MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. – Central Michigan Softball travels to Ann Arbor for its 13th appearance in the NCAA Championships. The Chippewas will open tournament play against California on Friday, May 17, at 4:30 p.m.
Central Michigan is 11-25 all-time in the NCAA Regional stage. The most recent appearance made by the Chippewas in the NCAA Tournament was in 2004, receiving an at-large bid. Central Michigan dropped two games in Los Angeles to Alabama and Long Beach State. Of the Chippewas’ 13 NCAA Regional appearances, five have been in Ann Arbor, more than any other location. Central Michigan is 7-10 all-time in the Ann Arbor region.
The Chippewas are 1-3 in the NCAA Tournament against Michigan. Central Michigan has only played California once in the postseason, falling to the Golden Bears, 8-0, in 1994. Central Michigan has never met Valparaiso in the postseason.
Central Michigan is coming off of its 10th conference tournament title, more than three times as many as any other team in the Mid-American Conference. All 10 titles have come under the direction of Coach Margo Jonker. The Chippewas went 4-0 throughout the tournament, giving up two runs in four games. Senior Kara Dornbos pitched 22 scoreless innings.
The Ann Arbor region features three of the top-15 coaches of all-time. Carol Hutchins of Michigan, Diane Ninemire of California and Margo Jonker of Central Michigan have combined for 3,572 career wins.
Tickets for the region are now on sale through Michigan’s ticket office. Chairback seating is available for $12, reserved bleachers for $10 and outfield bleachers are $8. Contact the Michigan Ticket Office at (734) 764-0247 or (866) 296-MTIX and by email at email@example.com.
ESPN3 will be televising the first round matchup against the Golden Bears. Follow the link below to watch Friday’s matchup at 4:30 p.m.
For additional information about tickets, live stats and video, visit the regional homepage at mgoblue.com.
California Golden Bears (36-17, 10-14 Pac-12)
California enters the NCAA Regional 67-31 all-time in regional play. The Golden Bears are 7-1 over the past two seasons in the regional stage and have made two consecutive trips to the Women’s College World Series. Cal has lost nine of its last 10 games, all against top-20 opponents. Khala Taylor leads the Golden Bears with a .342 batting average. Jolene Henderson has a 30-9 record in the circle for Cal, striking out 246 batters and has a 1.23 ERA. Central Michigan is 4-4 all-time against the Golden Bears.
Michigan Wolverines (45-10, 20-2 Big Ten)
This will be the 19th consecutive season the Wolverines have made an appearance in the NCAA tournament, and 21st in program history. Michigan is coming off of its sixth straight Big Ten regular season championship. The Wolverines hold an advantage over Valparaiso and Central Michigan, but are 1-7 all-time against California. Sierra Romero leads Michigan with 66 RBIs and 62 runs. The Wolverines are hitting .339 as a team and have six batters with over 30 RBIs. Sara Driesenga has an ERA of 1.81 from the circle this season and 26 wins. The Chippewas fell victim to Michigan once this season, on April 23, 11-0.
Valparaiso Crusaders (34-25, 11-9 Horizon)
Valparaiso will be making its second straight appearance in the NCAA tournament after capturing its second Horizon League title in two years. Last season, the Crusaders fell victim to Louisville, 6-4, and Kentucky, 5-4, in the regional round. Janelle Bouchard leads Valparaiso with 53 RBIs and 59 hits. The Crusaders have five batters hitting over .300 on the season. Taylor Weissenhofer has 20 wins from the circle and has an ERA of 2.29. Central Michigan is 1-1 against Valparaiso all-time.