Indianapolis, Indiana-The University of Bridgeport softball team will begin 2019 NCAA Division II Championship play on Thursday, May 9 as the number eight seed Purple Knights (33-14) will travel to Manchester, N.H. to face top-seeded and host, the St. Anselm College Hawks (37-8), in the opening game of the East Region 1 bracket. The champions of the East Coast Conference and the Northeast-10 Conference will face off at 12 noon followed by number four seed Georgian Court University (45-9) taking on number five seed Southern New Hampshire University (36-13) at 2:30 p.m. St. Anselm also finished as the 2018 NCAA Division II Softball national runner-up falling to Southern Indiana in the title series.
The other side of the East Region bracket will be hosted by Wilmington (Del.) University and feature number two seed, LIU Post (46-10), number three seed, Wilmington (39-13), number six seed, Adelphi (31-18) and number seven seed, the University of New Haven (31-14).
The winners of the two regional double-elimination tournaments will play a best-of-three games Super Regional series the following week, and the Super Regional Champion from each of the eight regionals will advance to the Division II Softball Championship which will be held at the Regency Athletic Complex in Denver, Colorado from May 23-27.
The Purple Knights will head into the NCAA Tournament with a 33-14 overall record and winners of five straight contests, as the team swept three games in the ECC Championship Tournament led by the ECC tourney's Most Outstanding player, pitcher Amanda Staheli (Grad. Student, Pecatonica, Ill.), who earned all three of Bridgeport's wins including firing two shutouts of against powerful and top-seeded LIU Post in the Pioneers' home park.
Sophomore, outfielder Kaira Ramon (Stamford, Conn.), a First Team All-East Coast Conference selection, leads Bridgeport with a .388 batting average and is a perfect 16-for-16 in the stolen base department. Ramon also has three home runs and 32 RBI so far in 2019.
Junior, shortstop Allison Luzzi (East Haven, Conn.), a two-time First Team All-ECC selection and an All-Region performer in 2018, is second in batting average at .372, plus she has five homers and 26 runs batted in from the lead-off spot in head coach Dawn Stearns' order.
Junior, third baseman Samantha Sabor (Plainfield, Ill,), another First Team All-Conference pick, is tied for the team lead in runs batted in with 39, plus she has a .359 average so far this season.
Senior, outfielder Jenna DiLorenzo (Woodbridge, Conn.), a Second Team All-East Coast Conference pick, has provided power all season long for UB, as she leads the team with nine home runs, plus she is batting .325 with 39 RBI to tie Sabor in that category.
This trip to the NCAAs will be the third in the history of Bridgeport softball, and the first in 30 years, as UB's previous NCAA appearances came in 1988 and 1989.