Tonight, the UCLA Softball team makes its 33rd appearance in the NCAA Tournament. The good news is that the Stanford softball team, which finished 2-22, won’t be able to win this national title because they didn’t qualify for the tournament.
Of course, that doesn’t mean UCLA will win, but, as the number five seed, they have a shot. It won’t be easy, especially considering that Pac-12 rivals Arizona and Oregon are seeded higher than the Bruins, but UCLA won’t have to worry about facing either team unless they make it to Oklahoma City.
First, the Bruins need to advance past the Los Angeles Regional which is this weekend at Easton Stadium. First up are the Lehigh Mountain Hawks who finished 16-2 in the Patriot League and won the conference title.
The other two teams in the LA Regional, who are playing as I write this, are Mountain West Conference champ San Jose State and Big West champion Cal State Fullerton. The winner of that game will play the winner of Lehigh-UCLA tomorrow at 2pm PT in Game 3. And, of course, the two losers will in an elimination game at approximately 4:30pm PT tomorrow. The loser of Game 3 then will play the winner of Game 4 in another elimination game tomorrow evening at 7pm PT.
The Bruins should win the LA Regional. It would be a massive disappointment if they don’t. The biggest threat to UCLA will likely be Cal State Fullerton, whom the Bruins defeated 7-3 on April 18th.
Lehigh has never played UCLA, but is making their 10th NCAA Tournament appearance. Meanwhile, San Jose State hasn’t played UCLA since the teams met in Las Vegas during the 2013 season.