Wildcats start NCAA softball tournament in College Station, Texas

2013-05-12T19:09:00Z 2013-05-12T19:28:27Z Wildcats start NCAA softball tournament in College Station, TexasPatrick Finley Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
May 12, 2013 7:09 pm  • 

The Arizona Wildcats’ 27th-straight NCAA tournament appearance could end the same way as their past two — if they get that far.

The UA (32-24) learned tonight it will travel to College Station, Texas, for a four-team regional hosted by the tournament’s No. 16 seed, Texas A&M. The UA will play Baylor (39-15) Friday at 12:30 p.m. on ESPN2. The Aggies (39-15) host Penn (30-18) at 3 p.m. The winner of the double-elimination round will be crowned Sunday.

The first-round seed bodes well for the Wildcats, who despite an RPI of 29 entering this past week’s games were placed as though they were America’s No. 17 team.

The catch is a major one: win in College Station, and the Wildcats likely would have to win at No. 1 Oklahoma to reach the Women’s College World Series.

The Sooners eliminated the UA in super regional play in each of the past two seasons — in 2011 at Hillenbrand Stadium and last year in Norman, Okla. The winner of their regional plays the winner of the College Station one.

The Wildcats won four of their last six games — twice at home against No. 5 Arizona State, and, this past week, twice at No. 13 Stanford — to erase any doubt about their NCAA tournament inclusion.

The tournament's 16 double-elimination regionals narrow the tournament into eight best-of-three super regional series, with those eight winners advancing to the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City.

Seven SEC schools lead the list of the top 16 seeds.

Oklahoma was seeded No. 1, followed by Florida, Oregon, Texas, Arizona State, Missouri, Tennessee, Michigan, LSU, Alabama, Washington, Kentucky, South Alabama, Nebraska, Louisville and Texas A&M.

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