Ladies Softball Set for Season Opener
Thursday, February 9, 2006




Micah Rhodes

Jennifer Mango

AUBURN, Ala.—The Centenary softball team begins its pursuit of a third straight trip to the NCAA Tournament when the Ladies open their 2006 campaign on Friday at Auburn University. Centenary will play five games over the weekend in a tournament hosted by the Tigers, which also includes North Carolina State, Miami (OH), Minnesota, and Evansville. 

 

The Ladies open their participation in the tournament on Friday at 1 pm when they match up with NC State. The Wolfpack finished 41-25 last season, and 7-7 in the ACC. Later that day at 5:30 p.m., Centenary will take on Miami (OH). The Redhawks were 34-26 in 2005 and placed second in the East division of the MAC with a 13-8 conference mark. The Maroon and White have not faced either team since the softball program began in 1987.

 

On Saturday, Centenary will lock up with Minnesota at 10 a.m. and Evansville at 8 p.m. The Golden Gophers finished in the middle of the pack with a fifth place showing in the Big Ten last year with a 10-10 record in league play and a 33-23 mark overall. The Aces of Evansville struggled in 2005 with a 16-34 won-loss total and were 7-20 in the MVC to claim eighth place. The Ladies are 0-1 all-time against Minnesota, but have never faced Evansville.

 

The round-robin tournament concludes on Sunday with a single game for Centenary against the host school at 2 p.m. Auburn is ranked #17 in the USA Today/NFCA Top 25 Preseason Poll. The Tigers were 50-18 last year and 21-8 in the SEC West, good enough for second place in the division. The Ladies are 0-2 all-time versus Auburn.

 

Centenary enters the 2006 campaign fresh off their second consecutive visit to the NCAA postseason after winning their second Mid-Con Tournament in as many years in the conference. The Ladies were 31-28 last season, 11-9 within the league, and placed third in the regular season.

 

Coach Mark Montgomery is excited about his team this year as his pitching staff has matured and his offense should be potent. Sophomore pitchers Jessica Ivins (19-14, 2.81 ERA) and Kristan Morton (9-9, 4.33 ERA) shouldered the load last year as freshmen and valuable experience has them primed and ready for their second tour at the Division I level. Freshman sensation Ashley Lail will also see time in competing for the designation as staff ace after having an outstanding fall season.

 

Mid-Con All-Conference players Micah Rhodes (.311 BA, 8 HR, 35 RBI) and Lindsey Jones (.278 BA, 8 Doubles, 19 RBI), as well as All-Louisiana selection Jennifer Mango (.325 BA, 27 R, 28 RBI), return to bolster an offense that has the makings of a record-breaking run. Jennifer Flowers (.305 BA, 33 R, 15 SB) and newcomer Emerald Doria look to get on base frequently and keep the running game efficient while Megan Hall (.264 BA, 4 HR) and Dana Davis (.248 BA, 4 HR) provide a power threat each time to the plate.

 

Four of the five games in the Auburn Tournament can be followed through live stats offered over the internet. The opening contest against NC State will not feature live stats. You can follow the Ladies live at the following link: http://auburntigers.collegesports.com/sports/w-softbl/spec-rel/06-tiger-invitational.html.

 

Centenary will host UT-Tyler in its home opener on Wednesday, February 15th at 5:30 p.m. at the Centenary Softball Complex.