COLUMBIA, Mo. — The Missouri softball team not only will host an NCAA regional this week but the Tigers earned a national seed in the 64-team bracket, checking in at No. 8 overall. That means Mizzou (38-15) also will host the super regional round should it advance past this week’s double-elimination regional.
Also in Mizzou’s regional: Iowa State, Northern Iowa and Illinois-Chicago. The Tigers will open regional play at 3:30 p.m. Friday against UIC (29-21). That game follows Iowa State (32-21) vs. Northern Iowa (31-18) in the first matchup, at 2 p.m.
Tigers coach Larissa Anderson was hopeful Mizzou could earn a top-eight seed but figured the Tigers would be around No. 10 to 12 in the bracket.
“I am so excited for our program and for this athletic department,” the third-year coach said Sunday night. “When you establish these goals in the beginning of the year and everything works out the way you’ve designed it to be I’m just so thrilled and glad that we were honored with this.”
MU is increasing capacity at Mizzou Stadium to 50% for the regional games. The stadium typically seats 2,500 at capacity.
Missouri is hosting a regional for the first time since 2016. That means this marks the first time an NCAA regional will be played at Mizzou Stadium, which opened in 2017. The Tigers were regular hosts under former coach Ehren Earleywine, doing so for the first round of the tournament every year from 2009-16. The Tigers also hosted the super regional round every year from 2010-13.
Should the Tigers win their regional, they could host Southeastern Conference foe Tennessee in the super regional round. The Volunteers are the No. 9 overall seed (41-13). Mizzou ended the regular season winning two of three from the Vols in Knoxville, Tennessee.
The Tigers finished fourth in the Southeastern Conference and reached the SEC tournament semifinals, falling to No. 1 seed Florida in a walk-off 7-6 defeat on Friday.
The top eight national seeds in order are Oklahoma, UCLA, Alabama, Florida, Oklahoma State, Arkansas, Louisiana State and Mizzou. The Nos. 9-16 seeds are Tennessee, Florida State, Arizona, Texas, Duke, Kentucky, Arizona State and Washington. Duke is unable to host a regional, so Georgia will serve host the regional in Athens, Georgia as the No. 2 seed.