LYNCHBURG, VA – The Iona College softball program has been selected to the Lynchburg, VA regional of the NISC Tournament. The regional is being hosted by Liberty University. The Gaels first game is against Campbell University on Tuesday, May 16 at 1 PM.
Other teams in the region include host Liberty, Ohio University, and the University of North Carolina Wilmington.
Iona's first opponent Campbell is a rematch from the program's first weekend of the 2017 season. The Camels swept the Gaels in the USC Upstate & Furman University Tournament, 10-2 and 2-0.
Campbell has the 28th ranked fielding percentage (.972), 37th ranked scoring average per game (5.35), 36th in stolen bases per game (1.6), and 7th in double per game (0.56). A standout for the Camels is senior Amber Schisler; she ranks top 50 in the NCAA in seven different categories, including having the second-best on base percentage at .606. The Camels have the 145th ranked RPI following finishing the year at 29-25, 10-10 Big South.
Liberty finished the season as the Big South Regular Season Champions with a 16-5 conference mark. The Flames had a 38-22 overall mark and as of Sunday, May 14 they had the No. 85 RBI in the NCAA. With a team batting average of .314 that ranks 20th in the NCAA, the Flames wreak havoc on the bases swiping a mean of 1.48 steals per game. Liberty score 5.41 runs per game, ranking 34th in the nation.
The Bobcats use its pitching and fielding to their advantage. They have the 30th ranked ERA at 2.10, and the 22nd ranking fielding percentage at .974. Senior Savannah JO Dorsey is the ace of the staff earning 22 victories while allowing just 3.27 hits per game and a 1.15 ERA. Ohio finished the season with a 36-14 record; its .731 winning percentage is the 27th best in the NCAA. Offensively the Bobcats hit 1.56 doubles per game, 12th best in the nation.
The UNCW Seahawks enter the NISC Tournament with a 33-18-1, 10-10 Colonial Athletic Association record. Senior Peyton Jordan has a strong 1.66 ERA, utilizing the program's top-10 .976 fielding percentage. As of Sunday, May 14, the Seahawks have the No. 95 RPI in the nation.
The Gaels have the 164th RPI in the nation with a 26-22, 15-5 MAAC record. In a trend of the region, the Maroon & Gold also have a strong defense, sharing a .975 fielding percentage which ranks 18th in the country. Obscurely, Iona has hit only 15 batters this season, ranking No. 14 nationally.
Offensively the Maroon & Gold are led by All-MAAC First Team Honorees senior Kristen Turner and sophomore Marisa Gergel. Sophomore Alana Evans was named the 2017 MAAC Pitcher of the Year as well as a First Team member. Junior catcher Tori Danner was voted the 2017 MAAC Defensive Player of the Year and All-MAAC Second Team. Freshman Jasmine Temple and Marnie Skinner have earned All-MAAC Rookie Team status.
The Maroon & Gold qualified for the NISC Tournament by finishing the regular season as the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference champions. The Gaels were amongst 32 automatic qualifiers, all of whom were the highest remaining team in each conference not selected through the NCAA criteria.
There are also 16 at-large qualifiers whom are selected based on RPI, win-loss record of .500 or better, and record vs. top 50 RPI.
The NISC Postseason Tournament regional rounds begin on Tuesday, May 16 and will run through Sunday, May 18. There are six regionals with a variance of four to six teams in each double-elimination tournament.
For more information on the NISC Tournament, visit the tournament headquarters site. Iona's games will have free audio broadcasts on IonaInsider.com.