(Neb.)- CSC Enters RMAC Tournament Seeded Eighth
CHADRON, Neb. -- Chadron State College softball travels to Grand Junction, Colorado, on Wednesday to begin play on Thursday in the 2018 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Tournament, as the eighth-seeded team in the three-day, double-elimination championship event.
No. 8 CSC (15-32, 13-24 RMAC) will face the host, RMAC Champion and third-ranked team nationally, Colorado Mesa University (43-3, 33-3 RMAC), at approximately 3:15 p.m. on Thursday, pending the conclusion of the first three games of the first round.
If the Eagles win, they will be able to rest and return to the field at 10:45 a.m. on Friday. If they do not, they will remain at the field through one elimination round game and play in the second.
Chadron State's second opponent would be either four-seed MSU Denver or five-seed Colorado School of Mines. The winner between the two Denver schools matches up in the championship bracket with the winner of the Eagles and Mavericks, while the losers meet in an elimination game.
In the 8:30 a.m. game on Thursday, third-seed Regis (35-17, 30-10 RMAC) squares off with sixth seeded UCCS (26-25, 22-18 RMAC). The other first-round game features two-seed Colorado Christian (40-11, 30-8 RMAC) and seventh seeded Adams State (17-33, 14-22 RMAC) at 10:45 a.m. MSU Denver (33-21, 28-12 RMAC) and Mines (28-24, 22-18 RMAC) are set to go at 1 p.m.
The Eagles' opening opponent is formidable, having lost only three times this season. The first CMU loss was to Regis after the Mavericks' top pitcher left in the earlier game of a doubleheader with an injury. The other two were to 27th-ranked Colorado Christian.
If history is any indication, Chadron State will face CMU's top pitcher, McKenzie Surface, who held the Eagles to one base hit over 13 innings when the team met to start the conference slate in February. Chadron State committed seven fielding errors in that series as well, as the Mavericks swept in Grand Junction.
The Mavericks other top weapon is Brooke Hodgson, announced last week as one of 25 finalists for the NFCA National Player of the Year award. The senior outfielder from Rio Rancho, New Mexico, bats .512 with 87 RBI and 73 runs scored. She doubles as a utility pitcher, coming in third whenever necessary, and has proven an uncompromising alternative to starters Surface and Kimbri Herring.
Every other player up and down the CMU lineup bats at least .350 for the season.
CSC Head Softball Coach Kaley Scearcy thinks this team, which starts two true freshmen and six sophomores, is gaining confidence and momentum at just the right time, headed into the tournament. The Eagles strung together some of their best offensive and defensive performances of the season in the playoff-clinching series against Fort Lewis.
The Eagles' Jessica Jarecki remains the conference strikeout leader by a margin of 25, and ranks second in the region and 17th nationally. She tied the school single-season record of 185 in her most appearance.
Freshman catcher Lelilani Niccum is not expected to be available after an injury forced her to withdraw from the Fort Lewis series last Saturday.
The tournament will be streamed live over the RMAC Network. CMU will also provide live stats. Links are available from the ChadronEagles.com home page or on the softball schedule.
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