SCIAC Softball Postseason Tournament Gets Underway This Weekend at Redlands
The University of Redlands and Bulldog Athletics look forward to hosting the fifth annual Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Postseason Tournament on Friday, April 27, and Saturday, April 28, at the Softball "Field of Dreams." With the program's ninth overall conference title in hand, the Bulldogs earned the top seed and the right to host this exciting event.
Redlands faces fourth-seeded Whittier College in Friday's opener at 9 a.m., and No. 2 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges battles it out with No. 3 Pomona-Pitzer Colleges at 11:30 a.m. The double-elimination tournament continues at 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. on Friday, with games set for Saturday at 10 a.m., 12:30 p.m., and 3 p.m. if necessary.
The winner of the 2012 SCIAC Postseason Tournament earns the automatic bid to the NCAA Championships, which begin May 10.
Ranked 13th in NCAA Division III, Redlands has put together a 29-9 overall so far, going 21-3 in SCIAC competition. The Bulldogs have won eight consecutive conference crowns and advanced to the SCIAC Postseason Tournament every year since its inception. In addition, the Maroon and Gray has earned a spot in the NCAA Championships each of the past seven seasons.
The Bulldogs' only SCIAC losses came against each of the tournament competitors this season, all of which happened during the second go-around of doubleheaders.
Junior Kayla Uphold (Fontana, CA) headlines Redlands' pitching staff with her conference-leading 18-3 record from the mound. She owns an ERA of 2.48 with 62 strikeouts in 124.0 innings pitched.
Offensively, the Bulldogs boast three players who are batting above .400, with sophomore outfielder Amanda Lievanos (Anaheim, CA) leading all conference competitors at .500. She has connected on 57 hits, including 12 doubles and 12 home runs, while driving in 54 runs. Uphold and senior first baseman Rikki Scates (Redlands, CA) back her with impressive numbers at .450 and .407, respectively.
Equipped with a national ranking of No. 22, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (25-13, 17-7 SCIAC) has endured a rough patch during the final three weeks of conference action, recording four of its six losses to the tournament foes. The Athenas are one year removed from its last SCIAC championship, which was shared with the Bulldogs in each of the previous two seasons.
The Athenas rely on a well-rounded offense with different people stepping up in different occasions. The majority of the starters own a batting average above .300 with senior Emily Lopez leading the crew at .396 on 44 hits.
Along with her conference-leading ERA of 1.80 during 147.2 innings of work, freshman Hayley Schultz enters the tournament with a 13-10 record. Most recently, she notched the save in the Athenas' 5-2 win over the Bulldogs on Aril 22. In addition, senior counterpart Rebecca Gularte has excelled from the mound, going 12-3 on the season.
After breaking the school record for wins in a season, No. 3 Pomona-Pitzer (22-17, 15-9 SCIAC) advances to the SCIAC Postseason Tournament for the first time since 2008.
The top three hitters on this season's team are freshmen, with Leah Bleichner leading the way at .409, Emily Glass supplying a .386, and Ashley Morello closely following at .380.
First-year hurler Fiona Riley leads the Sagehen pitching staff with a 13-8 record. On April 20, she threw a two-hit, complete-game shutout against CMS in the first game of a doubleheader.
After a late-season run that propelled them into the No. 4 spot of the conference, the Poets of Whittier College (23-15, 13-11 SCIAC) enter the SCIAC Postseason Tournament for the third consecutive time. Although going just 4-8 against the tournament field, Whittier came on strong in the final weeks, knocking off then-undefeated Bulldogs in SCIAC action on March 25. The 2-0 victory also halted Redlands' win streak at 19 games. Since that triumph, the Poets have gone 8-2 against conference foes, which included solid performances over Pomona-Pitzer and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps.
Senior Nikki Mendoza and freshman Emi Shimamoto head up the Poet offense with their respective batting averages of .364 and .336. Shimamoto was recently named the SCIAC Female Athlete of the Week after going 6-for-7 at the plate with a home run, three runs and five RBI against Occidental in her team's doubleheader finale.
Sophomore Courtney DeLano and junior Jessica Rosnack share time on the mound, with DeLano taking the brunt of the responsibility during her 115 innings. It appears to be feast or famine with the Poet staff, as it leads the conference in strikeouts (162) but sits fourth with an ERA of 4.29.
Fans my follow all of the action of the SCIAC Postseason Tournament via live stats at http://livestats.prestosports.com/redlands/.
For additional game-day information, please log onto the event web site at http://www.goredlands.com/sports/sball/2011-12/files/SCIAC_Postseason.