ROME, Ga. — The No. 4 Berry College softball team learned on Monday that they will travel to the defending national champions and No. 1-ranked Virginia Wesleyan Marlins this weekend to open play in the program's first NCAA Super Regional round.
The three-game series will begin Friday at 4:00 p.m. (ET). The Vikings will be designated as the visiting team for the opening game, but will serve as the home team for game two on Saturday at 2:00 p.m. (ET). If a third game is necessary, it will be played immediately following game two on Saturday with a coin flip determining home and away.
The Vikings currently sit at 39-4 after three straight wins in Atlanta last weekend in the NCAA Regional round. Berry opened strong against Lynchburg, earning a 9-1 victory in five innings before topping the Maryville Scots on Saturday 7-1. The Scots forced a rematch with Berry on Sunday, as the Vikings needed a solo home run from Kayla Sangrey to ensure the 1-0 win. Senior pitcher Kassie Howard was named the Regional MVP after tossing 19.0 innings on the weekend, allowing just one run and striking out 17.
Virginia Wesleyan, sporting a 48-2 record, began their title defense against Gettysburg in the opening round of the Newport News Regional, earning a 9-2 victory. The host Christopher Newport University Captains made things interesting on Saturday, forcing the game to extra innings before the Marlins walked it off. CNU forced a rematch on Sunday, but the Marlins secured a 7-2 win to advance to their second straight Super Regional round.
Howard will likely square off against the Marlins' ace, Hannah Hull, for the majority of the series. Hull was selected as the 2017 NFCA Freshman and Player of the Year last season during the Marlins' National Championship run. This year, she has tossed her way to a 33-2 record, earning a 0.96 ERA with 296 strikeouts and 101 hits allowed. The sophomore lefty has tossed 13 shutouts on the year with 20 complete games, allowing a total of 29 earned runs.
Howard nearly matches Hull blow-for-blow on paper, earning a 25-1 record this season with a 0.74 ERA and 197 strikeouts. She has allowed just 15 earned runs this year after earning the Southern Athletic Association (SAA) Pitcher of the Year honor.
Live video and statistics will be available on BerryVikings.com.