Diamond Gem -- East Texas Baptist Softball Competes in NCAA Regional
May 7, 2002
East Texas Baptist University softball makes its first foray into the NCAA Division III Championship, heading northwest to Tacoma, Wash., for the Friday-Sunday (May 10-12) West Regional hosted by top-seeded Pacific Lutheran University.
Seeded third in the five-team regional, ETBU (36-6) faces No. 2 seed LaVerne University (35-4-1) on Friday at noon (2 p.m. CDT). The game will be carried live on the internet at www.tsrnsports.com. A win would advance ETBU to Saturday's semifinal game while a loss would drop the Lady Tigers into a Friday afternoon loser's bracket contest.
NCAA Div. III Softball Championship West
The West Regional champion advances to the eight-team NCAA Div. III Women's College World Series scheduled May 16-20 at Carson Park in Eau Claire, Wis.
East Texas Baptist, ranked No. 16 in the last regular-season USA Today/NFCA Div. III Coaches poll, advanced to the NCAA Championship by winning the ASC Tournament April 27. The ASC East Division champion, ETBU upended Mississippi College 8-2 in the conference title game. This is the first season East Texas Baptist is eligible for NCAA postseason competition. They finished as national runner-up at the 2001 National Christian College Athletic Association tournament.
The Lady Tigers enter postseason action as the nation's top defensive team, sporting a .975 fielding percentage and ranking just ahead of regional host Pacific Lutheran (.973). The defense is led by senior pitcher Alicia Taylor (20-1) who carries a 0.90 ERA and averages 11.1 strikeouts a game. Reliever Kristen Abernathy ranks No. 1 nationally with seven saves. ETBU flexes its offensive muscle, averaging 7.40 runs a game behind a .339 team batting average. Sophomore Tonya Minor, the school's season steals record holder (32-of-34), lists No. 13 nationally in stolen bases.
Complete NCAA Div. III Championship information can be accessed at www.ncaachampionships.com. West Regional information is also available at the Pacific Lutheran website, www.plu.edu.
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