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AU set for Empire 8 softball championship; NCAA tournament berth on the line
5/01/13

ALFRED, NY — The Alfred University softball team plays this weekend at the Empire 8 Conference Championship tournament, where the Saxons hope to earn the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Division III championships.

                

Alfred (21-15, 7-5 Empire 8) is the fourth seed in the four-team double-elimination tournament. The Saxons will take on the top-seeded host team, Utica College, at noon on Friday (May 3). The other two teams – second-seeded Elmira College and third-seeded St. John Fisher College – play Friday at 10 a.m.

                

If Alfred defeats Utica, the Saxons would play the winner of the Elmira-Fisher game at 4 p.m. Friday. If AU loses to Utica, it would take on the loser of the Elmira-Fisher game at 2 p.m. Friday, with the loser of that game eliminated. A full tournament schedule, plus live stats and live audio links, can be found at the Championship Website.

                

Alfred is 2-4 against the other three teams in the tournament. The Saxons split a doubleheader at home against Utica, losing 11-0 and winning 6-5; split on the road with Elmira, winning 1-0 and losing by the same score; and being swept at Fisher, losing 1-0 and 6-1.

                

The Saxons will be making their sixth appearance in the Empire 8 Championship tournament in Gino Olivieri’s eight seasons as head coach. The Saxons’ best tournament came in 2010, when Alfred, the top seed and tournament host, made it to the championship game. AU lost the tournament title to Ithaca, but still received an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament, where the Saxons lost to Ithaca in the regional championship game.

                

AU has one more non-league doubleheader before this weekend’s Empire 8 tournament. The Saxons will travel to Keuka College for a 3 p.m. twinbill on Wednesday (May 1). Those games were originally scheduled for April 3 but were postponed due to inclement weather.