CHARLOTTE, N.C. (BigSouthSports.com) - Charleston Southern earned the No. 7 seed in next week's 2016 Big South Softball Championship field as announced on Sunday evening by the conference office. The Bucs will open the tournament against No. 2 Coastal Carolina at Terry Field on the campus of Winthrop University on May 11, with first pitch set for 5 p.m. on the Big South Network.
The Bucs will look to extend their five year streak of winning multiple games in the Big South postseason, and CSU will do it from a familiar position when tournament play starts on Wednesday. Two years ago, CSU became the first No. 7 seed in Championship history to win the championship game and the Big South's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
CSU will rely on a number of players to continue their postseason success this year including senior Natalie Yonan, juniors Amanda Matsumoto, Stephanie Bergmann and Stevi Johnson, sophomore Hayley Elkins and freshman Caitlyn Emberson.
Yonan sits among CSU's all-time leaders in several categories and could become the Bucs' all-time games played leader if CSU makes an extended postseason run. Matsumoto led the Big South in stolen bases (32) on the season, while Bergmann and Johnson were both among the conference leaders in multiple batting categories on the season.
Elkins set the CSU single season strikeout record in the Bucs regular season finale and led the Big South in appearances on the season. Battery-mate Emberson was one of the top freshman in the conference in 2016, sitting among the Big South leaders in batting average, slugging percentage, and on-base percentage.
For the second time since joining the Big South Conference in 2013, Longwood is the No. 1 seed in the 2016 Big South Softball Championship presented by Musco Sports Lighting. The Lancers, who won last year's Big South softball regular-season and postseason titles, finished 2016 with a 19-5 Big South record to win the outright regular season championship.
Coastal Carolina secured the No. 2 seed with its record of 18-6 in Big South play, while Liberty receivesd the No. 3 seed with its 16-8 league record. Radford earned the No. 4 spot with a league mark of 13-11. Campbell finished Big South play at 11-13 and is the No. 5 seed.
Presbyterian College and Charleston Southern tied for sixth after going 10-14 with PC owning the tiebreaker after besting CSU 2-1 in the regular-season series to give the Blue Hose the No. 6 seed, while the Bucs receive the No. 7 seed. Gardner-Webb's 7-17 record was good for the No. 8 seed, while Winthrop rounds out the field in the No. 9 spot with a 4-20 Conference mark.
The 2016 Softball Championship presented by Musco Sports Lighting begins Wednesday, May 11 with five games scheduled and concludes with a "winner-take-all" Championship contest on Saturday, May 14 at 2:00pm. All games May 11-12 will be carried on the Big South Network. ESPN3 will air 2-4 games on Friday, May 13 as well as Saturday's Championship game. The Big South's champion receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Softball Championship. In-game statistics will be available on www.BigSouthSports.com and www.winthropeagles.com.
The Conference Championship schedule is as follows and is subject to change.
Wednesday, May 11 (Games 1-5)
Game 1: No. 8 Gardner-Webb vs. No. 9 Winthrop, 9:00am (single elimination)
Game 2: No. 4 Radford vs. No. 5 Campbell, 12:00pm
Game 3: No. 1 Longwood vs. 8/9 Winner, 2:30pm
Game 4: No. 2 Coastal Carolina vs. No. 7 Charleston Southern, 5:00pm
Game 5: No. 3 Liberty vs. No. 6 Presbyterian, 7:30pm
Thursday, May 12 (Games 6-11)
Game 6: Loser Game 2 vs. Loser Game 3, 9:00am
Game 7: Loser Game 4 vs. Loser Game 5, 11:30am
Game 8: Winner Game 2 vs. Winner Game 3, 2:00pm
Game 9: Winner Game 4 vs. Winner Game 5, 4:30pm
Game 10: Winner Game 7 vs. Loser Game 8, 7:00pm
Game 11: Winner Game 6 vs. Loser Game 9, 9:30pm
Friday, May 13 (Games 12-13 [14-15])
Game 12: Winner Game 9 vs. Winner Game 10, 10:00pm (TV: ESPN3)
Game 13: Winner Game 8 vs. Winner Game 11, 12:30pm (TV: ESPN3)
Game 14: if necessary, 3:00pm ** (TV: ESPN3)
Game 15: if necessary, 5:30pm ** (TV: ESPN3)
Saturday, May 14 (Championship Game)
TBA vs. TBA, 2:00pm (TV: ESPN3)
** - Game 14 will be necessary if the winner of Game 10 defeats the winner of Game 9. Game 15 will be necessary if the winner of Game 11 defeats the winner of Game 8. If both games are played, they will both be played on Saturday.