INDIANAPOLIS -- Entering the final weekend of the season, three Horizon League softball teams are still vying for the regular-season title and the number-one seed in next week's League championship.
League-leading University of Illinois at Chicago (22-23, 14-3 Horizon League) heads into the weekend with a two-game lead in the loss column over pre-season favorite Cleveland State University (28-15, 14-5) after winning two of three games from the Vikings last weekend in Cleveland.
The Flames will play host to third-place Wright State University (31-17, 15-6) with a doubleheader on Saturday and a single game on Sunday. UIC, which has won 12 of its last 15 games, is looking for its first regular-season title since taking three straight from 2004-06.
Wright State also has a chance to claim the title and is the League's hottest team, having won its last 12 since April 8, including eight straight in conference action. The Raiders are two-time defending League champions, defeating Cleveland State in the title game each of the last two years. Last season Wright State shut out the top-seeded Vikings 2-0 in the championship game at Chicago.
Despite losing the recent series to UIC, Cleveland State has won 15 of its last 18 entering its three-game weekend series at Valparaiso University. The Vikings have fallen in the League championship game four of the past six years and are aiming for their first tourney title since 1997.
Valparaiso (24-19, 9-8) is percentage points ahead of Loyola University Chicago (23-22, 11-10) and Butler University (23-26, 12-11) for fourth place.
Loyola will play a three-game series this weekend at the University of Detroit Mercy (7-37, 3-14), while Butler has completed its regular-season schedule. The weekend's other action features the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay (15-23, 4-13) at Youngstown State University (7-37, 3-14) in a three-game set.
The 2009 Horizon League Softball Championship will begin next Thursday, May 7, at Legends Field in Pendleton, Ind., and feature a double-elimination format. Butler is the tournament host.
Ticket prices are as follows:
Adults: All-tournament pass - $20 / Day pass - $8
Senior citizens and students age 12-high school: All-tournament pass - $15 / Day pass - $5
Children under 12 - Free
Horizon League students - Free (with valid student ID)
Tags: All Teams - Softball