SEATTLE (May 9) – The Seattle University softball team heads to the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Tournament, beginning Thursday at New Mexico State. The Redhawks will compete with four other teams in the double-elimination tournament, with the winner earning an automatic bid into the 2017 NCAA Tournament.
Seattle U (18-30, 7-8 WAC), the three seed in the bracket, opens the postseason against second-seeded Utah Valley on Thursday at 12:30 p.m. Pacific (1:30 p.m. Mountain). The winner advances to a Friday afternoon contest, while the loser will play later on Thursday in an elimination game.
Coach Geoff Hirai, in his second season, will look to guide SU to its first-ever WAC Championship. The Redhawks hosted the 2016 WAC Tournament and advanced to the semifinals at Logan Field. Seattle U is appearing in its fourth WAC Tournament.
Senior Paige Bouska leads SU with a .388 batting average. She paces the WAC in hits (71) and triples (7). She is the conference's active career leader in hits, games played, at-bats, and triples. Andie Larkins led the WAC with a 179.1 innings pitched in the regular season, finishing with a 3.86 ERA and 85 strikeouts.
Utah Valley (16-22, 7-8 WAC) is coming off a 10-2 loss to #20 BYU on Monday. The Wolverines posted their most successful WAC campaign since joining the conference for the 2014 season. UVU won the 2014 WAC Tournament.
Brittney Vansway is hitting .402 with 13 homers and 52 RBIs. Lyndsay Steverson has 11 home runs in her freshman season. Lauren Frailey has been one of the top pitchers in the league, going 12-8 with a 3.17 ERA in 30 appearances.
Utah Valley won two out of three against SU on April 14-15 in Orem. Larkins and Frailey squared off twice, combining to throw 26.2 innings and allowing three earned runs over two games. UVU claimed 2-1 and 1-0 decisions, while the Redhawks won the middle contest of the weekend, a 10-9 shootout. Savannah Loomis led SU in the outing, driving in six runs, the most by a Redhawk since 2011.
The programs have met four times previously in the WAC Tournament, with the Wolverines winning three games. Seattle U advanced to the semifinals with a 7-2 win over UVU last year, as Kaylee Ree went 3-4 with three RBIs to spark the Redhawks.
UMKC and CSU Bakersfield will match up in the 4/5 game on Thursday morning, with the winner meeting top-seeded New Mexico State later in the day.