WILLIMANTIC, Conn. – Perennial NCAA Division III post-season tournament qualifiers Eastern Connecticut State University and Rowan University will square off in this weekend’s best-of-three Willimantic, Conn. Super Regional for the right to advance to the NCAA Division III national softball tournament May 23-28 at the University of Texas at Tyler.
The teams meet Friday at 2 p.m. in Game 1 and again Saturday at noon in Game 2. A third game, if needed, is set for 2:30 Saturday.
Competing in its 21st NCAA tournament, four-time NCAA national titlist Eastern (32-11) swept the Medford, MA Regional Tournament in three games this past weekend, downing top seed Tufts University, 5-1 Monday. Rowan (33-13) survived a 14-inning winner-take-all championship game with host and top seed MIT for a 7-6 victory in Monday’s final. Rowan is competing in its ninth straight NCAA tournament, 27th overall.
Eastern qualified for the original field of 62 by winning the Little East Conference tournament title while Rowan was named as an at-large team after losing in the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) tournament.
Since the Super Regional format was incorporated in 2014, Rowan has reached this round three times, winning in two straight in 2016 and again last year en route to berths in the national tournament. Rowan went 2-2 in the 2014 nationals after winning the Ithaca Supesr Regional over Ithaca College and lost both of its games in last year’s nationals after sweeping Moravian College in the Super Regional.
Eastern is competing in its first Super Regional. Since the format was instituted, Eastern has qualified for the NCAA tournament once, losing both games in 2015 at the Norton, Mass. Regional.
Two right-handed pitchers were named MVP at this year’s regionals: sophomore Morgan Bolduk (Vernon) of Eastern and Jesse DeDomenico of Rowan. Bolduk (18-1, 0.92) was 3-0 with a 1.33 ERA and a shutout, 11 strikeouts against three walks. DeDomenico (19-7, 2.24) appeared in all four of her team’s games with a 2-1 record in 28 1/3 innings. She struck out 23. In the final, she tossed the final 8 1/3 scoreless innings, giving up six hits with five strikeouts and two walks.
Joining Bolduk on the all-tournament team for Eastern were junior shortstop Sara Pisanelli (Wallingford), junior centerfielder Sabrina LeMere (North Branford) and freshman first baseman Brooke Matyasovsky (Orange). Joining DeDomenico for the Professors were freshman leftfielder Morgan Zane, senior shortstop Carly Anderson and sophomore catcher Christina Guarino. Anderson drove in the go-ahead run in the 14th inning against MIT, and Zane threw out the potential tying run at home on a fly ball for the second out in the bottom of the 14th.
In the latest NFCA Top 25 poll compiled May 8 (prior to regional play), Rowan was ranked No. 23. Eastern is not ranked.
Each team has won twice in this four-game series, Eastern taking the first two and Rowan the last two. In one NCAA clash, the Professors eliminated the Warriors in the third round of the 2009 Mid-Atlantic Regional, 3-1, at Mahwah, NJ.
Tickets for each day are priced at $10 for adults, $7 for all students with ID and $8 for senior citizens. CASH ONLY WILL BE ACCEPTED. Gates will open at 12:30 p.m. Friday and 10:30 a.m. Saturday.
Official NCAA apparel will be sold and a concessions will also be available during the tournament. Credit cards will be accepted for NCAA apparel, but CASH ONLY WILL BE ACCEPTED at the concession stand.
2019 NCAA DIVISION III
BEST-OF-THREE SUPER REGIONALS
Hosted by Eastern Connecticut State University
at Clyde Washburne Field
EASTERN CONN. STATE U. (32-11)
Medford, Mass Regional Champion
ROWAN UNIVERSITY (33-13)
Cambridge, Mass. Regional Champion
Friday, May 17
Saturday May 18
2:30 (if necessary)
Winner advances to the NCAA Division III national tournament May 23-28, hosted by the University of Texas at Tyler at Suddenlink Field at the UT Tyler Ballpark..