Photo Courtesy of Matt Jones
BANNER ELK, N.C. – After capturing the Conference Carolinas Tournament Championship late last month, the Lees-McRae College softball team will look to maintain that momentum this week when it makes its first appearance in the NCAA Tournament in program history. The Bobcats will open the tournament with a matchup against the University of North Georgia on Thursday afternoon in Dahlonega, Georgia. First pitch is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.
Last Time Out - The last time the Bobcats were on the field was when they captured their first league title in the history of the program. Lees-McRae not only took home the championship but it also became the first team to go through the tournament without a loss since 2017 when North Greenville ran the table.
Regional Rundown – The Bobcats and North Georgia will be joined in Dahlonega by fourth-seeded Coker College and fifth-seeded Young Harris College. These four teams will compete in a double elimination tournament running from May 9-11.
Other Side of the Bracket – The games in Dahlonega will not be the only games being played in the Southeast Region this week. The other half of the region, which will take place in Jefferson City, Tennessee, will feature second-seeded Carson-Newman, third-seeded Lincoln Memorial, sixth-seeded Wingate and seventh-seeded Anderson. The winners of the two regionals this week will match up next weekend at the highest remaining seed for a best two out of three series for a spot in the College World Series on the line.
Tournament Information – To find more information about this week's regional in regional, please visit the Tournament Central page where you can find game times, visitors' guide, parking guide, tickets and other pertinent information. The Tournament Central page can be found HERE.
About the Possible Opponents – Lees-McRae's first opponent this week is also coming off a conference championship as North Georgia captured the Peach Belt Conference Tournament title last weekend. The Nighthawks are 42-11 coming into the NCAA Tournament ranking No. 5 in the country. UNG's strength is its pitching staff as it holds a 1.31 ERA. A major reason for that is Kylee Smith who is 27-2 on the 2019 season with a 0.70 ERA to go along with 281 strikeouts in 189.1 innings pitched.
Coker, which will matchup against Young Harris on Thursday, enters the tournament with a record of 31-17. Much like North Georgia, the Cobras are strong in the pitching department. Coker boasts a 2.53 team ERA. Additionally, they have three pitchers that have logged at least 88 innings in the circle with ERAs 3.01 or lower.
Lastly, Young Harris comes into Thursday's matchup with Coker with a 37-17 record. The Mountain Lions have been playing very well coming into the NCAA Tournament as they have won 12 of their last 13 games. Young Harris is a balanced team with a team batting average checking in at .304 and a team ERA at 2.23.