Spartans Earn Bid to Inaugural NISC
MSU opens Tuesday at Illinois State vs. Murray State
Complete NISC Release: http://www.womensnisc.com/news/officials-announce-postseason-nisc-tournament-brackets
East Lansing, Mich. -- - The National Invitational Softball Championships (NISC) has announced that Michigan State is among the 48 teams selected for the inaugural tournament. The Spartans were the automatic qualifier from the Big Ten Conference.
The action begins Tuesday, May 16 -- regional hosts are Pacific, Weber State, Illinois State, Lamar, Georgia State and Liberty. Each double-elimination regional concludes play Thursday, May 18; the six-team Championship Round, also double elimination, will run May 21-24 at a host site to be determined.
The Spartans will take on Murray State in the first round on Tuesday at 4 pm. The winner advances to a Wednesday game (4 pm) vs. either Illinois State or IUPUI, who play Tuesday at 7 pm. The losers of Tuesday's game play on Wednesday at 1 pm. A full bracket for all six regions can be found here.
Michigan State enters the NISC with a 31-22 overall record, and dropped a heartbreaker in the Big Ten semifinals on Saturday, 4-3 to Ohio State. The Spartans were the No. 7 seed and upset No. 2 Michigan in the quarterfinals after dispatching Indiana in the first round on Thursday, 8-7.
"We have grown considerably as a team not just over the last few years, but also as the season unfolded," said head coach Jacquie Joseph. "The opportunity for us to play in the Big Ten Championship last weekend was one that our players had not experienced yet in their careers. It's a step forward. Playing for another championship this season is another goal for us to work toward and another opportunity to get better over the next two weeks. This group has faced adversity and met the challenges this season, and I'm thrilled that we get to extend our season. We're looking forward to getting right back to work."
The 15 Automatic Qualifiers are the teams with the best regular-season record in their respective conferences that are not playing in the 64-team NCAA Tournament. Six of these teams finished first in their conference for the regular season (Liberty, Iona, Illinois State, IUPUI, Ohio and Weber State). The seven National RPI selections all ranked in the top 100 nationally; at-large teams were selected off their body of work. Seventeen of the teams selected won 30 or more games this season.
Here are the first-round matchups on May 16 for each regional (all times local).
Region 1: Stockton, CA (Pacific hosts)
UC Santa Barbara (31-26) vs. Nevada (28-23), 1 p.m.
Pacific (27-24) vs. Cal Poly (34-19), 4 p.m.
Region 2: Ogden, UT (Weber State hosts)
San Diego (22-22) vs. Utah State (32-16), 1 p.m.
Weber State (33-19-1) vs. Boise State (30-18), 4 p.m
Region 3: Normal, IL (Illinois State hosts)
Michigan State (31-22) vs. Murray State (35-18), 4 p.m.
IUPUI (23-29) vs. Illinois State (30-21), 7 p.m.
Region 4: Beaumont, TX (Lamar hosts)
Abilene Christian (32-20) vs. UT Arlington (32-26), 4 p.m.
Lamar (28-28) vs. UL Monroe (30-28), 7 p.m.
Region 5: Atlanta, GA (Georgia State hosts)
Alabama State (21-33) vs. Western Kentucky (29-29), 1 p.m.
Game 1 Winner vs. Kennesaw State (36-18), 4 p.m.
UT Martin (38-18) vs. Georgia State (34-23), 7 p.m.
Region 6: Lynchburg, VA (Liberty hosts)
Iona (26-22) vs. Campbell (29-27), 1 p.m.
Game 1 Winner vs. Ohio (39-16), 4 p.m.
UNCW (33-18) vs. Liberty (38-21), 7 p.m.