Georgia Gwinnett College Hosting Conference Softball Championships Beginning May 1
Georgia Gwinnett College is set to play host to the 2014 Association of Independent Institutions championship tournament this Thursday through Saturday, May 1-3, on campus in Lawrenceville.
The six-team, double-elimination tournament will take place at the state-of-the-art Grizzly Softball Complex, which is in its first full season of use.
Three teams ranked in the national top-20, including two top-five teams, help make up the highly-competitive field.
Host GGC will make its first-ever softball postseason appearance in the program’s second season of competition.
A pair of berths to the NAIA National Championship Opening Round will be on the line as action gets underway Thursday, May 1.
The opening round game pits third-seeded University of Houston-Victoria (Victoria, Texas) against sixth-seeded University of British Columbia (Vancouver, B.C.) at 11 a.m. ET.
At approximately 1:30 p.m. Thursday, the fourth-seeded and host Grizzlies make their postseason debut against fifth-seeded Lindenwood University-Belleville (Belleville, Ill.).
The winner of Game 1 will advance to face second-seeded California State University San Marcos (San Marcos, Calif.) at 4 p.m. Thursday, while the final game of the day matches the Game 2 winner against top-seeded Louisiana State University at Alexandria (Alexandria, La.) at 6:30 p.m. that evening.
Action continues Friday with four games beginning at 11 a.m., and the tournament concludes with the championship round on Saturday, beginning at 10 a.m.
(1) LSU Alexandria (29-3)
The NAIA No. 3 Generals went a combined 5-0 during the regular season against this year’s A.I.I. postseason field, including four wins over Houston-Victoria. LSUA is 18-3 away from home and rides an eight-game winning streak.
The Generals are led by junior outfielder Brooke Thomas’ .457 batting average, plus junior infielder Taylor Simon’s team-high 36 RBIs. Senior pitcher Logan Hebert is unbeaten in the circle this year at 15-0.
(2) Cal State San Marcos (35-5-1)
The 2012 and 2010 A.I.I. champion Cougars have won 22 of their last 24 games heading into play this week. NAIA No. 5 CSUSM is 14-3 away from home on the year and its lone action against this year’s tournament teams came Feb. 26 against Lindenwood-Belleville. The Cougars won game one before game two ended in a tie.
Senior infielder Mallory Campbell has a team-leading .396 batting average while senior outfielder Alex Miller has driven in 39 runs. Junior pitcher Katie Wilkinson has 19 wins to lead CSUSM.
(3) Houston-Victoria (32-11)
The defending A.I.I. champion Jaguars enter the tournament on a 10-game winning streak. NAIA No. 19 UHV is 17-8 at a road or neutral site this season, but is winless in four contests against top-seeded LSUA.
Junior outfielder Rachel Laird leads the team with a while freshman Shelby Smith has a team-high 50 RBIs and freshman utility player Savannah Crittenden has 11 victories in the circle.
(4) Georgia Gwinnett (38-8-1)
The Grizzlies set a new program mark with 38 wins during the regular season, a 20-win improvement from the team’s inaugural season. GGC’s longest winning streak during the year reached eight games and the team won each of the last four games of the season by shutout.
Junior infielder Cassidy Littlefield leads the Grizzlies in a host of categories, including with her .486 batting average. Senior infielder Heaven Hinton’s 49 RBIs are first on the club while junior Kayla Byrom and sophomore Ashley Beyke each own 19 wins in the circle this year.
(5) Lindenwood-Belleville (32-21-1)
The Lynx enter the tournament 0-2-1 during the regular season against this year’s field and are 18-17-1 away from home in 2014. Lindenwood-Belleville posted a five-game winning streak during the year and won its last three games of the regular season on the road.
The team is led by junior infielder Kaylin Stewart’s .391 average and 41 RBIs from junior utility player Jamie Navarro. Junior pitcher Michele Pilster has a team-high 13 wins for the Lynx.
(6) British Columbia (14-13)
The Thunderbirds shook off a slow start to climb above .500 on the year, winning their final six games of the regular season. British Columbia has not faced an A.I.I. tournament team yet this year.
Freshman utility player Lindsey Ogilvie boasts a team-leading .391 average and junior infielder Yasmin Bains has 21 RBIs to lead the squad. Senior pitcher Alana Westerhof has nine wins to lead the Thunderbirds this year, who have played all 27 games away from home this season.