SAU Takes 2014 GAC Softball Crown


UPDATE: May 5, 2014, 9:50 am:

Lady Mulerider softball headed to NCAA Central Region Tournament as No. 8-seed; travel to Winona State

MAGNOLIA, Ark. – Just a couple of days after capturing their first-ever Great American Conference Championship and earning an automatic bid into the NCAA Division II Central Region Tournament, the Southern Arkansas softball team learned that they will enter that tournament as the No. 8-seed as it was announced by the NCAA during the selection show on Monday morning.

As the No. 8-seed, the Lady Muleriders (37-24) will be traveling to Winona, Minnesota to take on top-seeded and host-school Winona State in the first game of the tournament for both teams. That game is scheduled to have a first-pitch of 1 p.m. CST on Friday, May 9. 

The NCAA regional tournament berth is the first in the SAU softball program, which began in 1999.

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BENTONVILLE, Ark. – The Southern Arkansas softball team entered the 2014 Great American Conference Tournament with one of the most potent offenses in the field, and that would ring true throughout the tournament as they hit a remarkable .357 (56-for-157) in five games.

On Championship Saturday, however, it was their pitching and defense, combined with their outstanding hitting that helped SAU defeat top-seeded Southeastern Oklahoma twice to claim their first-ever GAC softball championship.

With the tournament championship in hand, the Lady Muleriders (37-24) have also earned the GAC’s automatic bid into the 2014 NCAA Central Region Tournament at a site to be determined. The Lady Muleriders, who will be advancing to their first-ever regional tournament, will learn where they will be traveling to during the official NCAA Selection Show on Monday, May 5. The selection show will be streamed LIVE on at 10 a.m. EST (9 a.m. CST). 

Entering the day, the Lady Muleriders had a tough hill to climb as they were likely to face Southeastern Oklahoma ace Mindy McElroy. McElroy had previously slowed down the SAU lineup a day ago as she limited the Lady Muleriders to just two runs on seven hits, sending them into the loser’s bracket.

On Saturday, however, the Lady Muleriders would exact some revenge and they would do so in a major way.

Eventual GAC Tournament MVP, Shelby Miller, would start it all off as she belted a leadoff homerun in the top of the first inning off of McElroy. A batter later, Maddie Dow, an All-Tournament selection, would follow suit with a homer as they went back-to-back to open the game and gave SAU a 2-0 lead. The Lady Muleriders would add two more runs to that in the next inning as Dow doubled home a pair of runs.

That early 4-0 lead would prove to me more than enough as Miller, the Lady Muleriders’ starting pitcher that game, forced the “IF” game as she ended up shutting out the Savage Storm (38-17) and limiting them to just three hits while striking out five.

As fate would have it, and by virtue of a coin-flip, the Lady Muleriders would be the visiting team in the championship final, allowing them first at-bats in the game…that would prove to be a great thing as they came out and put up five runs in the first inning, all off of McElroy, who started the game in the circle, but lasted only a third of an inning.

An inning later, the Lady Muleriders came out and tacked on three more runs to make it an 8-0 game. 

Just as Miller needed only one run of support in the first game thanks to her three-hit shutout, All-Tournament pitcher Hanna Gill would also throw a three-hit shutout, securing the conference championship for the Lady Muleriders.

SAU 2014 GAC softball Champions


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