LIU Brooklyn Softball To Take on #3 Arizona State at NCAA Regional
After Capturing Their 13th NEC Title the Blackbirds Will Head West for the NCAA Regional
Brooklyn, N.Y. - The 2012 Northeast Conference champion LIU Brooklyn softball team will take on No. 3 Arizona State in Tempe, Ariz. on Friday, May 18, in the opening round of the NCAA Regionals. The two teams will square off at 6:30 p.m. PST, and are joined by Long Beach State and Syracuse in the four-team bracket.
The Blackbirds and Sun Devils have faced each other before in the NCAA Tournament, both in 2006 and 2010. ASU took home a 6-0 win in '06 at the Hempstead, N.Y. regional and took a pair of contests from LIU in 2010, including a narrow 3-2 decision in a winner's bracket game in Amherst, Mass. The last meeting between the two schools came in the Amherst Regional Final, where Arizona State advanced to the Super Regional round with a 9-1 win.
LIU earned the NEC's bid into the 2012 NCAA Tournament by virtue of three straight wins at the NEC Tournament on May 10-12. Senior Sterling Hoham sparkled all week long, hitting .545 and driving in four runs. Hoham, who was named Tournament MVP, hit what would prove to be the game-winning home run in a 1-0 victory over Robert Morris in the winner's bracket on Friday, then went 2-for-4 with a pair of runs scored in the championship win over Quinnipiac.
Sophomore Cassie Vondrak was stellar in the circle all week for LIU, picking up all three victories while garnering a 0.74 ERA over 19.0 innings pitched. Vondrak pitched back-to-back five-hit shutouts over the first two rounds of the tournament, then allowed just a pair of earned runs over five innings in the title game against the Bobcats.
The Blackbirds have won 13 NEC Tournament titles in the 26 years of the NEC, and have now advanced to the NCAA Tournament nine times in the past 14 years.