EUGENE, Ore. - The BYU softball team will play its first game of the NCAA Regional on Thursday against Mississippi State at Haws Field on the campus of the University of Oregon.
The Cougars take a 14-game win streak into the postseason after most recently winning the Western Athletic Conference Tournament. BYU has won 19 of its last 20 games overall since April 11. BYU boasts five All-WAC honorees, including senior Delaney Willard, second in the nation with 88 RBIs on the year, and junior JC Clayton who is on a 14-game hit streak and has 77 hits this season, fourth most in the country.
Under BYU head coach Gordon Eakin, BYU is making its eighth-straight NCAA postseason appearance and has a record of 12-16 in eight previous apperances. In 2010, the Cougars reached their first-ever Super Regional after winning the Austin Regional in a three-game sweep.
Other teams in the Eugene Regional include Oregon, third-place finishers in the Pac-12, and Portland State, the Pacific Coast Conference Tournament champions.
Mississippi State is 33-22 on the season and is making its first NCAA trip in three years. The Bulldogs are 2-0 against BYU all-time, with the two teams last facing each other in 2007.
For complete game notes, see the PDF link at the bottom of the page.
Tournament Schedule (Pacific Time)
Thursday, May 17
3 p.m. - Game 1 - BYU vs. Mississippi State
6 p.m. - Game 2 - Oregon vs. Portland State
Friday, May 18
11 a.m. - Game 3 - Games 1 & 2 Winners
2 p.m. - Game 4 - Games 1 & 2 Losers
5 p.m. - Game 5 - Game 4 Winner vs. Game 3 Loser
Saturday, May 19
Noon - Game 6 - Game 3 Winner vs. Game 5 Winner
3 p.m. - Game 7 (if necessary) - same teams as Game 6
COUGAR QUICK HITS
— BYU has a record of 12-16 in its previous eight NCAA Tournaments and is 5-6 over the last two seasons, including an appearance in its first and only Super Regional in 2010.
— BYU is currently on a 14-game win streak, including a three-game run through the WAC Tournament. The streak is the third longest in program history behind two other streaks of 16 games apiece.
— Senior outfielder Delaney Willard was voted the WAC Player of the Year and All-WAC First Team by league coaches. Senior Jessica Dugas and junior JC Clayton were also named to the First Team while sophomores Tori Almond and Katie Manuma were among the Second Team honorees.
— Delaney Willard currently has 88 RBI, a new WAC single-season record and three away from the BYU record of 90 set by Angie Quiocho in 2010. She is ranked second in the nation just behind ULL’s Christi Orgeron (91 RBI).
Willard is an All-America candidate and is currently ranked in the NCAA top-25 in nine different categories, including total RBI (2nd, 88), RBI per game (2nd, 1.57), slugging percentage (11th, .880), hits (14th, 71), home runs (14th, 18), doubles (15th, 17), batting average (20th, .428), home runs per game (20th, 0.32) and doubles per game (23rd, 0.30).
— Ranked 20th in the nation with a .428 batting average and fourth in the country with 77 hits, junior shortstop JC Clayton is on a 14-game hit streak with 30 total hits in the process. Clayton is also 21st in the country in runs scored and 27th in the nation in triples.
ONE OF A FEW
BYU is one of just 20 teams in the country to have played in each of the last eight NCAA Tournaments, tied with Arizona State and Texas for the 18th-longest streak in the nation. The Cougars and Louisiana-Lafayette are the only teams from mid-major conferences to have gone to eight straight.
NCAA TOURNEY UNDER EAKIN
Under Coach Gordon Eakin, the Cougars are 11-14 in NCAA Tournaments. BYU has reached the final day in five out of the eight Regionals Eakin has been the head coach.
START OFF RIGHT
BYU has won its first game of every NCAA Regional the team has competed in since 2007, a streak of five years in a row. Below is the Cougars’ all-time Regional records by day and game:
Thursday game 1: 6-2
Friday Winner’s Bracket game 2: 1-5
Loser’s Bracket game 2: 1-1
Loser’s Bracket game 3: 3-3
Saturday Championship game 3: 1-3
If Necessary game 4: 0-0
ON BASE OFTEN
Hits, walks, hit by pitch -- it doesn’t matter how the Cougars have reached base this season, but they’ve done it more often than almost any other team in BYU history. Two players, JC Clayton and Delaney Willard, have on base percentages that rank in the top-10 in the BYU individual rankings.
1) 2010 .416
2) 2012 .413
3) 2008 .402
The cougars have kept on winning this year, compiling their eighth-straight 40 season with a chance to earn the most wins in program history:
Most Wins in a Season