2012 NAC Softball Tournament Preview
Courtesy of Alverno College
MILWAUKEE -- The final standings are in the books for the 2012 Northern Athletics Conference softball season, and the bracket is set for the upcoming conference tournament where the league's top six teams will compete for the league's bid to the NCAA III Championship Tournament. Games are scheduled for May 3-5 on Alverno Field at Alverno College in Milwaukee.
The six qualifiers are a repeat of the 2009 and 2010 tournaments, as Marian returns to the event after just missing out last year. The five other qualifiers, Benedictine, Aurora, Concordia Wisconsin, Lakeland and Dominican are returning Alverno Field for the fourth-consecutive season.
Benedictine and Aurora, combined champions of the past six NAC titles, earned the top two seeds in the tournament and receive byes into Friday's round of games.
Top-seeded Benedictine (30-9, 22-2) won its third-straight league title and is the tournament's defending champion. The Eagles have both the conference's top ERA (2.45) and batting average (.363), and have stolen 113 bases on the season, also tops in the NAC. Benedictine is 8-2 versus tournament teams, with losses to Concordia Wisconsin and Marian.
Aurora (25-15, 20-4) earned the second seed and is seeking its fourth tourney title in the past six years. The Spartans enter the tourney with a 2.57 ERA -- second in the NAC -- a .307 batting average and is tied for the league lead in doubles with 61. AU is 7-3 versus teams this weekend, with a pair of losses to Benedictine and one to Marian in the final weekend of the regular season.
Thursday's opening game pits fourth-seeded Marian (20-18, 15-9) against fifth-seeded Lakeland (19-17, 14-10).
Marian comes into the weekend with a solid 2.84 ERA and is tied with a second-best six shutouts on the season. The Sabres show patience at the plate with a league-leading 112 walks, and some power with 19 home runs, also first in the league. The Sabres have gone 4-6 versus tournament teams, with splits against four opponents and a series loss to their first-round opponent, Lakeland.
The Muskies won the games 5-3 and 2-0 on their home field in mid-April. Lakeland is 4-6 against the tourney field, with series losses to the top-two teams the final weekend of the regular season. The Muskies are hitting .317 with a league-leading 24 triples on the season and hold a 4.30 ERA in the circle.
The nightcap on Thursday has the three seed Concordia Wisconsin (24-14, 19-5) take on the six seed Dominican (21-19, 14-10).
The Falcons, who won the tournament title in 2009, is hitting .308 and has a 2.81 ERA with six shutouts. CUW is 5-5 versus the field this year, which included a sweep of its first round opponent. The Falcons defeated the Stars 5-4 (8 innings) and 9-0 (5 innings) during the final weekend of regular season play.
The Stars are hitting .299 with the fourth-best on-base percentage (.358) and have a 3.40 ERA with four shutouts. The Stars are seeking their first tournament title and earned a trip to the championship game in 2009. Versus tournament teams, Dominican has a 2-8 record with wins against Lakeland and Marian.
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 follow on Twitter for updates @NorthernAC and @AlvernoInferno.
#1 Benedictine Eagles: Team Site | Roster | Stats | Results
#2 Aurora Spartans: Team Site | Roster | Stats | Results
#3 Concordia Wisconsin Falcons: Team Site | Roster | Stats | Results
#4 Marian Sabres: Team Site | Roster | Stats | Results
#5 Lakeland Muskies: Team Site | Roster | Stats | Results
#6 Dominican Stars: Team Site | Roster | Stats | Results