After claiming the 2019 CAA Softball Tournament title, JMU softball will travel to Ann Arbor, Michigan, to take on DePaul in the NCAA Regionals on May 18. Michigan and St. Francis will kick off the Ann Arbor Regional on May 17.
JMU earned its automatic bid by defeating Elon 12-0 in the CAA Championship game, its fifth CAA Tournament title in program history. The Dukes will return to Regionals for the seventh consecutive season.
The Dukes ranked second in the nation in batting average (.349) and have three players hitting over .400: junior utility Kate Gordon (.440), sophomore pitcher/outfielder Logan Newton (.427) and sophomore infielder Sara Jubas (.427). Gordon and Newton ranked No. 12 and No. 18 in the nation, while Jubas ranked No.28.
Alongside Gordon, JMU’s offense is led by redshirt senior pitcher/infielder Megan Good and junior pitcher/infielder Odicci Alexander. Good batted .342 with 15 home runs and 57 runs batted in, while Alexander hit .362 with 14 homers and 56 RBIs, winning the CAA Player of the Year for the second straight season.
This season, JMU smacked 93 home runs and had 416 RBIs, finishing first in the CAA in batting average, home runs, RBIs, slugging percentage (.617) and on-base percentage (.443). The Dukes ranked sixth in the country in earned run average (1.67) and are led by Good and Alexander in the circle.
Alexander earned a 22-1 record, posting an ERA of 1.87 with 158 strikeouts. Good, the 2019 CAA Pitcher of the Year, went 19-5 with 179 strikeouts and posted an ERA of 1.49.
JMU finished the season with a 24-6 record against opponents outside the CAA, including a 3-0 victory over Michigan. Alexander earned the victory against the Wolverines, as she pitched eight innings with two walks and a strikeout. Good hit the go-ahead home run in the 9th inning.
The biggest threat to JMU returning to the Super Regionals for the first time since 2016 is No. 15 Michigan (43-11 22-1 Big Ten). The Wolverines clinched an automatic bid to Regionals when they defeated No. 12 Minnesota 3-2 in the Big Ten Tournament Championship.
Michigan finished the regular season with a perfect record at home and are coming into Regionals with a 14-game win streak. Michigan ranked No. 17 in the nation in batting average (.319), 13th in on-base percentage (.408) and had two players hit over .400 this season: freshman outfielder Lexie Blair (.424) and senior utility Faith Canfield (.418).
Michigan is led in the circle by sophomore pitcher Meghan Beaubien and freshman pitcher Alex Storako. Beaubien finished the season with a 28-4 record, tossing 203 strikeouts and posting an ERA of 2.00, while Storako went 14-6 with an ERA of 2.00 and struck out 187 batters.
DePaul punched its ticket to the postseason with an 11-10 victory over Villanova in the Big East Tournament title game. The Blue Demons (34-14, 11-5 Big East) compiled a 21-9 non-conference record, including victories over Northwestern, Boston University and Houston, who are all in the NCAA Tournament.
Junior catcher/third baseman Jessica Cothern and senior catcher/third baseman Morgan Greenwood power DePaul’s offense. Greenwood led the team in batting average (.364), while Cothern hit .356 and is tied with sophomore infielder Maranda Gutierrez for home runs with nine.
St. Francis (29-29, 10-6 NEC) is the final team in the Ann Arbor Regional as an at-large bid. The Red Flash finished with a non-conference record of 16-22, and its most notable victories were against Pittsburgh and Penn State.
The Red Flash is led by senior outfielder Hayley Norton and senior outfielder Sierra McKee. Norton led the team in batting average (.372), home runs (16) and RBIs (65), while McKee had homers (14) and RBIs (59).
The Ann Arbor Regional should have Michigan and JMU, the best two teams in the final. Although Michigan having lost to JMU earlier in the season, the Big Ten champions are 15-0 at home and are the favorites to go to the Super Regionals. If Michigan and JMU win their respective games, the rematch will take place on Sunday to determine who will play the winner of the Los Angeles Regional.
Contact Jason Clampitt at email@example.com. For more softball coverage, follow the sports desk on Twitter @TheBreezeSports.