MIDDLETOWN, Ohio — The University of Rio Grande will square off with Ohio Christian University in the opening round of the 2018 River States Conference Softball Tournament on Friday, at 10 a.m., at Jackson Memorial Park in Vienna, W.Va.
The eight-team, double-elimination tourney, which is scheduled to conclude on Saturday, will have the winner automatically qualify for the NAIA Softball National Championship Opening Round.
The top-seeded RedStorm (32-11, 16-2 RSC) are seeking a fourth straight conference tournament title. Head coach Chris Hammond’s team is already guaranteed a spot in the national tournament after winning the RSC regular season crown for a third straight season.
Rio swept the No. 8 seed Trailblazers (17-19, 5-13 RSC) by scores of 10-0 in five innings and 5-1 on March 16 at Rio Softball Park.
The tournament features 10 games on Friday and at least four more games on Saturday. The first pitch of the tournament is Friday at 10 a.m., and the championship round begins on Saturday at 3 p.m. There will be two fields in operation all day Friday and during the first two games on Saturday.
No. 4 seed Point Park (Pa.) University (14-18, 11-7 RSC) plays No. 5 seed WVU Tech (23-25, 10-8 RSC) in the other first-round game to be held at 10 a.m. The winners and losers of the top half of the bracket will play in the second round, and likewise for the bottom half of the bracket.
The bottom half of the bracket begins at 12 p.m. with No. 2 seed IU Southeast (24-12, 14-4 RSC) squaring off versus No. 7 seed Carlow (Pa.) University (18-15, 8-10 RSC). The other first-round matchup at 12 p.m. features No. 3 seed Midway (Ky.) University (19-18, 11-7 RSC) versus No. 6 Cincinnati Christian University (20-17, 9-9 RSC).
Three more tournament rounds will be held before play is through on Friday. The loser’s bracket begins with the first elimination games at 2:30 p.m. The winner’s bracket games are at 4:30 p.m., and the second round of the loser’s bracket is Friday at 6:30 p.m.
Play begins on Saturday, May 5 at 10 a.m. with the winner’s bracket final and the loser’s bracket semifinal. The loser’s bracket final will come next at 12 p.m. with the winner getting back to the championship round beginning at 3 p.m. and (if necessary) at 5 p.m.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.