St. Peter, Minn. – The Gustavus softball team is set to take on the College of Saint Benedict in the opening round of the 2014 Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) Softball Playoffs on Friday, May 2nd at Augsburg College in Minneapolis. The Gusties enter the four-team double elimination playoff as the second seed after finishing the regular season with a record of 23-13 overall. Saint Benedict comes in as the third seed with a mark of 28-9 overall. Friday’s first pitch is set for 3:00 p.m.
The winner of Friday’s first contest will meet the winner of the other first round game between top-seeded St. Thomas (33-5), who has won each of the last 10 MIAC Playoff Championships, and fourth-seeded Bethel (23-16). That game will also begin at 3:00 p.m., at Macalester College. The winners will take on one another at 5:30 p.m., at Macalester, while the losers will battle for their tournament lives in the consolation bracket at Augsburg also at 5:30 p.m.
The tournament will continue on Saturday, May 3rd with the remaining game in the consolation bracket and the championship. The conference tournament champion will receive the MIAC’s automatic bid to the 2014 NCAA Division III Softball Tournament.
For more information about this weekend’s conference playoffs, visit the MIAC’s tournament headquarters by following the link below:
Gustavus enters the tournament after winning nine of its last 10 games to end the season, including four consecutive wins. The Gusties registered back-to-back sweeps last weekend, defeating Concordia 10-1 in game one and 21-2 in game two on Friday, April 25th. They followed the Friday sweep with a pair of wins over Hamline, winning game one 2-0 and game two 7-1 on Saturday, April 26th.
The Gusties will look to shortstop Shelby Nosan (Jr., Baudette, Minn.) to continue to lead the offense. The junior posts a .451 batting average (2nd/MIAC) on 51 hits (t-7th/MIAC) out of the leadoff spot this season. She also holds an on-base percentage of .519 (3rd/MIAC) and a slugging percentage of .699 (7th/MIAC) thanks to 19 extra-base hits. Kaitlyn Bicek (So., Northfield, Minn.) leads the team in runs batted in with 26 (10th/MIAC), while she, Nosan, and Kailey Morgan (Jr., Mound, Minn.) all have hit four home runs (t-13th/MIAC).
Rookie sensation Hannah Heacox (Stillwater, Minn.) will look to continue her brilliance in the circle this weekend. Heacox is most recently coming off a huge week that earned her both MIAC and NFCA National Pitcher-of-the-Week status after pitching 27 and two-thirds scoreless innings with 37 strikeouts on her way to a 4-0 record. For the season, the right-hander has pitched a total of 96 and a third innings with an earned run average (ERA) of 2.25 (3rd/MIAC). Heacox has also held her opponents to a .210 batting average and has struck out 105 batters (3rd/MIAC) on her way to an 11-2 record.
Fans can follow along with all of Friday’s action by watching the live video or by keeping up with the live stats, both of which will be provided by the Augsburg sports information department. Friday’s games will also be aired live on AM 860 KNUJ, as Tom Wheeler will be on hand for the live call.