News Photo
Softball - Tue, May. 7, 2013


LUBBOCK, Texas (May 7, 2013) - The Opening Round format, which the NAIA introduced in the 2008-2009 competition calendar, is making its softball debut this season. The NAIA announced their 40-team field and the Lubbock Christian Bracket was revealed with No.24 University of Houston - Victoria, No.23 Friends University (Kan.) and Northwood University (Texas) joining No.2 Lubbock Christian University to begin the NAIA Softball  National Championship. The Lubbock Christian Bracket, presented by PlainsCapital Bank, begins play May 13 at PlainsCapital Park on the LCU campus.

Pairings for the Opening Round are based upon the following prioritized criteria: geographical location of teams, financial consideration and the final rating from the NAIA Softball Coaches' Top 25 Poll released earlier Tuesday. Every attempt is made to not pair Conference/Association of Independent Institutions/Unaffiliated Group teams, but this may be unavoidable.

The 10 Opening Round hosts announced back on April 23 were: Belhaven University (Miss.), Concordia University (Calif.), Concordia University (Ore.), Lee University (Tenn.), Lindsey Wilson College (Ky.), Lubbock Christian University, Oklahoma City University, Park University (Mo.), Rogers State University (Okla.) and the University of South Carolina Beaufort. Each of the 10 locations will feature a four-team double-elimination tournament.

LCU received an automatic bid after winning their first Sooner Athletic Conference Tournament title. The Lady Chaps are ranked No. 2 in the NAIA with a 55-7 record overall and are the No.1 seed in the Lubbock Christian Bracket. The Lady Chaps lead the SAC in pitching, only allowing 93 earned runs with a 1.72 ERA, while also leading the SAC with 613 hits and have a team batting average of .377. Katera Eltsosie is on top of the SAC with a 1.21 ERA while Megan Sullivan leads with a .444 batting average. Eltsosie also ranks third in the NAIA with 27 wins this season. Mallory Koschany continues to lead the NAIA in base running with 72 steal attempts, averaging 1.097 steals a game and has 68 stolen bases. The Lady Chaps lead the NAIA in three statistical categories. They have 242 stolen bases (NAIA single season record), 4.3 steal attempts per game and 3.9 stolen bases per game to lead the NAIA.

No. 2 seed Houston-Victoria University enters with a regular season 29-20 overall record, winning the Association of Independent Institutions Conference regular season title after finishing with a 5-1 record in the A.I.I. to earn an automatic berth into the opening round. After receiving votes in the previous NAIA top-25 poll they are now ranked No. 24. The Jaguars are ranked fifth in the NAIA with 19 triples, eighth in hits per game (10) and ninth in total hits with 491. Marley Moehrig leads HVU with 70 hits batting .464 and has 75 runs-batted-in. The Lady Chaps met the Jaguars in the Cowtown Classic on Feb. 15 winning in six innings 8-0.

Friends University will represent the No. 3 seed in the four-team bracket. The Falcons received an automatic bid into the opening round with a 41-7 overall record this season winning the regular season schedule and the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference. The Lady Chaps faced Friends on Feb. 15 and Feb. 16 winning both contest 7-0 and 9-2. They rank in the top-10 in four statistical categories including third in RBI per game (7.5), fourth in total RBI (356), sixth in runs per game (7.8) and sixth in total runs scored (376). Kelli Nicholson has 69 hits and batting .460 with 60 RBI. Pitcher Kelsey Gardner has a 2.94 ERA with 110 strike outs.

Northwood University enters the tournament as the No. 4 seeded team with a 29-17 overall record and a 19-5 conference record. The Lady Knights were the Red River Athletic Conference Tournament Champions. This is the third time in four seasons the Lady Knights have received the RRAC Conference Champions title. They rank in the top-10 in six different statistical categories including leading the NAIA in hits per game with 10.826. Taylor Jones is ranked fifth in the NAIA with 83 hits and her .512 batting average is ranked second.

The opening day of action is Monday, May 13, with the opening game featuring Friends and Houston-Victoria squaring off at 1 p.m. The Lady Chaps will follow at 4 p.m. facing Northwood to conclude the opening day of play.

Thirty-one teams earned automatic berths to the Opening Round field by placing first or second at their respective conference/independent/unaffiliated group tournaments or by winning a regular-season championship. An additional five at-large host berth selections and four at-large berths complete the list of qualifiers. The at-large berths were determined by the final Coaches' Top 25 Poll. Of this season's field of teams, only Oklahoma City University and LCU have claimed NAIA National Titles. LCU won the 2008 title in their inaugural season.

Each of the Opening Round winners will advance to the NAIA Softball National Championship final site in Columbus, Ga., May 24 – 30. The format in Columbus is a double-elimination, 10-team event on a single championship field.

Tickets for the event will be sold at the gate and they are $10 for an adult daily pass and $5 for a student daily pass. All-Tournament passes are available for $20 for adults and $10 for students. All games can be heard or viewed online through The online video fee is $8 per game or $15 for an all-tournament pass.


2013 NAIA Softball National Championship Opening Round Brackets
Belhaven Bracket
1. Reinhardt (Ga.)
2. Belhaven (Miss.)
3. William Woods (Mo.)
4. LSU Alexandria (La.)

Concordia (Calif.) Bracket
1. Concordia (Calif.)
2. St. Gregory's (Okla.)
3. College of Idaho
4. Bethany (Kan.)

Concordia (Ore.) Bracket
1. Saint Xavier (Ill.)
2. Corban (Ore.)
3. Concordia (Ore.)
4. MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.)

Lee Bracket
1. Lee (Tenn.)
2. Olivet Nazarene (Ill.)
3. IU Southeast
4. Bethel (Ind.)

Lindsey Wilson Bracket
1. Auburn Montgomery (Ala.)
2. Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)
3. Davenport (Mich.)
4. Grand View (Iowa)

Lubbock Christian Bracket
1. Lubbock Christian (Texas)
2. Houston-Victoria (Texas)
3. Friends (Kan.)
4. Northwood (Texas)

Oklahoma City Bracket
1. Oklahoma City
2. Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.)
3. Bellevue(Neb.)
4. Hastings (Neb.)

Park Bracket
1. Cal State San Marcos
2. Park (Mo.)
3. Marian (Ind.)
4. Dickinson State (N.D.)

Rogers State Bracket
1. Williams Baptist (Ark.)
2. Central Methodist (Mo.)
3. Rogers State (Okla.)
4. Morningside (Iowa)

USC Beaufort Bracket
1. USC Beaufort
2. Spring Hill (Ala.)
3. Virginia Intermont
4. Cumberland (Tenn.)