UL Softball Gets Rewarded For Quality Schedule With National Seed – VIDEO
Louisiana's Ragin' Cajun softball team got rewarded for playing, and succeeding, against a tough 2014, non-conference schedule, with the #6-overall national seed in this year's NCAA Softball Championships.
Louisiana, who will be hosting the Lafayette, La. Regional this weekend at Lamson Park, against the Texas Longhorns, Mississippi St. Bulldogs, and Texas Southern Tigers, is a national seed for the first time in program history, meaning they will get to host an NCAA Super Regional for the first time ever, provided they win the regional this weekend.
Tickets for the Regional games can be purchased at the Cajundome Box Office. Softball season ticket holders and RCAF Annual Fund members get priority until Wednesday, then remaining seats will become available. Fans can join RCAF Annual Fund today to qualify for priority seating.
The Cajuns had a great year, going 44-8-1, and winning both the regular season and postseason Sun Belt Conference championships, but it was their success outside of the conference which likely landed them in the top eight. Louisiana captured 12 wins over teams in regionals, including the likes of Oklahoma, Baylor, Michigan, and South Alabama, while all eight of their losses this year have come against teams which will still be playing this weekend.
That schedule was likely a key factor in Louisiana's strong RPI, and their selection as a national seed.
The RPI has changed over the last few years, and UL head coach Michael Lotief says his program has been instrumental in that:
Texas will face Mississippi St. on Friday afternoon at 3 pm, before Louisiana meets Texas Southern at 6 o'clock.
One of the key players for Louisiana, if they're going to win the regional, is senior second baseman Natalie Fernandez, a first-team all-conference selection.
Fernandez, who a .437, with a .538 on-base percentage, while leading the team in runs scored with 62, is one of only two seniors on the squad. She says she took it upon herself to become a team leader this season, but that the role hasn't been that difficult:
Louisiana will be making their 24th appearance in an NCAA Regional in the least 25 years, and have appeared in two-consecutive Super Regionals, including three in the last four years, and four in the last six.
View the complete NCAA softball bracket.