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Kent State Heads to Baylor for NCAA Softball Regional

The Golden Flashes will have to compete with a nationally-seeded team and one of the country’s best mid-majors.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Second Round-Baylor vs USC Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports

The Kent State University softball team will be headed to Waco, Texas next weekend for the first round of the 2017 NCAA Division I Softball Tournament. The Golden Flashes, who survived and won three elimination games on Saturday to capture the MAC championship, learned their fate during the tournament selection show on Sunday night.

KSU (32-26 overall, 15-9 MAC) will compete against Baylor, James Madison and Oregon State in the double-elimination Waco Regional. The MAC representatives will open competition against the Bears, who earned the #15 national seed and right to host one of the 16 regional events.

Baylor completed the regular season with a 43-12 record that included a 13-5 mark in Big 12 play and 24 wins in 26 home games. The Bears are led by pitchers Kelsee Selman (22-8, 1.44) and Gia Rodoni (15-2, 1.75). The pair combined for seven shutouts and struck out 306 batters in 318 combined innings. Leadoff batter Lindsey Cargill ranks fifth in the country with a .461 batting average. She has 33 steals and 46 runs scored. Shelby Friudenberg provides the power with nine homers, 44 RBI and a .342 average.

Oregon State earned a 28-25 record in 2017 and finished a rough Pac-12 season at 9-15. The Beavers faced one MAC squad in 2017, against Miami in the San Diego Classic. Oregon State won that contest 9-0 in five innings. OSU averages 4.8 runs per game, and their offense is headed by Alysha Everett. Everett has 11 doubles, eight home runs and 45 RBI. The Beavers’ team ERA is a not-elite 3.34, and their primary mound weapon is Taylor Cotton (14-9, 2.44 in 27 starts).

James Madison enters the tournament with a 50-6 record, a 19-game winning streak, and the Colonial Athletic Association championship. They are a dangerous team with several wins over other tournament teams, including Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma State and #7 Auburn. Their lone win over a MAC foe in 2017 was a 3-0 win over Buffalo in the Maryland Invitational. Dukes’ pitcher Megan Good is one of the best in the country. She is second nationally with a 0.48 ERA and first with 14 shutouts. She ranks in the top ten with 255 strikeouts. Her record is 36-1 in 39 starts. Oh yeah – she’s also a star hitter with a .399 average, 12 homers, 57 RBI and a 1.156 OPS.

The Waco Regional will be held from Friday, May 19 to Sunday, May 21 in a double-elimination format. The winner of the four-team field will advance to the Super Regional round, which is a best-of-three series against a single opponent from May 26-28. The eight Super Regional winners advance to the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City.

2017 NCAA Division I Softball Tournament

Gainesville, FL Regional

#1 Florida vs. Florida A&M; Florida International vs. Oklahoma State

Tuscaloosa, AL Regional

#16 Alabama vs. Albany; Minnesota vs. Louisiana Tech

Knoxville, TN Regional

#8 Tennessee vs. Longwood; Ohio State vs. South Carolina Upstate

College Station, TX Regional

#9 Texas A&M vs. Texas Southern; Texas vs. Texas State

Tallahassee, FL Regional

#4 Florida State vs. Princeton; Georgia vs. Jacksonville State

Baton Rouge, LA Regionial

#13 Louisiana State vs. Fairfield; McNeese State vs. Louisiana-Lafayette

Los Angeles, CA Regional

#5 UCLA vs. Lehigh; Cal State Fullerton vs. San Jose State

Oxford, MS Regional

#12 Mississippi vs. Southern Illinois; Arizona State vs. North Carolina

Tempe, AZ Regional

#2 Arizona vs. New Mexico State; South Carolina vs. St. Francis (PA)

Waco, TX Regional

#15 Baylor vs. Kent State; Oregon State vs. James Madison

Auburn, AL Regional

#7 Auburn vs. East Tennessee State; Notre Dame vs. California

Norman, OK Regional

#10 Oklahoma vs. North Dakota State; Tulsa vs. Arkansas

Eugene, OR Regional

#3 Oregon vs. Illinois-Chicago; Wisconsin vs. Missouri

Lexington, KY Regional

#14 Kentucky vs. DePaul; Illinois vs. Marshall

Seattle, WA Regional

#6 Washington vs. Montana; Michigan vs. Fresno State

Salt Lake City, UT Regional

#11 Utah vs. Fordham; Mississippi State vs. BYU