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SACRAMENTO, Calif. — For the first time since the 2008 season, the Sacramento State softball team will compete at the NCAA Tournament, it was announced tonight by the NCAA softball selection committee. The Hornets, who received the Big Sky Conference's automatic berth to the NCAA's after winning both the league's regular season and tournament championships, are one of 64 teams that will compete for the NCAA championship.
Sacramento State (31-18) will face No. 3 overall seed and host UCLA (50-4) in the first round of the double-elimination Los Angeles Regional on Friday night at 8 p.m. at Easton Stadium. The game will be nationally televised on ESPN2. The other matchup on Friday will feature Cal State Fullerton (33-23) taking on Texas State (42-14) on Friday at 5:30 p.m. The winners of those two games will face each other on Saturday at 2 p.m., while the losing teams will square off on Saturday at 4:30 p.m.
The Hornets will be making their fourth NCAA Tournament appearance during the Div. I era (1990-pres.) as the 1993, 1995 and 2008 squads also appeared at the postseason event. Sacramento State won its first-ever Big Sky regular season and tournament championships this year, and will make its first trip to the NCAA's since winning the Pacific Coast Softball Conference in 2008.
Sacramento State is 5-21 all-time against 11-time national champion UCLA, including a victory over the Bruins when they were ranked No. 1 in the nation in 2000. Current Sacramento State head coach Lori Perez was the starting third baseman on the Hornet squad that beat the top-ranked Bruins that day on Feb. 17, 2000. The two teams have played twice since then, UCLA victories in 2006 and 2011. The teams' last meeting was a 5-3 Bruin victory on March 11, 2011, in Long Beach.
The Hornets are 8-15 all-time against Cal State Fullerton, and have not played the Titans since the 2007 season. Sacramento State has played Texas State four times, with both teams owning two wins in the series. The last matchup was a 1-0 Texas State win at the Capital Classic at Shea Stadium on March 15, 2013.
Sacramento State is currently 13 games above the .500 mark for the first time since the 2008 team was 32-19, and will head into the NCAA Tournament as winners of four straight, and nine of the last 12 games. Sacramento State was able to win the conference's regular season title on the final day of the regular season with a road win at Montana, and went 2-0 at the conference tournament to claim the Big Sky postseason championship.
The Hornets sit above the .500 mark at home (15-7), on the road (8-7) and at neutral sites (8-4). Sacramento State was crowned Big Sky regular season champs after going 14-7 in league play.
LOS ANGELES REGIONAL SCHEDULE
Friday, May 18
Game 1 - Cal State Fullerton vs. Texas State – 5:30 p.m. – ESPN3
Game 2 - Sacramento State vs. UCLA – 8 p.m. – ESPN2
Saturday, May 19
Game 3 – Game 1 Winner vs. Game 2 Winner – 2 p.m. – ESPN Family of Networks
Game 4 – Game 1 Loser vs. Game 2 Loser – 4:30 p.m. – ESPN Family of Networks
Game 5 – Game 3 Loser vs. Game 4 Winner – 7 p.m. – ESPN Family of Networks
Sunday, May 20
Game 6 – Game 3 Winner vs. Game 5 Winner – 4 p.m. – ESPN Family of Networks
Game 7 – Game 6 Winner vs. Game 6 Loser (if necessary) – 6:30 p.m. – ESPN Family of Networks