SBC Softball Sends Record-Setting Three Programs to NCAA Tournament
NEW ORLEANS – For the first time in Sun Belt Conference softball history, three teams will be playing in the 64-team NCAA Division I Softball Championship as Louisiana-Lafayette, 13th-seeded South Alabama and WKU earned bids, the NCAA announced on Sunday.
No. 13 South Alabama (45-7, 17-3 SBC), the SBC Tournament champions, will host NCAA Regionals in Mobile, Ala. and will take on Florida State, Mississippi State and Mississippi Valley State.
The Jaguars enter the NCAA Tournament on a 16-game winning-streak and have not allowed a run in the last 25.1 innings. USA ranks No. 15 in the NCAA RPI and posted a 5-3 record against the RPI top-25 this season with non-conference wins over No. 5 LSU and No. 21 Florida State.
Two-time SBC Tournament Most Outstanding Player Hannah Campbell (45-7) leads the nation with a 0.87 ERA. The junior has not allowed a run in her last 18.1 innings in the circle including an eight inning no-hitter in a 1-0 win against No. 21 Louisiana-Lafayette.
At the plate, the Jaguars are led by SBC Player of the Year Brittany Fowler, SBC Freshman of the Year Haley Fagan and Kaitlyn Griffith who was both an All-Tournament and First-Team All-Conference selection. Fowler led the league with a .518 batting average in conference play, while Fagan and Griffith hit .433 and .362, respectively.
SBC regular season champions WKU (41-16, 20-3 SBC) is headed to Tuscaloosa, Ala. for Regional matchups against No. 1 Alabama, Jacksonville State and South Carolina Upstate.
The Lady Toppers entered the SBC Tournament on a 13-game winning streak against conference opponents and made it to the championship game as the top seed before falling 2-0 to USA. They swept five SBC series this season and took two out of three from both the Jaguars and Cajuns en route to setting the program’s single-season record for wins in a season.
WKU finished the season ranked No. 28 in the RPI and registered a marquee 1-0 victory over No. 10 Missouri. Head coach Tyra Perry was named Coach of the Year after her squad was picked to finish sixth in the Preseason Poll.
SBC Pitcher of the Year Emily Rousseau (24-6) leads the team in the circle and was one of three Lady Toppers to be selected to the All-Conference First-Team. Rousseau tallied a 14-1 record in league action with a 1.56 ERA and 105 strikeouts in 99.0 innings pitched. She won SBC Pitcher of the Week honors four times this season.
The 21st-ranked Ragin’ Cajuns (43-13, 19-4 SBC) posted their 15th consecutive 40-win season and is headed to Baton Rouge to square off with Northwestern State, Central Connecticut and No. 9 LSU.
Louisiana-Lafayette entered the SBC Tournament on a 22-game winning-streak upon arrival of All-American and All-Conference First-Team honoree Nerissa Myers. The senior missed 18 games this season due to injury and the Cajuns were 9‐9 during that span. Myers led the Cajuns in batting average during the regular season and led the NCAA in runs scored a season ago.
In the circle, All-Conference First-Team and All-Tournament team selection Jordan Wallace (28-7) ranks top-five in the nation in strikeouts with 331. She won SBC Pitcher of the Week four times this season, threw an eight inning no-hitter this season against Florida Atlantic on April 21 and a one-hitter against USA in the SBC Tournament.
The Cajuns present one of the most dangerous lineups in the country with six hitters batting above .300. They average 1.46 home runs per game which ranks eighth in the country. Additionally, five student-athletes were named to the All-Conference First-Team including four hitters.
Louisiana-Lafayette posted 11 wins against the RPI top-50 this season.
The 2013 NCAA Women’s College World Series will be held at the ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City, Okla., May 30 to June 5.