CULLOWHEE, N.C. – Western Carolina softball will be the No. 7 seed in the upcoming 2019 Southern Conference Championships and will face No. 2 seed Samford at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 8 at Frost Stadium in Chattanooga, Tenn.
The Catamounts ended the regular season with a record of 20-30 and 5-12 in Southern Conference play. By the time WCU hits the field on Wednesday, the club will have not played in 10 days. The Catamounts had the conference bye weekend to close out the regular season and had planned to play a doubleheader at No. 24 Virginia Tech but the twin bill was canceled due to the threat of inclement weather.
Western Carolina will match up with a Bulldog team that ended the regular season with an overall record of 22-29 and 11-6 in conference play. Western Carolina took one of three games in the conference series meeting earlier in the season winning the first game 9-4 before dropping the final two.
WCU and Samford meet for just the third time in the Southern Conference Championships since the Bulldogs entered the SoCon with the Bulldogs sending the Catamounts home from the tournament in both occasions. The two teams first met in the conference championships in 2013 with the Bulldogs winning 8-0 in an elimination game. The two teams met again the following year, 2014, with Samford winning 7-3 to again oust the Catamounts from the tournament. This will be the first time the Bulldogs and Catamounts meet in a SoCon Championship held in Chattanooga.
The Catamounts took one SoCon series during the regular season, sweeping UNCG in the two games played, and earned wins against Furman and Mercer. WCU was swept by ETSU and Chattanooga.
Overall, Samford holds a slight edge in the series leading the Catamounts 18-17. The Bulldogs have won four of the last five meetings and six of the last 10. Western Carolina has won three of the last five SoCon series against the Bulldogs.
Western Carolina is 4-7 in first round games and 8-21 overall in conference championships. The Catamounts have lost its last three games in the conference championships by one run.
In the 2018 SoCon Championships, Western Carolina lost a heartbreaker 8-7 to the No. 2 seed Mercer. The Catamounts fell to the elimination round and again lost a one-run tearjerker 1-0 to Furman.
The Catamounts had its best showing in the SoCon Championships to date in 2015 in Chattanooga. Western Carolina was the No. 5 seed and opened the tournament with a 6-1 win over Furman. After dropping a 10-inning affair with No. 1 seed Chattanooga 5-4, the Catamounts vaulted back by defeating No. 7 seed UNCG 6-1. Western Carolina was ousted in the rematch with Furman, 6-2.
Senior Hunter Gibbons leads the Catamounts with a .327 batting average with 48 hits, 27 runs scored, nine doubles, one triple, seven homeruns, and 27 RBI. Over the last 10 games, Gibbons is hitting .357.
In the circle, the tandem of senior Shaina Reed and junior Kinsey Liscio have combined for 18 of Western Carolina’s wins this season. Liscio’s 10 wins this season is a career-best for the junior and she also leads the team in 2019 with 76 strikeouts in 135.1 innings pitched. Reed has tossed 114 innings with eight wins and 60 strikeouts.
Thursday’s slate of games will begin at 10 a.m. and eventually conclude with an 8 p.m. contest. The remaining teams will compete in three games on Friday, which are scheduled for 12:30 p.m., 3 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
Saturday will feature a championship game at 1 p.m., which may be followed by a 3 p.m. contest if the early game represents the first loss of the tournament for one of the teams. ESPN+ will broadcast Saturday’s action.
All games leading up to Saturday will be broadcast on the SoCon Digital Network.
Adult season passes, covering every game of the tournament, are $30 and youth (3-12) are $15. Adult single day passes are $10, youth tickets are $5 and faculty and staff are $5 as well. Students from Southern Conference schools can gain free admission by producing their student ID. And as a note, cash will only be accepted at the venue the day of the tournament.
Please note that Frost Stadium enforces a clear bag policy for all events.
2019 SoCon Softball Championship
Frost Stadium ▪ Chattanooga, Tenn.
Wednesday, May 8
Game 1: No. 4 Mercer vs. No. 5 ETSU, 10 a.m., SDN
Game 2: No. 2 Samford vs. No. 7 Western Carolina, 12:30 p.m., SDN
Game 3: No. 3 Chattanooga vs. No. 6 Furman, 3 p.m., SDN
Thursday, May 9
Game 4: Loser of Game 2 vs. Loser of Game 3, 10 a.m., SDN
Game 5: No. 1 UNCG vs. Winner of Game 1, 12:30 p.m., SDN
Game 6: Winner of Game 2 vs. Winner of Game 3, 3 p.m., SDN
Game 7: Loser of Game 5 vs. Winner of Game 4 , 5:30 p.m., SDN
Game 8: Loser of Game 1 vs. Loser of Game 6, 8 p.m., SDN
Friday, May 10
Game 9: Winner of Game 5 vs. Winner of Game 6, 12:30 p.m., SDN
Game 10: Winner of Game 7 vs. Winner of Game 8, 3 p.m., SDN
Game 11: Loser of Game 9 vs. Winner of Game 10, 5:30 p.m., SDN
Saturday, May 11
Game 12: Winner of Game 9 vs. Winner of Game 11, 1 p.m., ESPN+
Game 13: IF NECESSARY, 3 p.m., ESPN+