The LaGrange softball team opens play Friday at the NCAA Division III Atlanta Regional hosted by Emory University.
The Panthers (25-14) will face the seventh-ranked host Eagles (31-7) in their opening game at 3:30 p.m. No. 19 Averett (34-3-1) will meet Berry (32-6) in the first game of the day at 1 p.m.
The Panthers are the USA South Tournament champions and are appearing in the NCAA tournament for the fourth time. They have split two meetings with Emory in the NCAA tournament, winning 2-1 in 2008 and losing 1-0 in 2009. The two teams last met during the 2013 season, splitting a doubleheader in LaGrange. Emory is the University Athletics Association champion and making its 13th appearance in the NCAA tournament.
Averett is in the NCAA tournament for the second time and the first since 2004. The Cougars started the season 25-0-1, including two wins over the Panthers. The Panthers defeated the Cougars 3-2 in 11 innings at the USA South Tournament. The Panthers are 4-3 overall against the Cougars.
Berry is the Southern Southern Athletic Association regular season and tournament champion. The Vikings have set a school record for wins and enter the tournament on a 13-game winning streak. The Panthers last played the Vikings in 2013.
A tournament schedule is listed below.
Friday, May 8
Game 1 – Berry College vs. Averett University (1:00 pm)
Game 2 – LaGrange College vs. Emory (3:30 pm)
Saturday, May 9
Game 3 – Winner of Game 1 vs. Winner of Game 2 (11:00 am)
Game 4 – Loser of Game 1 vs. Loser of Game 2 (1:30 pm)
Game 5- Winner of Game 4 vs. Loser of Game 3 (4:00 pm)
Sunday, May 10
Game 6 – Winner of Game 3 vs. Winner of Game 5 (Noon)
Game 7 – if necessary (2:30 pm)
This will be the closest NCAA trip for the Panthers... They have played twice in Fayetteville, N.C. and once in Salisbury, Md. ... Overall the Panthers are 1-6 in NCAA games... The Panthers' team batting average of .332 is the second highest in the NCAA era... The Panthers were third in batting in the USA South behind Averett and William Peace... The Panthers have hit 25 home runs this season, the most since joining the NCAA in 2003... Senior Olivia Wolfe leads the team with seven home runs, one off of her own season mark of eight set last season... Wolfe hit four in the USA South Tournament... She is one home run shy of tying Jessica DeMooney for first with 16 career home runs... Wolfe has walked a record 25 times this season...The Panthers were the top fielding team in the USA South with a .967 percentage... They rank 28th in the NCAA Division III in fielding... The Panthers have committed only 35 errors in 39 games...