(Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
AUSTIN -- BYU (43-11) will face off against East Carolina (42-16) in the first round of the NCAA Division I Softball Austin Regional at 5 p.m. CST on Thursday.
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Earlier this week, BYU senior Angeline Quiocho was named MWC Player of the Year, freshman J.C. Clayton garnered MWC Freshman of the Year and Cougar head coach Gordon Eakin captured MWC Coach of the Year honors.
The MWC champion Cougars also had a conference-leading six players named to the All-MWC team. Clayton made her first appearance on the list while junior pitcher Paige Affleck, junior second baseman Kristin Delahoussaye and junior catcher Jessica Fitu earned their second All-MWC honors.
Senior first baseman Andrea Ramirez was named to the team for the third time while Quiocho earned her fourth-straight All-MWC citation.
The Cougars have a 1-0 record all-time against the Pirates, who earned their second berth to the NCAA tournament in three seasons after winning the Conference USA championship with a 3-1 victory over the University of Central Florida.
BYU and East Carolina faced off in March 2008 in the Stanford Invitational in Palo Alto, California. The Cougars’ 7-6 victory came in the final inning off the bat of freshman left fielder Caschjen Atagi, now a senior on this year’s team.
Looking to avenge that loss, the Pirates currently boast an 11-game win streak and have won 20 of their last 22 games. Five players from East Carolina were selected for the Conference USA All-Tournament team, including shortstop Kaui Tom, right fielder Vanessa Moreno, first baseman Sissy Jimenez, left fielder Marina Gusman-Brown and pitcher Toni Paisley, who was also name MVP of the tournament.
“They are a scrappy team and they battle hard,” Eakin said of East Carolina. “They have really good speed and will definitely pose a strong challenge.”
The winner will play the winner of the Texas/Iona game Friday at 2:30 p.m. CST, and the loser will play the loser of that game Friday at 5 p.m CST.
NCAA Interactive Bracket