Posted: Thursday, May 8th 2014 at 11:30pm
No. 2 UNG softball set to host Regional beginning Friday
By staff reports
DAHLONEGA -– The University of North Georgia is set to play host to the 2014 NCAA Division II Southeast Regional beginning Friday at Haines & Carolyn Hill Stadium on the Dahlonega campus.
The Nighthawks recently moved up two spots and are now ranked second in the most recent NFCA NCAA Division II national poll. UNG clinched the top seed in the NCAA Division II Softball Championship and will host 24th-ranked Lenoir-Rhyne, Mount Olive, and Wingate in the three-day Dahlonega Regional.
North Georgia enters the tournament with a 43-9 overall mark capped by winning the Peach Belt Conference for the fourth time in school history. The NCAA appearance is the seventh consecutive for the Nighthawks and marks the fifth time the team has hosted a NCAA regional in the past six seasons.
Lenoir-Rhyne clinched the 5th seed in the Southeast and their ninth straight postseason appearance thanks to a 39-13 record in the 2014 campaign. The Bears success was due in part to outstanding efforts from the pitching staff, which ranks third in all of Division II with an ERA of 1.21. L-R's boasted seventeen shutout victories this season.
Entering the regional as the 4th seed is Wingate, who made the tournament on the heels of a 36-18 season, extending the school's current postseason streak to two. The Bulldogs won fourteen games against SAC foes and witnessing five players be selected to the all-conference squad.Mount Olive earned 8th seed in the regional after winning the Conference Carolinas tournament championship last week by defeating the King 11-3.
Mount Olive enters the tournament with a 24-24 record on the year and is in the midst of a ten-game winning streak, which was made possible by an offensive output that has averaged almost seven runs per matchup during that span.
Play on the first day of the tournament will begin at 4:00 p.m. with a meeting between Wingate and Lenoir-Rhyne, who met twice in the regular season with the Bulldogs prevailing on both occasions. The second game featuring North Georgia and Mount Olive will then take place at 6:30 p.m.
Head coach Mike Davenport's team has squared off against all three regional teams in a two-day span earlier this year at the Mid-South Classic. North Georgia earned a 3-0 win over Mount Olive and a 5-0 victory over L-R on February 28 before falling to Wingate 6-0 the next morning in the same event. Since the loss to Wingate, UNG has won 31 of its last 34 games.
The team that prevails along with the winner from the other Southeast regional will meet at the highest remaining seed on May 16-17 in a Super Regional with the Division II Championship on May 22-26 at Moyer Sports Complex in Salem, Va. on the line.
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