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Softball: UL softball hosting regional as No. 13 seed

Kevin Foote, The Advertiser, May 10, 2015



UL’s Kelsey Vincent rounds third after hitting a home run during NCAA Regional play last May against the Texas Longhorns. The Ragin’ Cajuns drew a No. 13 seed and will be hosting Baylor, Mississippi State and Weber State, beginning Friday at Lamson Park.(Photo: Leslie Westbrook/The Advertiser)


Did he think it was possible that his UL Ragin’ Cajuns softball team could have earned a No. 8 national seed when the NCAA Softball Regional bracket was announced Sunday evening?

“Sure, why not?” said UL coach Michael Lotief, who then said he wouldn’t have been shocked if the Cajuns weren’t even rewarded a host site at all.

“I think it was that bunched up between 8 and 16,” Lotief said. “I think the difference was razor thin.”

So when it was revealed that the Cajuns (39-9) were awarded a No. 13 seed and will be hosting Baylor, Mississippi State and Weber State, Lotief and his team didn’t flinch.

“It’s a new season,” UL junior catcher Lexie Elkins said. “Anybody can beat anybody.”

Mississippi State will first meet Baylor at 5:30 p.m. Friday at Lamson Park, followed by the UL-Weber State matchup at 8 p.m. on ESPN3.

“I‘m not surprised,” Lotief said. “We just have to go out and play good softball. If we play like we did the last time out, it’s not going to matter where we’re seeded.

“We’ve got to work hard this week and get better, or it’s not going to matter if we’re playing Baylor, Mississippi State, Auburn or whoever. If we don’t, we’re going to be talking about what we’re going to be doing this summer.”

This weekend will mark the 11th time the program hosts a regional and it’s the 25th NCAA Regional bid in the last 26 years, which ranks eighth in NCAA history.

UL is one of just nine teams nationally to play in every tournament since 2000.

The Cajuns are 5-0 against Baylor over the past two seasons – winning 3-1 and 12-2 this year and 11-10, 5-2 and 7-4 a year ago. Mississippi State came to Lamson Park for the NCAA Regional two years ago, but didn’t play the Cajuns.

While the No. 13 seed was the first thing UL fans were looking for during Sunday’s announcement, the next biggest bit of information was which team was seeded No. 4 and that was SEC Tournament champion Auburn.

Perhaps even more interesting is that Sun Belt Tournament champion South Alabama is in that Auburn Regional. The winner of the Lafayette Regional will meet the winner of the Auburn Regional in Super Regional play.

“That (rematch with South Alabama in Super Regional play) would be exciting,” Elkins said. “That would be cool.”

True to form, however, Lotief remained focused on the next step in the process. First, preparation in practice this week and then … “Weber State needs to be our concern, not Auburn or anybody else.”

NCAA Lafayette Regional

Friday’s Games

5:30 p.m. – Mississippi State vs. Baylor (ESPN3)

8 p.m. – Weber State vs. Louisiana (ESPN3)

Saturday’s Games

Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2

Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2

Winner Game 4 vs. Loser Game 3

Sunday’s Game

Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 5

(if necessary) Winner Game 6 vs. Loser Game 6