Lexington, Ky. – The Transylvania softball team will host the 2018 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Softball Tournament beginning Friday, May 5 at Hall Field.
The Pioneers, three-time reigning regular-season champions of the HCAC, clinched the No. 1 seed in the upcoming tournament by completing a 14-2 run through the conference regular-season schedule to finish in first place.
After sharing the co-champion regular-season mantle with Anderson University, last year's hosts of the 2017 tournament, the HCAC Softball Tournament returns to Lexington for the first time in two seasons. The Pioneers will welcome No. 2 seed Franklin College (26-9, 11-5 HCAC), No. 3 seed Mount St. Joseph University (22-12, 11-5 HCAC), No. 4 seed Defiance College (22-12, 10-6 HCAC), and No. 5 seed Manchester University (17-19, 9-7 HCAC) to Lexington to determine the conference's automatic qualifier for the NCAA Tournament.
For the first time in conference history, the tournament will expand from four to five teams, extending the tournament from two to three days. The HCAC Championship game is scheduled for 12:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 6 with an if-necessary game to follow in the double-elimination format tournament.
The first game of the tournament for Transylvania is scheduled for Friday at 2:00 p.m. Transylvania will face the winner of No. 5 Manchester and No. 4 Defiance who square off earlier that day at 10:00 a.m.
The Pioneers are seeking their second straight HCAC Tournament championship after sweeping all three of their opponents in last season's tournament to clinch the automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. In 2017, Transylvania went on its longest postseason trek in program history, advancing to the Super Regional round of the NCAA Division III Softball team for the first time.
The Pioneers have put together a 30-6 record entering this year's proceedings, their best start to a season in program history. Transylvania is led by a fearsome pitching rotation which ranks second in the country in earned run average (1.05 ERA).
Senior pitcher Renae Morton enters the conference tournament ranking first in the country with a 0.44 ERA and averages 8.9 strikeouts per seven innings. Freshman pitchers Jessica Gunter (1.39 ERA) and Kameron Bowling (1.53 ERA) have also crafted strong rookie campaigns for the Pioneers.
Offensively, the Pioneers are led by junior infielder Brittany Mumford, who ranks 13th in the HCAC in batting average (.397 BA) and eighth in on-base percentage (.470). Fellow junior Shelbi Poehlein is another power option, batting .358 on the year and boasting a slugging percentage of .495. Freshman infielder CeCe Wittry and junior infielder Meg Liter each have registered on-base percentages of .422 to help form a consistent lineup for the Pioneers.
Transylvania is led by fourth-year head coach Shawn Hendrickson, who has authored the winningest stretch of softball in program history. After leading the Pioneers to their third-straight regular season title, the Pioneers now aim to advance to the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time in program history.
Admission for the 2018 HCAC Softball Tournament is $8 for adults, $5 for senior citizens and students, and free for children aged 11 and under. Students, faculty, and staff of participating team institutions will be admitted for free with a university ID. All-Session passes can also be purchased for the entire weekend and are $20 for adults and $10 for senior citizens and students.
All tournament games will be broadcast live on the Transy Sports Network and be accessible via live stats. To access media links for ongoing games, head to the official tournament website.
For more on Transylvania softball, follow @TransySoftball on Twitter
|2018 HCAC Softball Tournament Schedule|
|Friday, May 4|
|Game 1: #5 Manchester vs #4 Defiance||10:00 AM|
|Game 2: #3 Mount St. Joseph vs. #2 Franklin||12:00 PM|
|Game 3: #1 Transylvania vs. Game #1 Winner||2:00 PM|
|Game 4: Game 1 loser vs. Game 2 loser||4:00 PM|
|Saturday, May 5|
|Game 5: Game 2 winner vs Game 3 winner||11:00 AM|
|Game 6: Game 3 loser vs Game 4 winner||1:00 PM|
|Game 7: Game 6 winner vs Game 5 loser||3:00 PM|
|Sunday, May 6|
|Game 8: Game 5 winner vs Game 7 winner||12:00 PM|
|Game 9 (If Necessary): Game 8 participants||2:00 PM|