SACRAMENTO, Calif. — For the first time in 13 years, and third time since joining the Div. I ranks in 1990, the Sacramento State softball team will compete in the NCAA Div. I Tournament, as announced today by the NCAA selection committee.
The Hornets (32-19) will travel to the Fresno Regional, where the team will play No. 16 seed Fresno State (51-11) in the first round at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, May 16. Joining Fresno State and Sacramento State at the Regional will be Cal (40-24) and San Diego State (43-15), who will face one another in Friday’s other game at 5 p.m.
Game 3 on Saturday will feature the winners of game 1 vs. game 2 at noon. Game 4 will feature the loser of game 1 vs. the loser of game 2 at 2:30 p.m. The final game on Saturday, game 5, will see the loser of game 3 take on the winner of game 4.
The Regional Championship on Sunday at 1 p.m. will be the winner of game 3 vs. the winner of game 5. Since the tournament is double elimination, a game 7 if necessary will be played at approximately 3:30 p.m. with the winner advancing to the Super Regional.
Sacramento State played Fresno State earlier this season, with the Bulldogs winning, 4-2, in Fresno on March 7. The Hornets and Cal have squared off three times this season, with the Bears winning two of the three meetings. Sacramento State and San Diego State have not faced each other this year.
Sacramento State is the only unranked team in the Fresno Regional, as Fresno State is ranked 10th in the USA Today/NFCA top 25 poll while San Diego State is 21st and Cal is 23rd.
A total of 64 teams were announced on Sunday, and four teams will participate at each of the 16 regional sites in a double elimination tournament. A total of 16 teams were seeded and each of the seeded teams were placed at one of the regional sites. The 16 regional winners will then advance to eight super-regional sites where two teams at each site will participate in a best-of-three series (May 23-24). The winners of the Super Regionals will advance to the eight-team College World Series (May 29-June 4).
Sacramento State received an automatic berth into the postseason event after winning its first Pacific Coast Softball Conference (PCSC) championship since joining the league in 2003. The Hornets will be making their first appearance at the NCAA Tournament since 1995, as the team advanced to the postseason in 1993 and 1995. The conference championship was the first for the Hornets during the Div. I era as the team had finished in second place four times previously.
Sacramento State will enter the tournament on an eight-game winning streak as the team has swept four-game series from both Santa Clara and San Diego over the last two weekends. In fact, just three weeks ago, the Hornets were sitting in fourth place in the PCSC standings with a 6-6 conference record. Sacramento State needed to win each of its last eight league games to have a realistic shot of winning the conference championship, and that’s exactly what happened. The eight-game winning streak allowed the Hornets to surpass Loyola Marymount, which finished second in the PCSC with a 13-7 league record.
The Hornets possesses a potent offense that ranks nationally in numerous categories, including 16th in the nation in scoring (5.73 runs per game), 18th in batting average (.315), 36th in slugging percentage (.450), and 39th in both doubles (1.37) and triples (0.22) per game.
The Hornets are the only team from the PCSC to make the NCAA Regionals as the league has never received more than one invitation since gaining an automatic berth in 2005.