GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Georgia Southern’s second-straight trip to the NCAA softball tournament will start against South Florida at 3:30 p.m. today in the Gainesville Regional.
The Eagles are looking for their first opening-round NCAA tournament win in their third chance, having fallen to North Carolina in extra innings a year ago.
Live video from the Gainesville Regional can be seen on GatorZone.com, with live stats available at GSEagles.com. Live updates from the contest are available on Twitter by accessing @GSscores and @GaSouSoftball.
The Eagles clinched their fourth SoCon Softball Tournament Championship last Saturday with a 1-0 win in 11 innings over UNC-Greensboro in the championship game. It was the second-straight 11-inning contest for the Eagles after taking a 3-2 win over the College of Charleston to book a spot in the finale.
Kourtny Thomas scored the game-winning run with a walk-off solo home run with two outs in the frame. She launched the ball over the fence in center field for the team’s only walk-off home run of the season. She now has 12 home runs this season and 19 for her career. The All-SoCon selection also drew 34 walks on the year.
SoCon Pitcher of the Year Sarah Purvis had an outstanding SoCon Tournament run, winning three games including the title game Saturday. She set a new career high with 11 innings against the Spartans and ranks second in the SoCon with 194 strikeouts. With the extended performance, Purvis dropped her season earned-run average to 1.96 on the year.
In the five games at the SoCon Tournament, Shelby Morrill hit .500, pounding 10 hits in 20 at bats including a pair of home runs on the opening two days, to claim a spot on the All-Tournament Team. Brooke Red delivered a clutch pitching performance in an elimination game against CoC, going 11 innings and allowing two unearned runs while striking out 10.
South Florida enters the postseason on the heels of the program’s first Big East Championship as the Bulls exit the league for the newly formed American Athletic Conference next season. Sara Nevins is the top pitcher for the Bulls with a 0.94 ERA and a 25-7 record. She has struck out 255 batters in 201 innings, while the Bulls’ other pitcher, Lindsey Richardson, has a 1.18 ERA in 130 innings with 188 strikeouts.
The USF offense has hit 44 home runs while conceding just 14 long balls. As a team, South Florida is hitting .255.
The Eagles will continue play in the Gainesville Regional on Saturday. With a win, GSU would advance to the winners’ bracket game at 1 p.m., while a loss would relegate the Eagles to an elimination game against the loser of Florida vs. Hampton at 3:30 p.m.