JAGUAR SOFTBALL EARNS FIFTH NCAA REGIONAL BID; HEADS TO GAINESVILLE REGIONAL

INDIANAPOLIS – After advancing to championship game of the Sun Belt Conference tournament, the University of South Alabama softball team received an at-large bid to the 2021 NCAA tournament, marking the fifth regional appearance for the program, on Sunday evening.

South Alabama (30-19) – the third seed – will open up play at the Gainesville Regional hosted by Florida (42-9) – the No. 4 overall national seed – at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium versus Baylor (27-21) who is the second seed at the regional at 3:30 p.m. (CT) on Friday.

Also in the regional is South Florida (29-17) – the fourth seed – who will face the Gators, who will face each other prior to South’s game.

The University of Florida Ticket Office will have all-session passes on sale to the general public beginning Tuesday, May 18 at 7:30 am central time. Fans interested in tickets can visit usajaguars.com/tickets/softball and click on the NCAA Softball Gainesville Regional button to be directed to their website for purchase options.

All session passes range from $15.00-$40.00. Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium will operate at 50% capacity for the NCAA Gainesville Regional with seats sold in pods of two and with masks required for attendance in accordance with UF Health guidelines.

This past week, South Alabama staved off elimination playing four games in a little over a 24-hour period to make the program’s first appearance in the league tournament title game since 2015 and the fifth overall. On its way to the championship game, the Jags picked up elimination wins over second-seeded Texas State and tournament host and third-seeded Troy.

The 30 wins by the Jags are most by the program since the 2017 campaign when the program finished with 35 wins. It is also the ninth time that USA has eclipsed the 30-win plateau.

With the tournament run, South moved it’s RPI into the top 40. Over the course of the season, the Jaguars have been tested facing five ranked opponents in 12 outings. The five wins over ranked opponents are the third most in program history and most since garnering six during 2014.

Of it’s 49 games, 14 games have been versus opponents who currently hold an RPI higher than the Jaguars. In those contest, the Jags picked up six of their wins, including a 1-0 win at Alabama in Tuscaloosa back on March 7 – which was the highest ranked win over an opponent ever. South was also able to capture eight wins over opponents with an RPI inside the top 50.

THEY SAID IT
Head coach Becky Clark

– On returning to the NCAA tournament:
“I’m incredibly proud of our players and coaching staff for all of the work they have put into getting our program back to NCAA postseason. This team wanted to be the team that got the program back into postseason play and they made that their mission. I am excited they are being rewarded for their hard work and purpose because there aren’t many things that compare to the postseason experience.”
– On how the strength of scheduled and league play prepared this team for the postseason:
“I have always believed in playing a tough schedule and this year is no different. I think our current SOS sits at a 26, so we have definitely played competitive teams this year. Our non-conference schedule included tournaments at Georgia and Alabama with several other Power 5 midweek opponents mixed in. The level of play in our conference was extremely competitive this year and every game we played was hard fought. I feel like we have definitely given ourselves a chance for a successful post-season by competing against some of the top teams in the nation all season long.”
– On what the run in the Sun Belt tournament did for this group:
“I think it helped us come full circle as a team. To battle through the loser’s bracket after dropping the second game and make our way back into the championship game was a test for us. We had to do it against the best teams in the tournament and with quick turnaround. We played the one, two, three, and five seed in a little less than a 48-hour period. I think it is safe to say we are battle tested after that. I think we learned a lot about ourselves as a team and feel like that experience will help us not just in this postseason, but moving forward into the next several years.”

Senior Infielder Jordyn Calderon
– On the excitement of getting into the tournament:
“This is an amazing feeling; our team has worked really hard to get to the place we are right now. We feel that we’re the underdog going in, but our goal is to come out on top.”
– On why this team is capable of succeeding at the regional:
“We have a great team, great team chemistry and a lot of talent. I’m excited for the opportunity for our team to show how good we actually are.”

Senior catcher Kamdyn Kvistad
– On being selected:
“There’s no better feeling than earning a bid to the NCAA tournament. My teammates and I are very excited about the opportunity. We’ve been working really hard for this and it’s paying off. We’re excited to go to Gainesville.”
– On the preparation ahead:
“It all starts now. We’ll get ready to practice tomorrow. Everybody’s mindset will adjust to how we need it to be. We’ll be ready to get on the road and face whoever is in front of us. We’ll work hard, be aggressive and do the best that we can.”
– On what has helped this team be prepared for this moment:
“Our team chemistry is awesome. Our communication is good and we work really well with each other. We work hard and fight for each other. At the end of the day, that’s all that really matters. Good teamwork has gotten us to this point and we are going to carry that on throughout the regional.”

For more information about South Alabama athletics, check back with www.usajaguars.com, and follow the Jaguars at www.twitter.com/WeAreSouth_JAGS. Season tickets for all Jaguar athletic events can be purchased by calling (251) 461-1USA (1872).

Join the Bullpen Club, the softball specific support club of the Jaguar Athletic Fund.  Members have access to purchase parking passes and receive Jaguar Softball gear.  All donations to the Bullpen Club go directly to support the South Alabama softball program.  For more information on how you can join visit:  jaguarathleticfund.com/bullpenclub.

—USA—

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