from the SAC and CC tournaments has already narrowed the field. Lees-McRae and Anderson, both of whom are not regionally-ranked, won the CC and SAC tournament titles, likely bumping Newberry and eighth-ranked Columbus State from the field.
In addition to the Cougars, the Peach Belt also claims the fifth and ninth spots in the rankings with Young Harris and Georgia College, respectively.
Carson-Newman checks a ton of favorable boxes. The Eagles have the region's top RPI, the highest winning percentage against other regionally-ranked teams and the region's best record against other Division II schools with records above .500.
The only box that Carson-Newman doesn't check is its strength of schedule, and even there, the Eagles are on firm footing. C-N has the third-best strength of schedule among regionally-ranked teams behind Lenoir-Rhyne and Lincoln Memorial.
Regardless of where the Eagles end up, C-N is a lock to make its third straight regional and its 15th overall.
Selections for the regional tournaments are announced on Monday, May 6, with the tournaments played from May 9-11. Each region has two, four-team sub-regional tournaments that are double-elimination and hosted on campus sites by the top two seeds in the region.