NCAA Sets Up Highway 30 Softball Throwdown

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INDIANAPOLIS- The Texas A&M softball team earned the No. 4 national seed and will host an NCAA Regional this weekend at the Aggie Softball Complex, the selection committee announced Sunday.

The Aggies (40-10) will face Sam Houston State in the first-round Friday, while Houston and Louisiana-Lafayette will be the other two teams making the trip to College Station.

“I’m really excited that we are getting the opportunity to host,” A&M head coach Jo Evans said. “I think our seed reflects the kind of schedule we played this year and that we’ve beaten a lot of very good teams. I am proud of our kids for a season-long of really focused, competitive softball.”

The College Station Regional kicks off on Friday with the University of Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns facing the Houston Cougars at 1 p.m. The Aggies will take on the Bearkats of Sam Houston at 4 p.m.

“It is a really great opportunity for us to get to play in front of our home crowd,” Evans said. “I hope we get a lot of support from the Aggies, especially the 12th Man. I hope to see a lot of students at the softball complex."

The Aggies (40-10) are making their 17th appearance in the NCAA Tournament and sixth straight under head coach Jo Evans. A&M earns an at-large bid to the tournament after finishing fourth in the Big 12 this year and remaining in the Top-10 in both national polls for the entirety of the regular season.

Sam Houston (37-24) earned its first NCAA Tournament playoff appearance after winning the Southland Conference Tournament on Saturday with a win over No. 1 seed Texas Arlington in the semifinals and then knocked off No. 3-seed Texas State in the championship game.

Houston (42-16) also earns an automatic bid with their 1-0 victory of East Carolina in Saturday’s championship game of the Conference USA Tournament, earning the Cougars first C-USA crown.

ULL’s Ragin’ Cajuns (46-16) enter the tournament as an at-large bid after finishing second in the Sun Belt Conference. ULL is currently ranked 23rd in the NFCA Top-25 Poll and has been ranked all season.

"It’s a very good field," Evans ended. "We’ve already played Sam Houston and Houston this season and we’ve played ULL in the past. They are all very good teams. We definitely have to keep our focus and go out there and play hard.”

This marks the seventh time that College Station has played host to a regional and first since 2005.

The Big 12 placed six teams in the tournament. Baylor, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas and Texas A&M all received bids with Baylor, Oklahoma and A&M receiving top-8 rankings.

Tickets can be purchased through the Texas A&M Athletic Ticket Office at 1-888-99-AGGIE. All tournament tickets will be sold until the competition begins.

Single Session Tickets*

$10 Reserved

$7 General Admission

$5 Student/youth

$0 Children 1 and under free

All-Tournament Tickets

$25 Reserved

$20 General Admission

$15 Student/youth

The Bearkats will play Texas A&M in the first round at 4 p.m. The SHSU-Aggie matchup will be preceded by a contest between Louisiana-Lafayette and the University of Houston at 1 p.m.

The Bearkats moved up to the NCAA Division I level in softball in 1987. Twice they have participated in the NCAA Division I National Invitational Tournament, winning the NIT title in 1993.

Sam Houston State won the NAIA World Series title in 1981 and was NCAA Division II national champion i 1982.

The Bearkats advanced to the NCAA Division II World Series three times, finishing as runner-up in 1983 and sixth in 1984. Sam Houston participated in five NCAA Division II regional tournaments.

The Bearkats posted their first 30-victory season since the Southland Conference and NIT championship year of 1993 this season. Sam Houston State posted a 37-24 season mark with a young squad consisting of two seniors, three juniors, five sophomores, and nine freshmen.

The Bearkats earned their NCAA Division I playoff berth by winning the 2007 Southland Conference post-season tournament at SHSU’s Bearkat Softball Complex in Huntsville.

Sam Houston defeated #1 seed Texas-Arlington 1-0 in eight innings in the semifinals, then knocked off #3 seed Texas St-San Marcos in the championship game.

Sophomore pitcher Brandi Crnkovic was tournament Most Valuable Player after throwing 23 scoreless innings for three victories and a save. Crnkovic gave up 11 hits in 23 innings, striking out 25 batters.

Two other Bearkats, outfielder/second base Lauren Burns and shortstop Tanya Hooser, also were named to the All-Tournament team.

The Southland tournament victory was full of suspense for the Bearkats.

Lauren Burns hit a solo walk-off home run in the bottom of the eighth inning in the 1-0 victory over regular season UTA. The homer was the only hit for SHSU in the contest. Sam Houston only had one other baserunner in the contest.

Senior center fielder Stephanie Mosley made a game saving play in the fourth inning of the final 1-0 victory over Texas State-San Marcos. The Bobcats’ Leah Boatright launched a deep fly ball to left-center that looked like it was going out, but Mosley leaped up and robbed the first baseman of a game-tying homer.

Sophomore catcher Casie Everitt and junior designated player Mandy Collier are first team selections for Sam Houston State on the 2007 All-Southland Conference softball team.

Six other Bearkats have been named to the honor squad after teaming to lead Sam Houston State to a 37-24 season record and a Southland runner-up finish with a 20-10 league mark. The 37 victories are the most in one season for SHSU since the 1993 Southland championship season.

Second team All-SLC selections for the Kats are junior shortstop Tanya Hooser, senior outfielder Stephanie Mosley, freshman outfielder Lauren Burns, sophomore pitcher Brandi Crnkovic, and freshman pitcher Morgan Mikulin.

Burns also was a third team selection at second base. Bearkat third baseman Sarah Parich has been named honorable mention All-Southland.

Two of the Bearkats’ eight All-Southland players are repeat selections. Both Hooser and Mosley have been named to the All-SLC squad for the third year in a row.

Mosley (.326), Collier (.323), Everitt (.316), Burns (.313), Parich (.288), and Hooser (.256) combined to power Sam Houston State to a .283 team batting average this season.

Crnkovic (19-11, 1.83 ERA) and Mikulin (17-12, 2.32) have handled pitching duties for the Bearkats.

DATES/SITES/PAIRINGS:
* Indicates host institution

Tucson Regional - May 18-20 at Tucson, Arizona
*No. 1 seed Arizona (39-12-1) vs. N.C. A&T/ Howard
Pacific (34-22) vs. Mississippi St. (34-25)

Columbus Regional - May 18-20 at Columbus, Ohio
*Ohio St. (38-16) vs. Canisius (27-19)
Cal St. Fullerton (34-20) vs. No. 16 seed Virginia Tech (47-14)

Ann Arbor Regional - May 18-20 at Ann Arbor, Michigan
*No. 9 seed Michigan (43-11) vs. Eastern Mich. (27-20)
Louisville (36-23) vs. Oregon St. (39-21)

Hempstead Regional - May 18-20 at Hempstead, New York
*Hofstra (40-13) vs. Harvard (31-13)
Albany (N.Y.) (33-15) vs. No. 8 seed Baylor (45-13)

Knoxville Regional - May 18-20 at Knoxville, Tennessee
No. 5 seed Tennessee (54-5) vs. Furman (21-34-1)
Winthrop (48-16) vs. North Carolina (45-19)

Los Angeles Regional - May 18-20 at Los Angeles, California
Hawaii (46-11) vs. UC Santa Barb. (30-21)
Loyola Marymount (45-16) vs. *No. 12 seed UCLA (36-16)

Gainesville Regional - May 18-20 at Gainesville, Florida
*No. 13 seed Florida (46-20) vs. Stetson (44-20)
Texas (33-18) vs. Georgia Tech (53-13)

College Station Regional - May 18-20 at College Station ,Texas
Houston (42-16) vs. La.- Lafayette (46-16)
Sam Houston St. (37-24) vs. *No. 4 seed Texas A&M (40-10)

Amherst Regional - May 18-20 at Amherst, Massachusetts
No. 3 seed Oklahoma (52-6) vs. Colgate (25-22)
Long Island (33-20) vs. *Massachusetts (37-12-1)

Carbondale Regional - May 18-20 at Carbondale, Illinois
Missouri (38-22) vs. *Southern Ill. (40-14)
Mississippi Valley (29-26) vs. No. 14 seed DePaul (41-11)

Tuscaloosa Regional - May 18-20 at Tuscaloosa, Alabama
*No. 11 seed Alabama (51-7) vs. Tennessee Tech (48-17)
California (33-30) vs. Florida St. (44-23)

Lincoln Regional - May 18-20 at Lincoln, Nebraska
*Nebraska (37-18) vs. Georgia (43-26)
Creighton (39-12-1) vs. No. 6 seed Washington (35-16)

Provo Regional - May 17-19 at Provo, Utah
No. 7 seed Arizona St. (49-15) vs. Southern Utah (29-29)
*Brigham Young (41-18) vs. Cal Poly (39-15)

Palo Alto Regional - May 17-19 at Palo Alto, California
*Stanford (33-19-1) vs. Fresno State (46-16)
Cal St. Northridge (23-21) vs. No. 10 seed LSU (52-10)

Columbia Regional - May 18-20 at Columbia, South Carolina
No. 15 seed North Carolina St. (41-19) vs. *South Carolina (34-23)
Penn St. (26-23) vs. Oregon (42-17)

Evanston Regional - May 18-20 at Evanston, Illinois
Illinois St. (42-15-1) vs. Notre Dame (31-22)
Wright St. (25-33) vs. *No. 2 seed Northwestern (45-11)

~aTm~