The NAIA Softball National Championship Opening Round Lindsey Wilson Bracket begins play on Monday at Lindsey Wilson Park.
Second-seeded Southeastern (Fla.) takes on third-seeded Marian (Ind.) in the opening game of the tournament at 1 p.m. CT, followed by the top-seeded and host Blue Raiders battling against fourth-seeded St. Francis (Ill.) in the nightcap at 4 p.m. CT.
Lindsey Wilson serves as a host institution for the third-straight year and earned a No. 1 seed for the first time in 2015. The Blue Raiders hold an overall record of 7-6 in the history of the opening round softball tournament.
The double-elimination tournament continues on Tuesday with games at 1 p.m., 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. CT, with the championship game scheduled for 1 p.m. CT on Wednesday. An “if necessary” championship game will take place on Wednesday at 4 p.m. CT.
The ten opening round bracket winners across the nation advance to the NAIA Softball World Series presented by Security National Bank and Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa on May 22-28.
Lindsey Wilson (45-6) most recently swept through the Mid-South Conference Tournament defeating St. Catharine (Ky.) 9-0 in the championship game to capture the tournament crown.
The sixth-ranked Blue Raiders had seven players named to the All-MSC teams in 2015 including six to the first team.
Chelsea Showers, Casey Bryan, Jenna Firestein, Jordan Hood, Andrea Whelan and Amanda Trampe all earned first team honors, while Bailey Mize was named to the All Mid-South Conference Second Team.
MSC Player of the Year Showers leads the team with a .465 batting average and 17 home runs to rank sixth in the nation. Whelan has also added double-digit home runs with 13 and is ranked 11th in the NAIA with 63 RBIs.
Trampe is batting .410 on the season and has a nation leading 71 RBIs. Firestein is ranked fifth in the nation with 68 runs scored. Mize is batting .336 on the season with 12 doubles and 35 RBIs.
Bryan leads the pitching rotation with a 19-2 record and a 1.39 earned run average. Hood is 14-2 on the season, while Lyndsey Parden has a 12-2 record. Lindsey Wilson comes into the opening round riding a 29-game win streak.
Southeastern (39-12) enters the NAIA Opening Round as the Sun Conference regular-season champion. The Fire are ranked in the top 10 in four different NAIA statistical categories including seventh with 120 stolen bases.
No. 15-ranked Southeastern is led by Sun Conference Player of the Year Cat Maldonado who is ranked ninth in the nation with 16 home runs and has a team-high 57 RBIs. Maldonado along with Brittany LaCasse, Anna Martin, Sam Gale and Susan Hinks all picked up conference team honors.
LaCasse has a .369 batting average and 11 doubles on the season. Martin has a team-high .432 batting average along with seven home runs and 36 RBIs. Gale leads the team with 14 doubles and has also knocked in 48 runs. Hinks has an 18-6 record and team-high 81 strikeouts in the circle.
Marian (40-12) was the regular-season champion of the Crossroads League and ranks in the top 10 of seven different NAIA statistical categories. The No. 24 Knights are ranked eighth in the nation with 371 total runs scored and ninth with 100 doubles.
Chelsea Hartman is the lone Knight who was named to the All-Crossroads League Team and is ranked second in the NAIA with 70 RBIs and 17th with 14 home runs.
St. Francis (33-17) out of the Chicagoland Collegiate Conference ranks fourth in the nation with 107 doubles. The Fighting Saints, the lone unranked team in the bracket, most recently fell to eventual conference tournament champion Saint Xavier (Ill.).
St. Francis is led by Tori Johnson, Brooke Karraker and Caitlyn Balandis. Johnson and Karraker each received All-Chicagoland Collegiate Conference First Team honors, while Balandis was named to the All-Conference Second Team.
Johnson is batting .362 and has 17 doubles. Karraker has a .373 batting average to rank second on the team along with 14 doubles and five home runs. Balandis has a 3-2 record in the circle and a 4.51 earned run average.
Click here for the Lindsey Wilson Bracket Tournament Central page.
First pitch on Monday is scheduled for 1 p.m. CT.