Special to The Flash
STEPHENVILLE (May 8, 2017) – For the fifth time in school history, Tarleton is headed to the national softball playoffs after earning an invitation as the No. 7 seed in the South Central Region Monday morning.
“We’re excited to be given the opportunity to continue our season,” said head coach Mark Cumpian, who becomes the first rookie coach in Tarleton history to qualify for the NCAA regional tournament in a debut season as head coach. “Our girls worked very hard to get here. We have the opportunity and now it’s up to us to go make something of it. Every team we face from here on out is going to be very talented, but we’re pretty good too. It’s time to get after it and compete.”
The regional tournament features the top eight teams from the Lone Star, Heartland, and Rocky Mountain Athletic Conferences, including the tournament champions from all three leagues. The eight teams are split between two host sites for double elimination tournaments with the winning team from each site advancing to a best-of-three Super Regional Series for a trip to the NCAA Division II College World Series.
The TexAnns are headed back to Canyon, where Tarleton squares off with West Texas A&M in the opening round of the Region 2 tournament. The Lady Buffs earned the No. 2 seed. The rest of the Region 2 field includes St. Mary’s and Texas Woman’s.
Meanwhile, the Region 1 field includes Angelo State, Colorado Mesa, Cameron, and Lubbock Christian. Angelo State is the No. 1 seed and hosts the regional in San Angelo. If the Rambelles survive the regional, they will also host the Super Region Series.
Tarleton has a playoff portfolio featuring a 35-20 record, including an 18-12 mark in Lone Star Conference action with series wins over ASU and WTAMU. The TexAnns took two of three against both the Rambelles and Lady Buffs in Stephenville.
Tarleton last appeared in the NCAA softball postseason in 2015, when Cumpian was still an assistant under Julie Mata and the TexAnns reached the Super Regional Series in San Antonio and bowed out to St. Mary’s University.