NORMAL, Ill. - The Illinois State softball team will be headed to Columbia, Mo., for the NCAA Tournament, as announced on the NCAA Division I Softball Championship Selection Show Sunday evening. The Redbirds (35-21) are making their third-straight appearance to the NCAA Tournament and will open NCAA Regional play against No. 9 overall seed and host Missouri on Friday, May 18 at 6:30pm.
Illinois State earned an automatic bid to this year's NCAA Tournament by defeating Southern Illinois, 13-3, in Saturday's title game of the State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Softball Championship in Carbondale, Ill for its first conference tournament title since 2001. This is the first time in program history that ISU has earned three-consecutive trips to the NCAA Regional, as the Redbirds earned at-large bids in both 2010 and 2011.
This season marks Illinois State's ninth overall appearance in the NCAA Tournament and it will join DePaul, Massachusetts, Missouri in the four-team regional. The Redbirds are 0-1 against their regional opponents this season, as ISU dropped a 6-1 decision to the Blue Demons earlier in the year at Marian Kneer Stadium.
Last season, ISU went 1-2 in at the NCAA Regional in Columbia, Mo., as it earned its first NCAA Tournament win since 2007 with a 3-1 defeat of Indiana and fell twice to the host Tigers.
Thirty conferences were awarded automatic qualification and the remaining 34 slots were filled with at-large selections to complete the bracket. The top 16 teams were seeded nationally and will play at campus sites this weekend.
Team pairings were determined by geographical proximity, with the exception that teams from the same conference were not paired during regional competition, when possible. Complete bracket can be found on the NCAA Division I Softball Championship Home.
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