051119 Big Sky Softball Championship Weber State 04

Weber State softball players huddle before playing Northern Colorado in the Big Sky Tournament championship game Saturday, May 11, 2019, in Sacramento, Calif.

Weber State's softball team hasn't played a home game since April 20, after which it has traveled for games in Salt Lake City; Portland, Oregon, and Sacramento, California.

Add Los Angeles to the list.

The Wildcats enter the NCAA Tournament by traveling to a regional hosted by No. 2 overall seed UCLA with play beginning Friday, May 17. The 64-team tournament field and 16 host sites were revealed Sunday night during a selection show special.

Missouri (32-23) and Cal State Fullerton (38-16) join WSU in Los Angeles to make up the regional pod. WSU (26-19) will play host UCLA (46-5) at 9 p.m. MDT Friday on ESPNU.

Each four-team pod is played to double-elimination until one team stands, with the 16 winners advancing to the Super Regionals.

It's the third time in program history — all in the last five seasons — Weber State will play in the NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats earned the Big Sky Conference's automatic bid by an undefeated run through the conference tournament, ending Saturday with an 8-0 blanking of Northern Colorado.

WSU is 0-4 all-time in tournament games. Their inaugural run came in 2015, which brought an 11-0 loss to host Louisana Lafayette and a 2-0 loss to Mississippi State. In 2016, the Wildcats traveled to Seattle and lost 14-6 to host Washington and 5-2 to North Dakota State.

Travel to the conference tournament, the thrill of winning it and the nerves and excitement of learning where you'll travel next can be a whirlwind. Head coach Mary Kay Amicone hopes those with previous experience can help set the team up for success.

"It’s fun to consider the history of the program and those who went before us and how they’ve been in this situation, and we so appreciate the past teams passing the baton to us to learn from. And that’s what we’re going to do," Amicone said Saturday. "(Tatiana Su’esu’e and Blacker) have been in this situation with former players as freshman. They had a real urgency to be here as seniors and their desire to bring other people with them was just intense. Because of that, they were selfless in their roles and had to make adjustments.

"And we can learn from the experience by sharing with the others what it is like to do the selection show, the travel, things like that."


BYU (29-24), which won the regular season in the West Coast Conference, a league that does not have a conference tournament, will play in the Oklahoma State regional against host and No. 13 seed Oklahoma State at 6:30 p.m. Thursday on ESPN3. Tulsa and Arkansas round out the regional.

Contact Brett Hein at bhein@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter @bhein3/@WeberHQ and at facebook.com/WeberStateSports.

Brett Hein is the sports editor and covers Weber State sports for the Standard-Examiner.

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