BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – Spring sports in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) were busy this past weekend, with some wrapping up their Conference seasons and others preparing for and embarking on national competition.
No. 30-ranked Bethel University secured its first trip to the NCAA Tournament on Sunday by winning the MIAC Baseball Playoffs for the first time in program history. The Royals lead the nation in earned-run average with an ERA of 1.80 - the only team in the nation with a sub-2.00 ERA. Bethel will begin Tournament play on Thursday, May 17 against Wis.-Oshkosh. First pitch is set for 7:00 p.m. at Wade Stadium in Duluth, Minn.
Sophomore pitcher Hayley Dunning threw a no-hitter to lead No. 7-ranked St. Thomas to a 1-0 win over No. 23-ranked Central (Iowa) in Saturday's NCAA Regional Softball Championship. With the win, the Tommies secured a berth in the Super Regional round for the fourth time in the last five seasons and will challenge Luther College in a best-of-three series May 18-19. Luther advanced to the Super Regional after topping MIAC runner-up Saint Benedict, 3-0, in their regional championship. CSB finished the year with a program-record 36 victories and its first berth in the NCAA Tournament since 1994. Luther will host the Super Regional with games set for 4:00 p.m. on Friday and 1:00 p.m. on Saturday. If necessary, Game 3 is set for 3:30 p.m. on Saturday afternoon in Decorah, Iowa.
The MIAC champion St. Thomas men's golf team was among 33 squads nationwide to receive automatic qualification into the 2018 NCAA Division III Men's Golf Championships. The No. 3-ranked Tommies will be joined on the course this week by No. 12 Saint John's University, one of seven programs to earn a Pool C at-large berth into the Tournament. The 2018 Championships will be held May 15-18 at Grandover Resort, in Greensboro, North Carolina, and will be hosted by Guilford College and the Greensboro Sports Commission.
Carleton finished its record-setting season with a sixth-place finish at the 2018 NCAA Division III Women's Golf Championships. The Knights entered play ranked No. 15 in the nation and seeded 12th in the 25-team field. The sixth-place team finish ties for the best placement in program history and marks the third time in the last four years that the Knights posted a top-10 team score at the NCAA Championships. Individually, junior Ziyi Wang tied for seventh in the country with a final score of 314. Wang totaled 46 pars over the week, the second-most of any golfer in the field. The MIAC had five golfers finish among the top-40 scorers, including Wang, teammates Alexis Chan (t-24th) and Ayumi Sakamoto (t-37th), St. Thomas' Emily Thul (t-27th) and Bethel's Christine Piwnica (t-34th).
Gustavus Adolphus fell to No. 20-ranked Whitman College, 5-4, in the NCAA Regional Championship last Saturday. The Gusties ended their season with a 24-9 record. However, play will continue for two Gusties, as Mohanad Alhouni will compete in the NCAA Singles Championships and will team with partner Patrick Whaling at the 2018 Doubles Championships. Fellow Gustie Zach Ekstein is a second alternate in singles competition. Additionally, Carleton's first-year competitor Leo Vithoontien qualified for the Singles Championships, while he and teammate Jordon O'Kelly are third alternates on the doubles side. The 2018 individual championships will be played May 24-26 at The Biszantz Family Tennis Center in Claremont, California, and will be hosted by Claremont-Mudd-Scripps.
The Gustavus women's tennis team ended its NCAA Tournament run on Saturday with a 5-2 loss to No. 34-ranked Wis.-Whitewater. The Gusties finished their 2018 season with an 18-8 overall record. Gustavus junior No. 1 singles competitor Briana Hartmann was selected to compete in the 2018 Singles Championships, which will be played May 24-26 at Biszantz Family Tennis Center in Claremont, California, and will be hosted by the Claremont McKenna-Harvey-Mudd-Scripps Colleges.