Pac-12 nets six bids to 2021 NCAA Division I Softball Tournament
SAN FRANCISCO — Led by 2021 Conference champion UCLA, the Pac-12 saw six of its softball programs punch tickets to this year’s NCAA Division I Softball Tournament, as announced by the NCAA Division I Softball Committee on Sunday evening.
Regionals for the Championship will be held May 21-23 on 16 campus sites, where a four-team, double-elimination tournament will be conducted and 16 teams will advance to the Super Regionals to be held May 27-30. Eight Super Regional winners will advance to the Women's College World Series to take place June 3-9 in Oklahoma City, Okla. 32 teams received automatic qualification to the tournament, while 32 programs were selected as at-large bids by the Division I Softball Committee.
That's SIX Pac-12 teams that are IN! 🥎
— Pac-12 Conference (@pac12) May 17, 2021
The Bruins (41-4), one of the 32 automatic bids and winners in 15 of their past 16 games, enter the dance as the No. 2 overall seed, one of 16 national seeds in the field of 64 teams. The defending national champions will face Big West champion Long Beach State (30-9) in the Los Angeles Regional matchup, a quartet that also features Minnesota (29-11) and Fresno State (36-10). UCLA’s 36 total NCAA Tournament selections are the most by any program in the nation.
ARIZONA earned the No. 11 overall seed after going 36-13 in the regular season. The Wildcats' selection marks their 34th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance, the longest streak in tournament history. ARIZONA will host UMBC (25-11) on Friday, May 21 in the Tucson Regional, along with Villanova (36-13) and Ole Miss (34-20).
The No. 15 overall seed is ARIZONA STATE (32-14), which will host Southern Illinois (37-14), BYU (36-15) and Virginia Tech (33-13) in the Tempe Regional (May 20-22). The Sun Devils will open play on Thursday, May 20 against the Salukis, the Missouri Valley Conference champions.
WASHINGTON (41-11), led by Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year Gabbie Plain and Defensive Player of the Year Sis Bates, will be the No. 16 seed in the Seattle Regional. The Huskies’ regional features in-state opponent Seattle (29-19), along with Big Sky Conference champion Portland State (15-24) and Big-Ten at-large Michigan (36-6).
OREGON (37-15) and STANFORD (31-20) received their bids to the tournament as at-large selections in the Austin and Fayetteville Regionals, respectively. The Ducks will square off against Texas State (38-12) in their opening matchup, while the Cardinal are slated to take on Summit League champion South Dakota State (42-6).
Historically, Pac-12 softball has dominated the NCAA postseason, winning 24 of a possible 38 NCAA Softball championships. The Conference of Champions will seek to build on that total and secure a back-to-back champion after UCLA won it all in 2019.