2011 NAC Softball Tournament Preview
Courtesy of Alverno College, Sports Information Department
MILWAUKEE -- The bracket is out for the 2011 Northern Athletics Conference Softball Tournament, where the league's top six teams will compete for the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament. Games will be played May 5-7 on Alverno Field at Alverno College in Milwaukee.
Fourth-seeded Dominican University and fifth-seeded Lakeland College will start off the double-elimination tournament with a 3 p.m. first pitch on Thursday, followed by 2009 tournament champion No. 3 Concordia University Wisconsin versus No. 6 Concordia University Chicago, who is making its first appearance in NAC postseason play. A full day of games will continue on Friday beginning at 9 a.m. and a champion will be crowned Saturday afternoon.
Two-time NAC regular season champion Benedictine University (34-6, 22-2 NAC) and 2010 tournament champion Aurora University (31-9, 21-3 NAC) have earned No. 1 and 2 seeds, respectively, for the second straight year and will face off against the winners of Thursday's contests to start play on Friday.
The No. 5 Muskies of Lakeland (14-24, 14-10 NAC) took both games from the No. 4 Stars of Dominican (23-13, 15-9 NAC) in regular season play, with 11-10 and 8-4 victories on Muskie Field. It was a two-out, bases loaded, sac fly that sealed the walk-off win for the Muskies in game one of the doubleheader.
The No. 3 Falcons of Concordia Wisconsin (30-8, 21-3 NAC) also defended their home field and swept their first-round opponent Concordia Chicago (15-20, 13-11 NAC) in regular season play. Game one of the doubleheader saw just one run cross the plate in the bottom of the first. Game two had some late game action as the Cougars made a push with two runs in the top of the sixth and another in the seventh, but it wouldn't be enough as the Falcons edged out the win 5-4.
Top-seeded Benedictine went 8-2 in the regular season against its fellow tournament participants, with its two losses coming against Concordia Wisconsin and Aurora University in the last weekend of play. The Eagles find themselves leading the NAC in several categories both offensively and defensively, including team batting average (.387), on base percentage (.441), runs scored (325), ERA (1.78), fielding percentage (.961), and opponent batting average (.211). They've also continued to fly around the base pads this season with 188 stolen bases, more than double the next best NAC opponent.
The No. 2 Spartans of Aurora look to defend their 2010 tournament crown, and earn their fourth in five years. Their 7-3 record against NAC tournament participants includes a doubleheader split with No. 1 Benedictine this past Tuesday. A regionally-ranked club, Aurora is also atop the NAC leader boards on both sides of the ball. The Spartans have recorded 435 hits with 284 RBIs and 37 long balls, and defensively are second in ERA (2.32) and strikeouts (210).
For all the latest information regarding the tournament, as well as links to the live enhanced webcast (video, audio, and stats) and visitors guide, please visit: http://athletics.alverno.edu/softball/nac-tournament or sign up for text message alerts at: http://athletics.alverno.edu/alerts.
No. 1 Benedictine Eagles: Team Site | Roster | Stats & Results
No. 2 Aurora Spartans: Team Site | Roster | Stats & Results
No. 3 Concordia Wisconsin Falcons: Team Site | Roster | Stats & Results
No. 4 Dominican Stars: Team Site | Roster | Stats & Results
No. 5 Lakeland Muskies: Team Site | Roster | Stats & Results
No. 6 Concordia Chicago Cougars: Team Site | Roster | Stats & Results