JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (May 7, 2017) – The 2017 Southern Conference softball regular season came to an end on Sunday, which means the field is set for the upcoming conference tournament that opens Wednesday morning at Chattanooga’s Frost Stadium.
ETSU – who ended the regular season at 25-24 overall, 10-7 in the conference – earned the No. 3 seed and will begin its run for a tournament title Wednesday afternoon against No. 6 seed Western Carolina. First pitch between the Buccaneers and Catamounts is set for 3 p.m.
The Catamounts finished the regular season taking two of three from reigning regular season and tournament champion Samford this weekend in Cullowhee, N.C. Western Carolina sits 17-28 overall, 6-11 in SoCon play.
ETSU and Western Carolina split a doubleheader last month in Cullowhee with the series finale being cancelled due to rain. The Catamounts won game one, 8-3, while the Blue and Gold bounced back with a 3-1 win in game two.
The two teams have met 26 times with ETSU leading the all-time series, 16-10; however, Wednesday marks their first ever meeting in a conference tournament game.
The ETSU-Western Carolina winner takes on the No. 2 Furman-No. 7 Chattanooga winner Thursday at 3 p.m. Meanwhile, the loser of ETSU-WCU faces the loser of Furman-Chattanooga in an elimination game Thursday at 10 a.m.
Samford and Mercer open the conference tournament Wednesday at 10 a.m. in the No. 4-5 game, while top-seed UNCG plays the winner of that game Thursday at 12:30 p.m.
ETSU’s third-place regular season finish tied the Bucs’ highest placing in the conference standings in program history. The Bucs also finished third last year.
The Blue and Gold are searching for their first conference tournament title in program history and first trip to the NCAA Tournament. ETSU’s top finish at a conference tournament came in 2003 when they finished runner-up. The Bucs haven’t won a conference tournament game since 2008 when they went 2-2 in the Atlantic Sun Championship, while ETSU’s last SoCon Tournament win was a 5-4 eight-inning victory over Georgia Southern in 2004.
The Bucs are 7-14 all-time in the SoCon Championship, while Western Carolina is 7-19. Neither team has won a SoCon Championship title.
The SoCon Championship will be video streamed on the SoCon Digital Network on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, while the championship game(s) will be broadcast on ESPN3.