Missouri softball to host NCAA Regional

Sunday, May 10, 2009 | 10:39 p.m. CDT; updated 11:58 p.m. CDT, Sunday, May 10, 2009

COLUMBIA — The Missouri softball team will host its four-team NCAA Regional for the first time since 2005 beginning Friday.

Despite not being one of the tournament's top 16 seeds, the Tigers will get to play No. 15-seed DePaul, Bradley and Illinois in the double elimination regional on their home field.

Missouri (45-9) was ranked No. 15 nationally in the most recent USA Today coaches' poll while DePaul was ranked No. 19.

Both teams advanced to the final of its conference tournament this weekend. Missouri defeated Oklahoma 5-0 to win the Big 12 title on Sunday in Oklahoma City. DePaul lost to Notre Dame 1-0 in the Big East final on Saturday.

Missouri, the second seed in the regional, will play third seed Illinois in its opening game on Friday. Times have not been announced.

Illinois was 29-15 during the regular season and 12-7 in the Big Ten, which does not have a conference tournament.

Bradley (25-26) will take on top seed DePaul on Friday as well. The Braves won the Missouri Valley Conference tournament as the No. 6 seed to earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

Missouri split two games with Bradley last season in Columbia. The Braves defeated current Missouri starter Stacy Delaney in game one of a doubleheader.

Missouri has advanced to the College World Series three times, most recently in 1994. Last season, the Tigers won an NCAA Regional for the first time since the tournament was restructured to include three rounds of play.

Should Missouri advance, it will face the winner of No. 2 national seed UCLA's regional. The Tigers faced the Bruins in March in San Diego, losing 2-1 when UCLA scored a run on a wild pitch in the bottom of the seventh inning.

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