Cortland Sports Information Department
The SUNY Cortland softball team has earned a berth into the NCAA Division III tournament for the fourth time in the last five seasons by virtue of winning the State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) title and will host a four-team regional May 10-12 at Dragon Field.
Friday's first-round matchups in the double-elimination format will feature second-seeded Cortland (29-14) versus third-seeded St. John Fisher (26-15) and top-seeded Williams (33-5) versus fourth-seeded Framingham State (24-19). Games times Friday are 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m., although it's still to be announced which game Cortland will be playing in.
Play will continue with three games Saturday, starting at 11 a.m., and the championship round (possible two games) starts Sunday at noon.
The winner of the regional will advance to a two-team, best-of-three "super regional" May 17-18 versus the winner of the Ithaca College-hosted regional at a site to be determined. The eight super-regional winners will play in the NCAA Division III World Series May 23-28 at the University of Texas-Tyler.
Cortland will be making its 23rd NCAA appearance, including its 11th in 13 years and 17th total under 25th-year head coach Julie Lenhart, who is retiring at the conclusion of this season. The Red Dragons have advanced to the World Series seven times during Lenhart's tenure – 1998, 2003, 2004, 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2013 – and eight times overall. The Red Dragons were the 2013 national runner-up and finished fourth nationally in 2011.
Cortland won the SUNYAC regular-season title and then captured the league's postseason tournament crown this past weekend at home. The Red Dragons started the tournament with two wins before losing to second-seeded Geneseo. Cortland bounced back to win its final three games, including 7-3 and 2-0 wins over Geneseo Saturday and Sunday, respectively, to claim the title.
Cortland and St. John Fisher split a doubleheader in Cortland earlier this season, and the Cardinals lead the overall series, 16-12, including two wins over Cortland in the 2017 NCAA super regionals at Fisher. Cortland has never faced either Williams or Framingham State.
Williams is an at-large selection into the NCAA field. The Ephs advanced to the championship game of the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) tournament before losing 3-2 to Tufts. Williams is making its ninth NCAA tournament appearance overall and sixth in a row. The Ephs advanced to the NCAA Division III World Series and finished third nationally in 2017 and lost in the super regionals last year.
Framingham, coach by former Cortland assistant Larry Miller, won its third straight Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) title to earn an NCAA automatic berth. The Rams are making their fourth NCAA appearance, with previous showings in 2007 as well as 2017 and 2018.
St. John Fisher won the Empire 8 title to earn its fourth consecutive NCAA tournament berth and 10th overall. The Cardinals finished second nationally in 2017 and third in the country in 2016, and they lost in the super regional round last spring.