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USI Softball earns automatic bid to NCAA Tournament; will host Midwest Regional

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Published: May. 9, 2022 at 3:38 PM CDT
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - University of Southern Indiana Softball’s “farewell tour” continues in dominant fashion.

The GLVC Tournament champions earned the automatic bid into the NCAA Division II softball tournament, finishing with an outstanding 43-10 record.

And having clinched the champion title, the Eagles are the top seed in Midwest region play.

Head coach Sue Kunkle says while she’s been in this position before, she’s thrilled for this team in particular to show their talents on the national stage.

”It was a big feat for us to win the conference tournament and I have so much faith in this team. We’ve really developed extremely good relationships with each other and I think that that helps,” Kunkle says.

”Think our mentality going into the GLVC tournament was definitely showing what USI softball can do. And the preseason poll, that’s also something that brought us together - showing that we don’t want to be ranked down there, we want to show that we’re number one,” USI softball sophomore catcher, Sammie Kihega says.

”We had this goal at the beginning of the year, we were going to make a run because it’s our last chance in DII, so just to watch it unfold and see how far we’ve come is really fun,” USI softball freshman outfielder Kennedy Nalley says.

USI will take on the 8-seed, Saginaw Valley, at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday in their opening game.

USI Softball was awarded the top overall seed for the NCAA II Midwest Region Tournament Monday morning in an announcement by the national office on ncaa.com. The Screaming Eagles will play host to the four-team NCAA II Midwest Region #1 Tournament Thursday-Saturday at the USI Softball Field.

The Eagles (43-10), who won their fifth Great Lakes Valley Conference Tournament title and first since 2017 Sunday, square off against No. 8 seed Saginaw Valley State University Thursday at 2:30 p.m. in game two. The opening game, scheduled for Thursday at noon, features the No. 4 seed, Lindenwood University, taking on the No. 5 seed, Drury University.

The winners of game one and game two will meet Friday at noon in the winner’s bracket, while the losers of those two contests will square off in the elimination bracket Friday at 2:30 p.m. There will be one more elimination bracket game Friday at 5 p.m., while the championship and “if necessary” games are Saturday at noon and 2:30 p.m., respectively.

This marks the second time in program history that USI has hosted the NCAA II Midwest Regional and the first time since 2017. It is the first time USI has hosted as the No. 1 seed.

If the Eagles come out of their half of the bracket, they’ll face the winner of the NCAA II Midwest Region #2 Tournament May 19-20 at the USI Softball Field.

The University of Indianapolis garnered the No. 2 seed and is hosting the NCAA II Midwest Region #2 Tournament. UIndy faces the No. 7 seed, the University of Findlay, in the opening round, while the No 3 seed, Grand Valley State University, takes on the No. 6 seed, Ohio Dominican University, in the other first-round contest.

Tickets for this weekend’s regional are $5 for adults and $3 for college students with valid ID and youth (ages 3-17). All games will be streamed live on the GLVC Sports Network, while USI’s games also will be carried on 95.7 The Spin as well as ESPN 97.7 The Ref. Live stats, audio and video links will be available on GoUSIEagles.com.

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