Nighthawks Head To SoCal For NCAA West Regional
Northwest Nazarene is in the NCAA West Regional for the third straight year and the fourth time in the last five tournaments. Photo by Ethan Cairns.
Northwest Nazarene is in the NCAA West Regional for the third straight year and the fourth time in the last five tournaments. Photo by Ethan Cairns.

Monday, May 8, 2023

PORTLAND, Ore. – For the third straight year, Northwest Nazarene is headed to Southern California as the GNAC’s lone representative in the NCAA Division II Softball Championships, which begins on Thursday.

The Nighthawks, the No. 4 seed, will face No. 5 seed Cal State San Bernardino in the first-round West Regional pod in Irvine, California, hosted by Concordia. The game is scheduled to start at noon (Pacific).

The bottom half of the first-round, double-elimination bracket will feature the pod host and No. 1 seed Golden Eagles against No. 8 seed Biola.

For Northwest Nazarene, it is the program’s third consecutive trip to the NCAA West Regional and their fourth appearance since 2018. The Nighthawks, the GNAC champion, enter the tournament with a 36-15 overall record and on a 10-game win streak.

Northwest Nazarene cruised through the conference season with a 21-3 mark, losing just two contests against GNAC teams since March 24. The Nighthawks were dominant in winning the GNAC Softball Championships last weekend in Burnaby, British Columbia. After taking Thursday’s opener 2-1 over Western Oregon, junior Sidney Booth threw her second no-hitter of the season to lead a 12-0, five-inning win over Saint Martin’s on Friday. In Saturday’s championship game, freshman Emma Bumatay scored the winning runs with a two-run homer in the sixth en route to a 3-2 victory over Western Washington.

Booth was named the GNAC Championships MVP after she allowed just two earned runs, both in the final against Western Washington, on 11 hits with 10 strikeouts in three starts with a 2-0 record and 0.88 ERA. She enters the West Regional leading the conference with a 1.88 ERA and is tied for first with 18 wins on the season.

As a team, NNU leads the conference with a 2.00 ERA while owning a .275 batting average. Senior Tori Hensley has been the Nighthawks’ top two-way threat. She ranks second in the GNAC with a 1.90 ERA and third with a .387 batting average. Senior Maia McNicoll, the GNAC Player of the Year, owns a .310 batting average while freshman Jami Obringer is batting .303.

In the Division II statistics, Northwest Nazarene ranks 14th in walks drawn (188), 17th in WHIP (1.10), 23rd in strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.33) and 30th in shutouts (12).

The winner of the four-team pod in Irvine will advance to play the winner of the four-team pod in Rohnert Park, California in a three-game super regional next weekend. That pod features No. 2 seed Cal State Dominguez Hills, No. 3 seed and pod host Sonoma State, No. 6 seed Cal State San Marcos and No. 7 seed Azusa Pacific.

Northwest Nazarene went 1-2 in last year’s West Regional. After beating pod host Cal State San Marcos 4-0, the Nighthawks were eliminated with a 4-0 loss to Sonoma State and a 4-0 loss to the Cougars.

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