After dramatic victories in each of their conference championship games, the North Carolina Central and Prairie View A&M softball teams learned who and where they will be playing in this coming week’s NCAA softball tournament.
The Eagles, winners of their first-ever Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference title following a 6-2 win over Coppin State in the if-necessary game Saturday afternoon, will head to Athens, Georgia to take on Athens regional host University of Georgia on Friday ESPN+ at 4:30 p.m.
Prairie View will face LSU in the Baton Rouge regional, also on Friday, with time and broadcast information to be determined.
Central, who finished third in the MEAC regular season standings with a 12-7 conference record, defeated Maryland-Eastern Shore 2-1, Norfolk State 7-4, and Coppin State 10-1 in the opening rounds of the tournament before losing a 6-5 decision to Coppin Saturday morning to force the deciding game.
In that game, the Eagles took the lead for good early as freshman first baseman Takia Nichols homered and a sacrifice fly by redshirt junior Ivory Jones pushed Central to a 2-0 lead, and they were never headed.
The Panthers had a slightly easier time in the Southwestern Athletic Conference softball tournament, going undefeated, but the championship game against Grambling State was a fight to the finish.
Freshman Aerin Talley socked a grand slam to stake Prairie View to an early 4-0 lead, but the Tigers scored the game’s next seven runs, capped by an RBI single from sophomore outfielder Kaytlyn Moore in the top of the sixth inning.
Prairie View had the final word, scoring three times in the bottom of the sixth to tie and in the bottom of the seventh, junior shortstop Destinee Smith drove in junior third baseman Jaylnn Davis with the winning run, securing back-to-back to SWAC titles for the Panthers.
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