LORETTO, Pa. (WTAJ) – For the second-straight season, Saint Francis is hosting the NEC Softball Championship. The no. 1 seeded Red Flash play the no. 4 seeded LIU Sharks on Thursday at noon.

Saint Francis is 34-16 on the season, and 20-4 in the conference. They finished first in the conference for the second year in a row.

Senior thirdbaseman Mekenzie Saban is tied for second in the NCAA with 22 doubles and ranks 16th with a .433 batting average. Against LIU during the regular season series, Saban hit .778 and set the program’s career-doubles record.

“I was just kind of focusing on see ball, hit ball,” said Saban, the program’s all-time hit leader. “I have a lot of faith in our hitters so regardless of what their pitching is I know that we’re going to be able to hit them so it’s the same thing going into this weekend.”

This season, Saint Francis swept LIU in the series, and outscored the Sharks 34-15. The Red Flash have won the last nine against the Sharks. All-time, LIU leads the series 45-29.

“There’s a lot of history between us especially when it comes tournament time,” said Rachel Marsden, a sophomore pitcher. “So it’s gonna be a good game. It’s going to be well pitched and well hit so we’re going to take it pitch by pitch and see what happens.”

“When we played them in the regular season we had to come from behind multiple times and I think our team steps up to the occasion and they know what we’re in for and we know it’s going to be a tough tournament and a tough game against Long Island,” said Jessica O’Donnell, Saint Francis head softball coach.

No. 2 seeded Mount St. Mary’s will play no. 3 Fairleigh Dickinson at 3 P.M. on Thursday.

The winner of the NEC Championship will get an auto-bid to the NCAA Softball Tournament.