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PLU Faces Huntingdon in NCAA Tourney Opener

Pacific Lutheran, 37-11 this season, will face Huntingdon (Ala.), 28-13, in its NCAA Division III softball regional round opener at 4 p.m. (Central time) on Friday,  in Tyler, Texas.

PLU, which reached NCAA Division III postseason play by virtue of winning the Northwest Conference tournament championship, is the regional tournament's No. 2 seed. Huntingdon, the Great South Athletic Conference tournament winner, is the No. 7 seed.

Other teams in the seven-team regional tournament include No. 1 seed and tournament host Texas-Tyler, 36-7, which has a first-round bye before meeting the winner of a first round game between Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (Calif.), 28-13, and Louisiana College, also 28-13.

The other side of PLU's bracket has Redlands (Calif.), 31-11, playing Birmingham-Southern (Ala.), 34-9, with the winner advancing to play the winner of the PLU versus Huntingdon game.

Game times in the double-elimination tournament will be announced later today.

The winners of the eight regional tournaments being played at campus locations around the country will advance to the NCAA Division III national championship tournament scheduled for May 18-22 at the Moyer Complex in Salem, Va.

Lutes fans interested in listening to the PLU audio webcast can do so by clicking here.
UT-Tyler provides a video stream and live stats that can be accessed by clicking here.
UT-Tyler's tournament web site can be accessed by clicking here.

Following is a brief synopsis about the teams in the Tyler Regional:

No. 1 Seed - Texas-Tyler: 37-6 overall record, American Southwest Conference champions, automatic qualifier to Division III tournament, No. 7 ranking in the NFCA poll. Top players: Ashley Endsley, junior infielder, .412 average, 10 HR, 49 RBI; Katelyn Thomason, junior utility, .437 average, 3 HR, 42 RBI, 13-3 record, 1.85 earned run average, 98 1/3 IP; Heather Abshire, junior utility, .390 average, 32 RBI, 19-3 record, 1.57 earned run average, 18 complete games, 129 2/3 IP; Joey Cronin, junior utility, .417, 4 HR, 30 RBI, 14 steals.

No. 2 Seed - Pacific Lutheran: 37-11 record, Northwest Conference tournament champions, automatic qualifier, defeated defending national champion Linfield in the NWC tournament title game, No. 5 in the NFCA poll. Top players: Kaaren Hatlen, junior utility/designated player, 47 starts, .449 average, nine homers, 51 RBI, 13-4 record, 2.90 earned run average, 82.0 IP; Stacey Hagensen, senior pitcher/outfielder, .380 average, 5 HR, 33 RBI, 20-5 record, 1.11 earned run average, 17 complete games, 158 1/3 IP; Montessa Califano, junior outfielder, .370 average, three triples; Amanda Hall, junior first baseman, .368 average, 4 HR, 36 RBI; Lindsey Matsunaga, sophomore shortstop, .263 average, 6 HR, 34 RBI; Amanda Goings, senior outfielder, .323 average, 22 steals.

No. 3 Seed - Redlands: 31-11 record, Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, at-large qualifier, lost to Claremont-Mudd-Scripps in the SCIAC tournament title game, No. 15 ranking in the NFCA poll. Top players: Amanda Lievanos, sophomore outfielder, .484 average, 13 HR, 14 doubles, .898 slugging percentage, 57 RBI; Kayla Uphold, junior pitcher/utility, .430 average, 25 RBI, 19-4 record, 2.55 ERA, 70 strikeouts, 143.0 IP; Amanda Clark, sophomore infielder, .425 average, 12 steals; Rikki Scates, senior infielder, .389 average, 6 HR, 35 RBI; Breanna Ruelas, senior pitcher, 11-6 record, 2.75 ERA, 95 2/3 IP.

No. 4 Seed - Louisiana College: 28-13 record, American Southwest Conference, at-large qualifier, Lost to Texas-Tyler in the ASC championship game. Making eighth straight NCAA tournament appearance. Top players: Daniele Wilson, junior shortstop, .370 average, 7 HR, 37 RBI; Meggie Burkett, junior utility, .365 average, 15 steals; Devan Greene, senior third baseman, .339 average, 23 RBI; Rudi Aycock, sophomore pitcher, Leslie Eastham, junior pitcher, and Jordan Waldroup, junior pitcher, all appeared in more than 15 games and accounted for 85 percent of the team's innings pitched.

No. 5 Seed - Claremont Mudd-Scripps: 28-13 record, Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference tournament champions, automatic qualifier, defeated Redlands in the SCIAC championship game, No. 18 ranking in the NFCA poll. Top players: Emily Lopez, senior infielder, .387 average, 7 HR, 35 RBI; Harmony Palmer, junior infielder, .362 average, 30 RBI, 12 steals; Rebecca King, senior catcher, .330, 4 HR, 36 RBI; Hayley Schultz, freshman pitcher, 16-10 record, 1.70 ERA, 109 strikeouts, 168 2/3 IP; Rebecca Gularte, senior pitcher, 12-3 record, 2.78 ERA, 93.0 IP.

No. 6 Seed - Birmingham-Southern: 34-9 record, Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference champions, automatic qualifier, defeated Trinity in the SCAC title game. Top players: Ashley Bice, senior utility, .412 average, 6 HR, 36 RBI; Brittany Berkopec, junior infielder, .379; Taylor Bassett, freshman infielder, .300, 6 HR, 26 RBI; Bethany Fronk, freshman utility, 15-3 record, 1.10 ERA, 86 strikeouts, 133 2/3 IP; Ronni Ferris, senior utility, 13-5 record, 2.12 ERA, 130 strikeouts, 122 1/3 IP.

No. 7 Seed - Huntingdon: 28-13 record, Great South Athletic Conference Champions, automatic qualifier. Top players: Aleah Payne, senior shortstop, .458 average, 13 doubles, 12 triples, 6 HR, .878 slugging percentage, 44 RBI, 32 steals; Holly Ostrander, sophomore outfielder, .346, 31 RBI; Bree Giordana, senior pitcher, 17-7 record, 2.03 ERA, 152 strikeouts, 138.0 IP; Melissa McClure, junior pitcher, 10-6 record, 3.60 ERA, 101.0 IP.

- PLU -