Tigers No. 3 National Seed, Headed for Region 3 in Waco, Texas
BATON ROUGE — The LSU Tigers, winners of the Southeastern Conference regular season and tournament championship, were named as the third national seed for the 2004 NCAA Softball Championships and will begin NCAA Regional play Thursday in Waco, Texas.
Baylor will host Region 3 and the Tigers (50-10), ranked second in the national polls, will play the eighth-seed in the region, Texas A&M Corpus Christi at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at 1,200-seat Getterman Stadium. All LSU games will be broadcast on the LSU Sports Network (107.3 FM in Baton Rouge).
The rest of the regional first-round games on Thursday will have the host Bears, the third seed at 45-14), taking on sixth-seed North Carolina (43-20) at 10 a.m., followed by Texas-San Antonio (seeded seventh 37-15) against second seed Illinois (41-19-1) at 12:30 p.m. The third first-round matchup sends fourth seed Seton Hall (44-17) against fifth seed Houston (38-22) at 3 p.m. After the LSU-TAMCC game, there will be an elimination game involving the losers of the first two games of the day.
“We think it is a very good field,” LSU Coach Yvette Girouard said while traveling on the LSU bus back from Tuscaloosa after winning the Southeastern Conference championship late Sunday. “It is interesting that we played Texas San Antonio in one of our tournaments at home this year, so we know something about them. We have a good grip on about half of the teams in the field so we are pleased about that. We are happy with the draw. It’s a good day for LSU. We win the SEC Tournament, get a No. 3 national seed and feel we got a pretty favorable draw. Now we have got to go out starting Thursday and produce.”
LSU split with Illinois back in the season opening Tiger Classic, winning 7-3 on Feb. 6 and lost 7-2 on Feb. 8. In the Purple and Gold Challenge, LSU defeated Texas San Antonio by a score of 10-0 on Feb. 20.
The eight-team regional formats are straight double-elimination with no separate brackets leading to a single championship game. The tournaments run Thursday through Sunday at each of the eight sites and the winners advance to the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City, Okla., beginning on May 27-31.
The Tigers were one of a league record eight schools that advanced to the NCAA Regional round as all eight teams that advanced to the SEC Tournament were given bids, one more than the Pac 10. Two other Louisiana schools, Louisiana Lafayette and Centenary, also earned bids. Both schools are in the regional with the tournament’s No. 1 national seed, Arizona. The Ladies, winners of the Mid Continent Tournament will play Arizona in the first round, while Louisiana Lafayette, the fifth seed in Arizona, will face fourth-seeded South Carolina of the SEC.