Following a regular season that saw them ascend to the No. 1 ranking in the country for the first time ever and race out to the best start in program history, the LSU softball team earned another bit of history-making news on Sunday night, as the field for the 2015 NCAA Softball Championships was released and the Tigers were named one of the top eight national seeds, sitting at No. 5 to open play this Friday.
It's the first time since the new format that the squad will not only host a regional, but have an opportunity to host an NCAA Super Regional at Tiger Park in Baton Rouge on the road to the Women's College World Series. It's also the highest seed since 2007 for LSU, when that team was 10th.
"We're really honored to be the five-seed, it's a great moment for this program and is definitely based on what these players have earned throughout the season," head coach Beth Torina said. "They've played a fantastic season and I think they deserve a lot of credit for what happened tonight."
Sitting at No. 2 in the RPI for much of the season, the Tigers played one of the top ten toughest schedules in the country throughout the course of the year, aiding in keeping the team as one of the top eight teams in the country going into action this weekend.
"Without question we had a strong RPI all year long, and the team has done a good job of having a quality season," Torina said. "We started out hot, beat some great teams from the top all the way down, and I think this group is very deserving of where they have been placed going into this weekend."
LSU will host the Baton Rouge Regional beginning this Friday beginning at 3:30 p.m. at Tiger Park, hosting Arizona State, Nebraska and Texas Southern in a double-elimination format, with the Sun Devils and Cornhuskers opening the weekend on ESPN3 in that opening game, as the Tigers and Texas State close out day one at 6 p.m. on ESPN2.
The Tigers finished the season with an overall record of 44-11, finishing fourth in the Southeastern Conference after amassing a 15-9 record against league competition. It's the third 40-plus win season and 15-win league season under head coach Beth Torina since 2012.
ASU comes into the regional after finishing fourth in the Pac-12 Conference, finishing the season with a 34-20 record and a 12-11 conference mark after claiming the season series over UCLA over the weekend in Tempe. The Cornhuskers are coming off of a loss in the Big Ten Championship Game to Michigan on Saturday, but still finished with a 34-21 record and finishing third in the conference at 17-6. Depending on the outcome, LSU could have a rematch with Nebraska, as the two teams played each other at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic in Palm Springs in February.
Texas Southern earned its second consecutive SWAC Tournament championship on Saturday, defeating Alabama State 9-0 in Decatur, Alabama, finishing the season 25-16 and 14-3 in conference. The Tigers went 4-0 in their tournament, and have won their last seven in a row heading into postseason play.
The winner of the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional will square off against the winner of the NCAA Tucson Regional, which features Arizona, Minnesota, New Mexico State and St. John's, in a best-of-three Super Regional two weeks from now.