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MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Just over 24 hours from the conclusion of the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) Tournament, the Alabama State University softball team earned a bid into the National Invitational Softball Championships (NISC) as announced Sunday night.nat sb invitational

Alabama State (21-33, 10-8 SWAC) will face Western Kentucky (29-29, 10-13 C-USA) in the opening game of the regional, with first pitch scheduled for 1 pm (est) on Tuesday. The game will be part of the regional hosted by Georgia State (34-23, 18-9 Sun Belt) at the Robert E. Heck Softball Complex, and will feature Kennesaw State (36-18, 11-6 A-Sun) and UT-Martin (39-18, 13-5 OVC).

The winner of the contest advances to face Kennesaw State later on Tuesday at 4 pm, while loser will fall to the 12-noon game on Wednesday.

The tournament features six double-elimination regional tournaments beginning May 14, with the winner of each region advancing to the double-elimination tournament to be held May 21-24 at a host site to be determined.

Alabama State, winners of seven of their last 10 games, is coming off a stretch of seven games in four days in which they finished as the runner-up in the SWAC Championship Tournament which earned the Lady Hornets the automatic bid from the conference.

Senior Valerie Centeno, who is hitting .399 on the season and is currently tied for third in the country with eight triples, leads the Lady Hornets. Centeno is pacing nine other players who are hitting .300 or better on the season.

Meanwhile, Kendall Core has supplied the power for the Lady Hornets with nine home runs and 50 runs batted in; while Perry Hindi has six home runs and 30 runs batted in which paces an Alabama State team that has hit 32 home runs as a team and has 116 extra base hits.

On the mound, Vanessa Bradford is 11-13 on year with a 4.23 earned run average, while Justine Jean is 8-13 with a 5.60 earned run average after earning All-Tournament honors.

Western Kentucky comes into the game having dropped six out of their last 10 games this season, including back-to-back games in the Conference USA Tournament this weekend. Jordan Mauch and Kelsey Aikey, who both earned All-Conference honors this season, lead the Hilltoppers. Mauch leads WKU in nearly offensive category, while Aikey started nine games in the circle in the regular season, finishing 6-3 with a 3.13 earned run average in 78.1 innings.

~Alabama State Strategic Communications