The Missouri softball team is making history this weekend. For the first time ever, the Tigers are hosting an NCAA Regional Tournament. Mizzou got the news on Sunday night when the brackets were announced. MU finished second at the Big 12 Tournament last week, when they fell to Texas 2-0 in the title game.
With their 42-13 record and a nice run in the Big 12 Tournament, head coach Ty Singleton thought they had a shot to get a regional, but said he wasn’t going to spend a lot of time and emotion expecting to get it.
“I felt like we definitely had a legitimate shot to get it, but it really, was just so out of our hands,” Singleton said. “I don’t know how to read the NCAA, and, so yes, (it was) a surprise”.
This season the Tigers have set three attendance records and Singleton expects some nice crowds in Columbia this weekend, saying, “Our average attendance has been higher than it’s ever been, so to be able to bring (the regional) here and let (the fans) see the post-season environment first-hand is very exciting.”
This marks Singleton’s third season at Mizzou and he has taken the Tigers to the NCAA Regionals in each of those three campaigns. In his first year he ended a four year drought from the Regionals. He had some big shoes to fill when he took over, as he replaced fired legendary head coach Jay Miller, who won over 600 games. But Singleton says he was more concerned with living up to his own expectations than he was with trying to replace Miller.
“I respect Jay and he did an excellent job here, but when I took the job those external thoughts weren’t really on my mind,” he said. “I knew very clearly what I wanted to do with this team and that’s what I was focused on.”
The Tigers, which are ranked 18th in the nation will face Southern Illinois (46-12). Stanford (40-14) will get Robert Morris (29-20-1). The games will be played Friday and Saturday at University Field in Columbia.