Warhawks host; earn top seed in NAIA’s opening round of softball

MONTGOMERY, Ala.  (aumathletics.com) — The Auburn Montgomery softball team, who remained second in the final regular-season NAIA Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, earned the top seed in the Auburn Montgomery Bracket of the NAIA Softball National Championship Opening Round when the national office announced the seeding for the 10 Opening Round sites Tuesday Afternoon.

Joining the Warhawks in the Auburn Montgomery Bracket will be second seed Central Methodist (Mo.), third Rio Grande and No. 4 seed Lourdes. The Opening Round will be played May 16-18 at the AUM Softball Complex.

The 10 Opening Round champions will punch their ticket for the 36th annual NAIA Softball World Series in Sioux City, Iowa, from May 27 – June 2.

The Warhawks enter the tournament with a 48-6 overall record, including a 16-4 mark in the Southern States Athletic Conference, where the Warhawks were the Regular Season Co-Champions and won the programs first SSAC Conference Championship. AUM is making its fifth consecutive tournament appearance. Last season, the Warhawks won their second consecutive national championship. In 2014, AUM won its own Opening Round Bracket, and went on to win the program’s first National Championship. The Warhawks are the only team in the field to have three Opening Round Titles.

Central Methodist (41-16) is ranked 19th nationally and earned its bid by finishing as the Heart of America Athletic Regular-Season Champion. The Eagles are competing in their fourth Opening Round appearance, and have posted a 6-4 record with one OR title.

Rio Grande (36-14) is ranked 22nd nationally, and will make its second consecutive postseason appearance after winning the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Tournament. The RedStorm are 1-2 in postseason play. Lourdes (18-28) punched its ticket by being the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Tournament Runner-Up. The Gray Wolves are making their inaugural appearance in the tournament.

The Opening Round will begin Monday with the Eagles and RedStorm, and will be followed by the Warhawks facing the Gray Wolves. Game times will be announced later this week.

Ticket prices will be sold on a per day basis for the tournament. Chair-back seats are available for purchase for $10, while general admission will be $8. Students from participating team will be $5 with a valid ID.

COMPLETE SCHEDULE
Monday, May 16
Game 1 – No. 2 seed Central Methodist vs. No. 3 seed Rio Grande – TBD
Game 2 – No. 1 seed AUM vs. No. 4 seed Lourdes – TBD

Tuesday, May 17
Game 3 – Winner of Game 1 vs. Winner of Game 2 – TBD
Game 4 – Loser of Game 1 vs. Loser of Game 2 – TBD
Game 5 – Loser of Game 3 vs. Winner of Game 4 – TBD

Wednesday, May 18
Game 6 – Winner of Game 3 vs. Winner of Game 5 – TBD