UC earns first ever NCAA bid


UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - The Utica College softball team's story book season will continue as the Pioneers earned the No. 2 seed in the Ithaca Regional of the NCAA Division III Softball Tournament on Monday morning.  The Pioneers are making their first appearance in the NCAA Tournament in program-history after posting a school-record 33-12 overall record.  The Pioneers will take on seventh seeded Washington College (Indianapolis, Indiana) on Thursday at 4 p.m. at Ithaca College.

It has truly been a banner year for the Pioneers, who won the Empire 8 Conference regular season title and the right to host this past weekend's conference tournament for the first time in program-history.  Despite falling to St. John Fisher College in the conference tournament finals, the Pioneers still managed an at-large bid into the tournament based on their body of work throughout the entire season.

The Shorewomen of Washignton College carry a 26-17 record into Thursday's game against UC.  Washington claimed its first-ever Centennial Conference Softball Tournament title yesterday when they blanked Haverford, 9-0, in five innings due to the eight-run rule.

Six other teams will join Utica and Washington at the eight team Ithaca Regional (Kostrinsky Field).  Empire 8 Conference tournament champion St. John Fisher (33-12) earned the No. 1 seed in the region, while Lebanon Valley (32-5-1) secured the No. 3 seed. The College of New Jersey (26-13) is the No. 4 seed, followed by fifth seeded Cortland (28-14).  The No. 6 seed went to Penn State-Berks (36-3) and the eighth and final seed in the region was awarded to Western Connecticut (22-12).

Every team that makes the field of 62 in the NCAA Division III Softball Tournament is guaranteed to play two games in the double elimination tournament.  The Pioneers will play either Lebanon Valley or Penn State-Berks on Friday (Noon or 4 p.m.).

Admission prices for the tournament in Upstate New York will be announced tomorrow.

This year's national championship will be hosted by Wisconsin-Eau Claire May 17-21.

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