NewsLady Cougars to Compete at NCCAA National Tournament
written by Dave Parsons, Sports Information Director
MOUNT VERNON, Ohio - The Mount Vernon Nazarene University womenís fastpitch softball team will take part in the 10-team double elimination National Christian College Athletic Association National Tournament when action gets under way on Thursday morning at Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion, Indiana.
The Lady Cougars (19-13), who are seeded ninth in their eighth trip to the NCCAA National Tournament, will face eighth-seeded Piedmont (Ga.) College (24-14) in the first game at 10:00 a.m. MVNU is riding a season-high seven-game winning streak into the tournament after winning the NCCAA East Region Tournament at Geneva (Pa.) College over the weekend.
Freshman outfielder Laura Kot leads the Lady Cougars with a .412 batting average out of the lead-off spot, while sophomore shortstop Stephanie Johnson is batting .360 with team-highs of 24 RBI and 24 runs scored. Freshman outfielder Danielle Herbert (.313), senior first baseman Angie Smith (.280 and 21 RBI), and junior outfielder Jackie Shively (.279 and 12 stolen bases) are also key components of the offensive attack.
Sophomore right-hander Heather Clark (10-7 record with a 1.73 ERA) and junior right-hander Shannon Rachel (9-6 with a 3.23 ERA) have combined to provide a solid one-two punch on the mound for MVNU, which has won 12 of its last 14 games.
Piedmont, which is making its first NCCAA National Tournament appearance, received an at-large berth into the field. The Lions are led by freshman infielder Tiffany Thomas, who hits a team-best .434 with 28 runs scored and 29 RBI. Senior outfielder Tawana Moon (.430 with 35 runs scored and 29 stolen bases), freshman catcher Mandie Fuston (.421 with 19 RBI), and junior infielder Lori Cown (.408 with 28 RBI) also contribute to Piedmontís .361 team batting average.
The Lions also have a 1.88 team ERA with freshman Meredith Ray leading the way with a 9-5 record and a 1.22 ERA. Piedmont pitchers have struck out 172 batters in 230.2 innings with only 35 walks.
The winner of the MVNU-Piedmont game will face top-seeded Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) University in the winnerís bracket at 2:00 p.m. The loser will face the loser of the game between fourth-seeded Spring Arbor (Mich.) University and fifth-seeded Palm Beach Atlantic (Fla.) University at 4:00 p.m.