The LSU softball team was confident that it had played its way into being an NCAA tournament regional host with its run to the Southeastern Conference tournament championship game.
But the Tigers got confirmation and details Sunday night when they learned they are seeded 10th nationally and will play Long Island in the Baton Rouge regional Friday at Tiger Park.
The other two teams in the double-elimination regional are third-seeded McNeese State and second-seeded Arizona State.
Game times will be announced later.
Louisiana-Lafayette is the No. 14 national seed and will host Boston University on Friday.
Texas A&M is the No. 2 seed and Texas is the No. 3 seed in Lafayette.
“You’re always nervous,” LSU coach Beth Torina said shortly after the field was announced. “This is the biggest day of the year. Every year you wait to find out, and it’s the luck of the draw.”
Tigers (45-14) are paired with No. 7 national seed James Madison, meaning if seedings hold, LSU would visit James Madison for a super regional.
If the Tigers were to advance and James Madison were to lose in the regional, LSU would host a super regional for a second consecutive season.
LSU doesn’t know much about Long Island University at Brooklyn, which the Tigers have never played, though Torina said she knows the Blackbirds’ coaches: “They’re nice people.”
But the Tigers know a lot more about McNeese State, which it defeated 5-2 on April 26 at Tiger Park, and Arizona State, which played in the Baton Rouge regional last year.
The Sun Devils beat the Tigers 1-0 to drop them into the losers bracket.
Then after beating Nebraska in an elimination game, LSU beat Arizona State 5-0 and 4-3 to advance to the Women’s College World Series.
McNeese (42-14) claimed an automatic bid by winning the Southland Conference tournament.
Torina and her staff immediately went to work accumulating information on the rest of the regional field in preparation for practice Monday.
“I’m just thankful for the opportunity to host a regional,” said senior catcher Kellsi Kloss, who will be able to play at least two more home games in her career. “It’s kind of cool to see Arizona State again. McNeese always plays well. I don’t know much about LIU Brooklyn, but they’re in the tournament, so they’re a good team.”
The Blackbirds (30-25, 14-2) won the Northeast Conference championship.
As for the rest of the NCAA field, SEC regular-season champion and two-time defending Women’s College World Series champion Florida is the No. 1 national seed. Eight SEC teams were among the 16 national seeds.
Joining LSU, Florida and Auburn among the national seeds were Alabama, Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri and Georgia.
Other SEC teams in the tournament are Texas A&M, Ole Miss and South Carolina.
LSU solidified its role as a regional host for a second consecutive season and third time in four years when it won three games in the SEC tournament before losing to Auburn 7-1 in the championship game Saturday at Nusz Park in Starkville, Mississippi. The Tigers have won 15 of their past 17 games.
This is the 11th consecutive season that LSU has earned a bid to the NCAA tournament.
It advanced to the Women’s College World Sereis last season and finished third behind Florida and Michigan.