Conference USA Softball Championship bracket released, WKU earns no. 4 seed

Credit%3A+Conference+USA

Credit: Conference USA

Jake Moore, Sports Editor

The tournament bracket for the 2021 Conference USA Softball Championship was released on Sunday. WKU earned the no. 4 seed and will play its first game of the tournament at 5 p.m. CT on Wednesday, May 12 against the winner of Middle Tennessee (26-21), (11-8, C-USA) versus UTSA (14-30), (8-12, C-USA) at 12 p.m. earlier in the day.

The Hilltoppers find themselves on the same side of the bracket as the no.1 seed North Texas Mean Green (37-10), (18-2, C-USA), a team that won 18 games in a row to finish conference play. North Texas senior pitcher Hope Trautwein threw a perfect game with all 21 recorded outs coming from strikeouts on April 11 against Arkansas-Pine Bluff, a feat that had previously never been accomplished in NCAA history.

Other familiar faces in the tournament besides MTSU include Charlotte (30-17), (14-6, C-USA) and UAB (29-18), (15-5, C-USA). In 2021 the Hilltoppers went 1-3 against the Blue Raiders, 2-2 against the 49ers and swept the Blazers 3-0 in a series that did not count towards conference play records. 

“Of the opponents we have faced, at least we know who we’re playing, who pitches, what type of hitters we’ll face,” head coach Amy Tudor said after her team’s weekend sweep of FAU. “Everything’s different at tournament time, gotta have a different mindset, a different approach to things.”

C-USA East Division rival Marshall (19-12), (8-8, C-USA) also qualified for the tournament, but the Hilltoppers’ regular-season series against the Thundering Herd was cancelled due to a positive COVID-19 test in WKU’s tier-1 testing group.

WKU is the first team since 2014 to both host and compete in the tournament. The Hilltoppers finished their regular season by winning nine of their last 10 games and the team enters tournament week riding a wave of momentum.

“I love being able to play at home, home games are always so great,” redshirt senior Paige Carter said about the team’s home-field advantage for the tournament. “Being able to have the [parking] structure, the crowd at home is a great atmosphere to play in. I think it’ll be a really good conference tournament.”

Full parking and ticket information can be found here. Fans will have to purchase a $10 ticket for each game they attend as no full-tournament tickets will be offered.

Sports Editor Jake Moore can be reached at charles.mo[email protected] Follow him on Twitter @Charles_JMoore.