WVSU Softball to Host NCAA Regional

WVSU Softball to Host NCAA Regional
INSTITUTE, W.Va. – West Virginia State will serve as the host for three other teams as part of the NCAA Division II Softball Atlantic Region Tournament this weekend (May 9-11). Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for students and $2 for children ages 3-12 (cash only).
WVSU will welcome West Chester, Gannon and Winston-Salem State. West Liberty will host the other side of the bracket that includes Shepherd, Lock Haven and Concord. The winner from each of these sites will play for the Atlantic Region title and the right to advance to the NCAA Championships in Denver.
The Yellow Jackets, the No. 2 seed in the Atlantic Region, comes into the weekend with a 33-14 record. West Virginia State is back in the tournament for the first time since 2013 and is serving as a host for the first time. The Yellow Jackets are coming off their first Mountain East Conference South Division title and were one game away from playing for the MEC Tournament title.
WVSU is the top-hitting team in the MEC with a .312 batting average with seven starters hitting over .300. Paige Scruggs is hitting a team-best .388 with 11 doubles and 34 RBI. Brittany Allison has blasted 10 home runs and has driven in a team-high 37 RBI and Kayleigh Thompson has crossed the plate 41 times this season for the Yellow Jackets.
West Virginia State also features a deep stable of pitchers to help it try and survive the weekend. WVSU has four pitchers that have thrown over 65 innings this season in Kasey Murphy (9-3, 1.42 ERA), Emily Thompson (9-3, 1.94 ERA), Emilee Walker (7-2, 2.00) and Emily Moore (8-4, 2.15).
West Virginia State will take on Winston-Salem State in the first game of the tournament on Thursday at noon. WSSU earned an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament by winning the CIAA Tournament title.
The Rams (32-11) are the top hitting team in the Atlantic Region tournament hitting .358 as a team and are also averaging nearly eight runs per game. After a dropping six in a row, Winston-Salem State has now won eight of its last nine. Erica Davis ranks sixth in the country with a .482 average and has 10 doubles. Daijah Chambers is ranked 15th in the country hitting .463 and is also scoring 1.11 runs per game and also leads the team with RBI and has nine home runs. Teammate Destiny Snipes is also batting way over .400 with a .443 average to go with 33 RBI. Shauntaja Dedecker has slugged a team-high 10 home runs. Those four were all first team All-CIAA selections.
In addition to her hitting exploits, Davis will also be called upon in the pitcher's circle this week, too. She is 14-7 this year with a 2.65 ERA. Sophomore Tia Robinson is 15-3 with a 3.73 ERA and will likely be the game one starter.
The other matchup features PSAC rivals West Chester and Gannon. West Chester, the defending Atlantic Region champs, come into the weekend with a 34-19 record. The Golden Rams were eliminated by Gannon at the PSAC Tournament last weekend.
West Chester has six players that earned All-PSAC East honors led by Reilly Gearhart who was tabbed as the division's Pitcher of the Year. Gearhart is 16-7 on the year with a 1.98 ERA and with 93 strikeouts in 145.0 innings pitched. Emily Maseth his hitting .401 on the year and 51 RBI. Heidi McCollester has an OPS of 1.067 and has blasted 10 home runs and driven in a team-high 63 RBI. Bri Garber is hitting .371 and has scored 51 times and Annamarie Hartman also earned All-PSAC East Division honors after hitting .309.
Gannon (30-14) played for the PSAC Championship but lost to Lock Haven. The Golden Knights are 12-3 in their last 15 heading into this weekend's tournament. Gannon is making its second-straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament and the program's seventh overall.
The Golden Knights placed eight players on the All-PSAC West Division team and had Madi Beining earn Pitcher of the Year honors and Megan Dietrick take Freshman of the Year accolades. Beining is the Pitcher of the Year for the second-straight year with a 17-6 record and 2.30 ERA. Sarah Ingerick leads the team with a .383 average and has hit 10 home runs this season. Taylor Wilp comes into the weekend hitting .359, and Lisa Szajn is hitting .357.  
For complete tournament information, click here.
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