MONROE, La. – The ULM softball team earned an invitation on Sunday night the inaugural National Invitation Softball Championship and will travels to face Lamar on Tuesday night at 7:00 p.m. in the Lamar Regional in the first round of the NISC, tournament officials announced on Sunday night.
“I am very excited about being selected to play in the NISC,” ULM head coach Corey Lyon said. “This has been a historic season for ULM Softball in so many ways and getting an opportunity to play in a postseason tournament only solidifies the growth of the program.”
The Warhawks enter the NISC with a 30-28 overall record and coming off of a quarterfinal loss to South Alabama in the Sun Belt Conference tournament last Thursday. ULM finished 1-2 in the SBC tournament, defeating Georgia Southern before falling to Georgia State and South Alabama.
ULM has only played in a postseason tournament beyond the conference tournament on two other occasions before this selection to the NISC. In 1992, the team played in an NIT tournament and in 1997, ULM advanced to an NCAA Regional as a member of the Southland Conference. This is the Warhawks first postseason tournament beyond the conference tournament as a member of the Sun Belt Conference.
Lamar, out of the Southland Conference, enters the NISC with an even 28-28 record and seven all-conference selections, finished third in the Southland behind McNeese and Nicholls. Abilene Christian (32-20), also out of the Southland Conference, and Sun Belt member UT Arlington (32-26) will square off in the other opening game of the Lamar Regional.
ULM is led by a pair of hitters that are hitting above a .360 clip on the season. Second team all-Sun Belt performer Sydney McKay is hitting .371 with six doubles, one triple and a home run with 18 RBI and a team-best 39 stolen bases on the season. Jayden Mount is hitting .366 with eight doubles and a team-best seven home runs while sitting second on the team with 28 RBI.
In the circle the Warhawks are led by senior Melanie Coyne, who has a 17-13 record with 22 complete games and 10 shutouts on the season. She has 135 strikeouts in 209 total innings pitched. Freshman Jessie Watts has picked up a team-best three saves on the season.
The inaugural NISC features 48 teams in a double-elimination championship format. The field includes 32 teams who received automatic berths, one from each of the nation’s 32 conferences, along with 16 at-large teams, selected using metrics such as RPI, record versus top 50 and other rankings systems. Teams must also have a record of .500 or better.
The regional rounds feature a double-elimination format to determine the final eight teams. Those eight teams will then play at one site in another double-elimination event to determine the champion, which will take place May 21-24.