SALEM, Va. – The No. 4 Salisbury University softball team kicks off play in the NCAA Division III National Championship on Thursday, May 21, with a 4 p.m., first pitch scheduled against DePauw University at the Moyer Sports Complex.
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How we got here
The Sea Gulls earned an at-large bid into the tournament following a 30-6 regular season and hosted one of 16 NCAA regionals. Salisbury won its three games in the regional, defeating McDaniel College and topping No. 10 Virginia Wesleyan College twice to advance from the three-team regional. In the super regional, against No. 11 Christopher Newport University, Salisbury pulled off the sweep, winning 8-0 in the first game, in six innings, and followed with a 5-0 win in the second game to punch the team's ticket to Salem.
How they got here
The Tigers enter the championship with a 35-14 overall record, and battled against elimination in the super regional round to get to this point. In the regional, DePauw won three straight games to advance before falling in the super regional opener against Moravian College, 6-5 in eight innings, before rallying in the second game to claim a 9-6 win and took the rubber game, 10-7, to win the series.
Salisbury and DePauw have met three times, with the Sea Gulls holding a 3-0 edge in the all-time series. Salisbury claimed the first game ever between the two, 6-1, in March of 2009 and then grabbed a doubleheader sweep this season. All three of the games were contested in Salisbury.
Last time we met
On March 22, Salisbury hosted the Tigers for a doubleheader at the SU Softball Field, with the Sea Gulls collecting the sweep with wins of 6-3 and 6-1. Senior catcher Rebecca Hoey paced the Salisbury offense with four hits in the two games.
Narrowing the field
In the first two rounds of the national tournament a number of top teams were upset and eliminated from contention. The final eight teams feature just four nationally ranked squads, though three of the top four teams remain. No. 1 Tufts University is on Salisbury's side of the bracket, while No. 2 University of Texas-Tyler and No. 15 Kean University are on the opposite side of the bracket.
The winner of Thursday's game will advance to a 6:30 p.m., contest on Friday, May 22, taking on the winner of the Tufts/Alma College game. While the losers of the two games would square off in an elimination contest at 1:30 p.m., on Friday.