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Griffons Confident with Augustana Looming in NCAA Regional Opener

Missouri Western split their previous two meetings with Augustana in the regular season.
(ST. JOSEPH) Missouri Western earned the fifth seed in the NCAA Softball Central Regional and will face Augustana (SD) in the opening round in Winona, Minn. on Friday. 

The Griffons, who have won 18 of their last 20 games and captured their first ever MIAA Tournament Championship on Saturday, will try to win their first NCAA Tournament game since 2009 while making their seventh overall appearance. They split their two regular season meetings with Augustana, losing 3-1 in Mankato, Minn. before blanking the Vikings 6-0 at MWSU. 

"We're not nervous about it at all," second baseman Michelle Stevenson said. "I don't think we could have better chemistry right now. I think everything is right where it needs to be."

"I think that's why we're so excited and we're so confident in ourselves because we have been doing so well," catcher Kat Steponovich added. 

The two teams are joined by top-seeded Winona State and No. 4 seed Southern Arkansas. 

Minnesota State, Southeastern Oklahoma State, and the MIAA's Emporia State and Central Oklahoma make up the other Central Regional to be played in Mankato.

"It doesn't matter where we play. We're just glad that today was a much happier ending that it was last year," head coach Jen Trotter said. "We're just ready to go get on a bus and play together again."

"Other than some tweaks here and there, for the most part, we're going to try to stay fresh, in the mindset, and physically where we were this weekend. If we play like that, we're going to be hard to beat."

First pitch for MWSU in the double elimination tournament comes at 3:30 central time.



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