LSU’s road back to Oklahoma City is set.
For the fourth straight year postseason softball will return to Tiger Park as the No. 11 Tigers host a NCAA regional tournament in the hopes of making a run to a program-record fourth Women’s College World Series in as many years.
LSU hosts Louisiana-Lafayette, Houston and Fordham in the regional, starting with Fordham at 5:30 p.m. Friday.
“It’s awesome that we were even considered one of the best still standing,” senior Emily Griggs said. “We’re humbled, and we’re excited right now.”
Since LSU (41-14) was not one of the eight national seeds, the winner of the Baton Rouge regional will likely travel to play the winner of the Tallahassee, Florida, regional hosted by No. 6 Florida State.
But that hasn’t held the Tigers back before.
The past three years have been the most successful in program history in terms of the postseason and only one of them was as a national seed.
In 2017 LSU was forced to travel to Florida State as the No. 13 seed and previously to James Madison as the No. 10 seed the year before. They won both series in three games.
LSU was considered on the bubble for a potential national seed going into the Southeastern Conference tournament as the No. 9 team in the nation, according to RPI rankings.
The Tigers won the tournament opener against Ole Miss. But their luck ran out against Tennessee in a 1-0 loss that likely knocked them out of the running for the top eight spots.
“I think it’s fair,” coach Beth Torina said of the seedings. “This team did a good job. They won a lot of games they were supposed to win. They won some big games. I think it’s fair, and we have a great opportunity in front of us.”
LSU will be well prepared for the road ahead after battling through one of the toughest SEC fields in the conference’s two decades of existence.
The SEC put all 13 of its programs into a regional, matching the record set last season. Nine of those 13 teams host a regional, besting last year’s mark by one.
Regular season and tournament champion Florida was the highest seed out of the league at No. 2.
LSU also played top overall seed Oregon and No. 3 seed UCLA earlier this season. Both were losses.
But before the Tigers worry about future opponents, they have to survive their regional.
Fordham won the Atlantic 10 title for the sixth consecutive season. LSU is 2-0 alltime against the Rams but has not played them under Torina.
The Cajuns, who were No. 21 in the final coaches poll this year, return to Tiger Park this weekend after the in-state rivals battled it out in the 2017 Baton Rouge regional.
The Cajuns beat LSU in the second game of the tournament, forcing the Tigers to sweep through the rest of the weekend, including two games against the Cajuns, to reach the super regionals.
“That is a benefit of being in the SEC and being on this team the last four years. Nerves aren’t really a factor,” senior pitcher Carley Hoover said. “We’ve been on every stage. We’ve been on the bigest stage. We lost, but we’ve been there.”