Lady Toppers ready for first NCAA Tournament Regional game

Kyle Williams

TUSCALOOSA, Ala.–The WKU softball team is set to take on South Carolina Upstate (41-10) in its first-ever NCAA Tournament Regional game Friday at 3:30 p.m. at Alabama’s Rhoads Stadium.

WKU (41-16, 20-3 Sun Belt Conference) is paired with defending national champion Alabama, Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament champion South Carolina Upstate, and Ohio Valley Conference Tournament champion Jacksonville State in the Tuscaloosa Regional.

The Lady Toppers have etched their name all over the WKU record books this season, and coach Tyra Perry said the team is thrilled with their postseason position.

“We are very excited about our first Regional postseason opportunity,” Perry said. “It’s great to be here…we can tell already that everything is going to be a great experience for us.”

WKU will face another first-time NCAA Tournament Regional opponent in USC Upstate at 3:30 p.m. on Friday.

The Lady Spartans are led by sophomore outfielder Shellie Robinson and junior outfielder Meredith Barnes, who combined for 112 hits on the season. The pair also totaled 46 and 39 RBI, respectively.

Perry said that the Lady Toppers have done their homework on the Atlantic Sun champions in preparation for Friday.

“We’ve done our research on them,” Perry said. “They’ve had a great season.”

The Lady Toppers have faced seven ranked opponents this season and Perry said the strong schedule should help WKU in the postseason.

“We’ve done a lot this year and played a lot of competitive games,” the coach said. “…A lot of ranked teams, a lot of ranked programs that have had success.”

Despite the countless records WKU has broken this season, senior infielder Ciara Garcia said the Lady Toppers won’t settle for anything less than a win.

“We want to go and we want to win,” Garcia said. “…We’re going to beat teams. We’re not just going to be happy that we’re there.”