LA GRANDE — It has been a near historic season for the Eastern Oregon University softball program.

The Mountaineers concluded the regular season with a 39-13 record, just two wins away from tying the all-time program record for wins in a season — Eastern set the record in 1999 under now-athletic director Anji Weissenfluh. Coming off three straight losing seasons, the Mountaineers enter the postseason as a contender in the Cascade Collegiate Conference. The path to NAIA Softball World Series begins in Klamath Falls, where Eastern will face Corban in the opening round on Friday, May 6.

Eastern hit the ground running to start the season, jumping out to a winning record and never looking back. The Mountaineers finished with a 24-6 conference record, just one game back of first-place Oregon Tech. Eastern tied for second with Southern Oregon, but lost out on the two-seed because of a tiebreaker.

For Eastern, starting pitcher Amanda Smith has been the team’s ace all season. Smith is 17-5 on the year, a win total good for second in the conference. She is also second in the conference in earned run average (1.73) and opposing batting average (.191). Smith ranks third in both strikeouts (120) and saves (three).

The team has relied on a strong cumulative effort at the plate, with six players in the lineup hitting over .300 in the regular season.

Caitlin Crist and Kayla Berg lead the team with 30 RBIs each, while Crist is the team’s runs leader with 41.

The Mountaineers picked up speed as the season progressed, which was evident in a series against No. 3 Oregon Tech on the weekend of Friday, April 22. Eastern swept the first three conference games and lost the fourth matchup 9-6. The victories propelled the Mountaineers to a tie for first overall in the Cascade Collegiate Conference standings, but the team ultimately finished third amid a tight finish at the top of the rankings.

Heading into the team’s first-round matchup, Eastern boasts a 3-1 record against Corban on the year. The Mountaineers outscored the Warriors 18-13 across a four-game series.

Eastern is set to square off against Corban at 11:30 a.m. on May 6, with the winner advancing to play Southern Oregon later on the same day. The loser of the first-round matchup will have a chance at redemption in the double-elimination tournament.

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