CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – On Thursday, UNCG begins its quest for a spot in postseason play, taking on Mercer in the Spartans' Southern Conference Tournament opener at 12:30 p.m. at Frost Stadium.
The fifth seed Bears earned their spot against UNCG in the winner's bracket with a 5-3 victory over No. 4 seed Samford Wednesday afternoon. As the tournament's top seed, the Spartans received a bye through the first day of action.
The winner of the game will move on in the winners bracket to play Friday at noon against the victor of No. 3 ETSU and No. 7 Chattanooga's matchup later in the day on Thursday. The loser will play No. 4 Samford at 8:00 p.m. Thursday in an elimination game.
UNCG will be looking to avenge its 2-1 series loss to Mercer on the road in Macon earlier in the season. The series loss was the only of its kind in SoCon play for UNCG, which won its first-ever regular season SoCon title with an 11-6 record.
The Bears are led at the plate by the speedy duo of Meghan Rud and Taylor Miller, who are batting .394 and .390 on the season, respectively. Rud is 37-of-39 on stolen bases, leading the SoCon, while Miller sits in second having successfully stolen in 31-of-34 attempts. Quirisa Mauga has belted a team-high seven home runs and easily paces the bears with 42 RBIs, the most in the conference.
In the circle, Megan Bilgri boasts a 2.28 ERA, going 12-7 in her 19 starts. Stella Preston is no slouch with a 2.58 ERA in her 29 appearances and 12 starts, posting a 5-8 record.
UNCG is seeking its first SoCon Tournament Championship and the program's first NCAA Regional appearance since winning the Big South Tournament in 1997. The Spartans are 25-35 all-time in the SoCon Tournament.