KNOXVILLE, Tenn. —LSU left Tennessee feeling like a runner-up finish in the SEC Softball Tournament would be enough to earn an NCAA Softball Regional bid.
That came to fruition Sunday night when the Tigers (41-18) were assigned the NCAA Softball Tournament’s No. 13 overall seed and scheduled to begin play on Friday at Tiger Park.
It’s the third consecutive season LSU has hosted a regional, and the Tigers are hoping that will translate to a third consecutive Women’s College World Series appearance.
LSU will play Metro Atlanta Athletic Conference champ Fairfield (26-25) at 5:30 p.m. (central) on Friday.
Southland Conference champ McNeese State (42-16) and Sun Belt Conference champ Louisiana-Lafayette (45-6) open the Baton Rouge Regional at 3 p.m.
“It’s exciting to host and its fun not to have to travel and play in front of our fans,” coach Beth Torina said in a school release on lsusports.net. “They deserve to have us play here too. They’ve supported us all year and they’ve been great all season long. I’m glad we get to play in front of them and play in Tiger Park one more time.”
“We are playing better softball than we have all year long.”
No doubt, LSU hitters didn’t go down in order at the SEC Softball Tournament until the fifth inning of the championship game, a string of 25 frames.
Junior pitcher Allie Walljasper pitched a complete game victory over Tennessee and went 5 1/3 innings in the 6-0 semifinals win over Auburn.
Carley Hoover saw her first action since April 29 and was mostly sharp, entering the Auburn game with the bases loaded and one out before pitching out of that jam without allowing a run.
Hoover could not repeat that feat against Ole Miss, but her pitching line was solid: five innings, one earned run with six hits scattered and three walks.
Catcher Sahvanna Jaquish gunned down all three Rebels baserunners who attempted to steal on her in the title game.