(Photo by BYU Photo)
PROVO, Utah – West Coast Conference champion BYU softball is going to Columbia, Missouri, to face the No. 15 overall tournament seed Missouri Tigers in the NCAA Regionals on Thursday.
“We are excited to be a part of this year's NCAA tournament," BYU head coach Gordon Eakin said. "We are equally excited to play in a great regional with three great opponents. It will be a challenge, but that is what the NCAA tournament is all about."
BYU (35-19, 12-3 WCC) clinched its third straight WCC title after winning a 1-0 thriller in 12 innings at San Diego on Friday night. This is the Cougars’ eighth straight conference title spanning four different conferences. The title guaranteed BYU an automatic bid for its 12th consecutive and 13th overall trip to the postseason.
Missouri (39-14, 14-10 SEC) will host BYU, Nebraska (33-19, 16-6 Big 10) and Louisville (35-15, 15-8 ACC) this weekend in the double-elimination Columbia Regional.
Last season, the Cougars traveled to the Eugene Regional where they defeated Fresno State, but dropped games to No. 1 Oregon and No. 24 North Dakota State.
No. 15 Missouri
Earlier this year, BYU played Mizzou in February at the Mary Nutter Classic in Cathedral, California, falling 16-6 to the Tigers. Libby Sugg hit a two-run homer in the game while Gordy Bravo and Lauren Bell both went 2 for 4 with a run scored. Mizzou finished the regular season with a 39-13 record, 14-10 in the SEC, a conference that includes multiple top-25 teams. The Tigers lost in the opening round of the SEC tournament, upset 7-4 by South Carolina.
The Cornhuskers capped off regulars season play with a 33-19 record, including a 13-9 mark in the Big 10. Nebraska fell short in an 8-7 loss to Penn State in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament over the weekend. Earlier this year, the Cornhuskers faced a fellow Columbia Regionals team, the Louisville Cardinals. Nebraska won both of the two games played in the Big 10/ACC Challenge tournament in Raleigh, North Carolina back in February.
The Cardinals finished 2016 with a 35-15 record (15-8 in the ACC). They lost to No. 20/23 Notre Dame in the semifinals of the ACC tournament last weekend. Louisville’s strong resume gave them a chance to continue on in the Columbia Regional. Earlier this year, the Cardinals were scheduled to face the Tigers, but the game was canceled.
Broadcast details are listed below, and live stats will be available on the BYU softball schedule page.
COLUMBIA REGIONAL SCHEDULE (CDT)
Thursday, May 19
Game 1 - 4:30 p.m. Louisville vs. Nebraska (ESPN2)
Game 2 - 7:00 p.m. No. 15 Missouri vs. BYU (ESPN2)
Friday, May 20
Game 3 - 1 p.m. Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2 (ESPNU)
Game 4 - 3:30 p.m. Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2 (ESPN3)
Game 5 - 6 p.m. Winner Game 4 vs. Loser Game 3 (ESPN)
Saturday, May 21
Game 6 - Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 5
Game 7 - Winner Game 6 vs. Loser Game 6 (if necessary)