Mizzou Softball is dancing once again ... and despite the 29-26 record, the Tigers weren’t even close to the bubble — they got a No. 2 seed in the Oregon regional.
Mizzou Softball (29-26) was named to its 11th consecutive NCAA Regional, announced Sunday (May 14) evening by the NCAA Division I Softball Selection Committee. Beginning with head coach Ehren Earleywine's first campaign in Mid-Missouri (2007), the Tigers have made NCAA postseason play in each season.
Sunday's selection show placed Mizzou in the Oregon Regional as the No. 2 seed. Joining the Tigers in Eugene, Ore., will be host and No. 1 seed Oregon, No. 3 seed Wisconsin and No. 4 seed Illinois-Chicago.
Mizzou will meet Wisconsin in its opening matchup Friday night at Jane Sanders Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 8 p.m. CT and the game will broadcast live on ESPN. It will mark the Tigers and Badgers' fourth-ever meeting. Mizzou holds a 2-1 advantage in the all-time series.
Missouri made the bracket based on a strong RPI rating (No. 32) despite the mediocre overall record, thanks to its conference strength of schedule. All 13 teams in the Southeastern Conference were selected for the tournament, making up 20.3 percent of the entire field.
Mizzou got a 2-seed because the committee evidently put massive value on top-10 wins.
MU's top-10 wins were heavily emphasized by the selection committee and were central to the Tigers' inclusion in the postseason. Minnesota, the second-ranked team in the country and with the nation's best record at 51-3, was not given a national seed because of their winless record against top-10 teams. The Golden Gophers will instead travel to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, as the second seed in Alabama's regional bracket, a huge surprise.
To reach the second weekend of the NCAAs, Missouri will have to find the form that eluded the Tigers throughout the second half of the season. MU has lost eight of its past 10 games, including a 6-5 defeat to LSU during the first round of the SEC Tournament on Wednesday.
Cheyenne Baxter carries a 16-9 record and 2.30 ERA into the postseason. Baxter was the winning pitcher in each of Missouri’s seven SEC wins. During last season’s Columbia Regional, when the Tigers went 3-0, Paige Lowary was in the circle for all 16 innings.
You can find the entire bracket here. It’s hard not to wish the Tigers would have landed a few regions down:
If the NCAA had a sense of humor, they would have sent #Mizzou to Baylor.— Austin Kim (@AustinKKim) May 15, 2017
LOL at Mack Rhoades' face if he had to see Ehren Earleywine...
That would have been tremendous. (If you need more background info on on Earleywine and Rhoades, start here.)
Speaking of ‘tremendous’ ... we’ve got a post you’ll like lined up for later today ... but anyway...
Congrats, graduates. Hope you had a great weekend.
- In light of last week’s Mizzou Gymnastics exposé, The Trib’s Joe Walljasper says Mizzou should take a bold stand against the ridiculous practice of transfer restrictions. I agree.
- Oh hey, Karissa Schweizer won a big race. This is my surprised face. She was one of four SEC champions for Mizzou at this weekend’s meet, the Tigers’ most individual conference titles since 2003. Freshman Ja’Mari Ward won the long jump.
- Mizzou Baseball rallied to take its final home series of the year against South Carolina. After losing TJ Sikkema’s first career start on Friday night, 4-3, the Tigers won 5-3 on Saturday behind another Tanner Houck gem, then scored three in the eighth to win 5-3 again on Sunday. Three tight games!
- Just under a decade ago, Mizzou improved by 15 wins in one season on the basketball court. Might the Tigers undergo similar improvement this winter?
- Mizzou is currently +50000 to win the football national title this fall. Place your bets now!
Current national title odds courtesy of Bovada pic.twitter.com/HJDsolbGjx— Barrett Sallee (@BarrettSallee) May 13, 2017