The selection committee for the National Invitational Softball Championships has announced the 17-team field for the 2018 NISC.
This marks the second year of the tournament, which features eight teams that have won 30 games or more during the 2018 season and six teams that finished second or better during the regular season in their respective conferences.
First-round regional action begins Wednesday, May 16 – regional hosts are Northern Colorado, UNLV, Eastern Kentucky and Central Arkansas.
Each double-elimination regional concludes play on either Friday, May 18 or Saturday, May 19.
The Championship round, also double-elimination, is slated to begin Wednesday, May 23 at a host site to be determined.
Central Arkansas received an at-large bid after a 28-25 overall season.
The Bears were eliminated in the first round of Southland Conference Tournament competition after a 9-1 loss.
Here’s the list of qualifiers for the NISC:
Austin Peay (Ohio Valley) – At Large
Central Arkansas (Southland) – At Large
Colorado State (Mountain West) – At Large
Eastern Kentucky (Ohio Valley) – Automatic Qualifier
Loyola Marymount (West Coast Conference) – Automatic Qualifier
Nevada (Mountain West) – At Large
Northern Colorado (Big Sky) – At Large
Stephen F. Austin (Southland) – Automatic Qualifier
South Dakota State (Summit League) – Automatic Qualifier
Texas Tech (Big 12) – Automatic Qualifier
Toledo (Mid-America) – Automatic Qualifier
Towson (Colonial Athletic) – Automatic Qualifier
UC Riverside (Big West) – Automatic Qualifier
UNLV (Mountain West) – At Large
UT Arlington (Sun Belt) – Automatic Qualifier
Utah Valley (WAC) – Automatic Qualifier
Weber State (Big Sky) – Automatic Qualifier
Each of the 12 automatic qualifiers are the teams who finished the best regular-season record in their respective conference and are not playing in the NCAA Tournament. The five at large selections were selected off their body of work. Teams are selected to regions based on travel considerations first and then seeded by NCAA RPI (as of May 13)
“We’re thrilled to be offering this event for a second consecutive year,” said Tournament Director Dave King. “We’ve already seen programs receive a significant boost by playing in the NISC last year. With the depth of talent this year, we’re looking forward to seeing this year’s programs play meaningful postseason games and continue their momentum into next season.”
Here are the matchups for the first round, the Northern Colorado, UNLV and Central Arkansas regions begin play on Wednesday, May 16, while the Eastern Kentucky region will start on Thursday, May 17 (all times Eastern). Home team listed second; based on RPI.
Region 1: Greeley, CO (Northern Colorado Hosts)
South Dakota State (32-16) at Colorado State (26-21), 4 p.m. CT
Northern Colorado (28-26) at Loyola Marymount (28-23-1), 7 p.m. CT
Region 2: Las Vegas, NV (UNLV Hosts)
Utah Valley (21-29) at Weber State (27-24), 2 p.m. CT
Nevada (25-25) at UC Riverside (33-22), 5 p.m. CT
Weber State/Utah Valley at UNLV (31-18), 8 p.m. CT
Region 3: Richmond, KY (Eastern Kentucky Hosts)
Towson (40-17) at Austin Peay (39-17), 2 p.m. CT
Toledo (34-21) at Eastern Kentucky (40-18), 5 p.m. CT
Region 4: Conway, AR (Central Arkansas Hosts)
Stephen F. Austin (31-22) at Texas Tech (29-26), 3 p.m. CT
Central Arkansas (27-25) at UT Arlington (27-26), 6 p.m. CT