The USC Upstate softball team is heading back to the NCAA Tournament for the fourth straight season as the Spartans learned Sunday evening it has been selected to play in the Auburn Regional, hosted by No. 4 national seed Auburn, as the tournament field was announced on ESPNU.
Upstate (42-13) will be the No. 3 seed in the Auburn Regional and will open play Friday at 4:30 p.m. against No. 2 seed Oregon State (30-18-1) on ESPN3. Auburn (49-9) will take on Jacksonville State (41-15) in the other opening round game of the regional.
The Spartans, members of the athletic department, fans, family and friends met at Buffalo Wild Wings in Spartanburg to celebrate the team’s third A-Sun Tournament title in the last four years and the program’s fourth consecutive berth in the NCAA Tournament, and to watch the selection show.
Upstate is making its fourth consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament, with each of the previous three seasons playing in the Tuscaloosa Regional. The Spartans won the 2013 A-Sun Tournament and the league’s automatic berth in the NCAA Regionals. After cruising to the regular season conference championship in 2014, the Spartans earned an at-large berth to the regionals. Upstate did even better last season. After again cruising to the A-Sun Regular Season Championship with an 18-2 league record, the Spartans won three consecutive games by outscoring its opponents 26-2 to win the A-Sun Tournament.
This season, Upstate concluded the regular season second in the conference standings with an 11-6 record, while going 42-13 overall. The Spartans were the second seed in last week’s A-Sun Softball Championship, and won their second straight tournament title by limiting Jacksonville and Florida Gulf Coast to just two runs over the course of three games. Upstate won the tournament championship after defeating top-seed Florida Gulf Coast 5-1 on Saturday.
The Spartans enter NCAA Tournament play having won 10 of their last 11 games dating back to April 20 with a doubleheader sweep of South Carolina State.
Upstate has won five conference titles in the last four years and six in nine seasons in the A-Sun. The Spartans have won three regular season championships in 2008, 2014 and 2015, and three A-Sun Tournament titles in 2013, 2015 and 2016.