FRISCO, Texas – The 2021 Southland Conference Softball Tournament field has been set, following the conclusion of regular-season play Saturday. Stephen F. Austin secured the tournament’s No. 1 seed after finishing the season with 75 points and a 25-2 Southland record. Southeastern Louisiana will host next week’s tournament, which begins Tuesday, May 11, at North Oak Park in Hammond, La. The championship match is slated for an 11 a.m. start Friday, May 14.
The Ladyjacks secured the top seed and their second regular-season title in program history in the penultimate week, following a sweep of Sam Houston. SFA was pushed throughout the 2021 campaign by junior right-handed pitcher Kassidy Wilbur, who set a program record with her 29th victory of the season Saturday against Houston Baptist. The ‘Jacks have secured a double-round bye at next week’s tournament and will play their opening game Wednesday, May 12 at 1:30 p.m. CT.
Central Arkansas claimed the No. 2 seed after closing out the season with 63 points and a 21-6 record in conference play. The Bears claimed wins in their final seven games, scoring 52 runs, while averaging 7.4 runs per contest. Jordan Johnson delivered her second-career perfect game for the Bears Friday evening against Lamar in a 7-0 victory. UCA will also enjoy a double-round bye and will begin postseason play Wednesday at 11 a.m.
McNeese enters the tournament as the No. 3 seed, following a pair of wins on the road against Nicholls to close out the regular season. The Cowgirls nabbed 54 points and an 18-9 record in the final standings and claimed series victories in their final four weekends of conference play. Because of its third-place finish, McNeese will begin its Southland postseason schedule Tuesday, May 11, at 4 p.m.
Northwestern State rounded out its regular-season slate with a 16-11 conference record for 48 points and the tournament’s No. 4 seed. The Lady Demons took two of their final three games at home against Southeastern Louisiana to leap past the Lady Lions. NSU will make its tournament debut Tuesday afternoon at 6:30 p.m. after enjoying a bye in the opening round of play.
Southeastern Louisiana gained the tournament’s No. 5 seed after concluding the Southland season with 45 points and a 14-10 record. Although the Lady Lions finished the regular-season standings in a tie with Houston Baptist, SLU took two games from the Huskies earlier in the season to earn the tiebreaker. As the host institution, Southeastern Louisiana will take the diamond Tuesday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. against No. 8 seed Abilene Christian. SLU won the series against the Wildcats earlier this season, but ACU will have the opportunity for payback as the winner of the single elimination opening round matchup advances to take on Northwestern State.
No. 6 seed Houston Baptist rounded out its regular-season slate with a 15-12 record for 45 points in the final standings. The Huskies tabbed wins in three of their final five games of the season, including a 3-1 win on the road against regular-season champion Stephen F. Austin (May 7). Houston Baptist takes on No. 7 seed Sam Houston in the tournament’s opening game Tuesday, May 11, at 11 a.m. The Huskies took two-of-three games from the ‘Kats in the regular-season meeting. Tuesday’s matchup will serve as a single-elimination contest, with the winner advancing to take on McNeese.
Each round of the 2021 Southland Softball Tournament will be broadcast exclusively on ESPN+. Due to the double-elimination format of the tournament, the rematch, if necessary, will be determined upon the completion of Friday’s opening game.
The Southland Tournament champion will receive the league’s automatic bid to the 2021 NCAA Division I Softball Tournament. Regional competition at the NCAA Tournament will be held May 21-23 at regional sites to be determined.
No. 1 – Stephen F. Austin (75 points; 25-2 SLC)
No. 2 – Central Arkansas (63 points; 21-6 SLC)
No. 2 – McNeese (54 points; 18-9 SLC)
No. 4 – Northwestern State (48 points, 16-11 SLC)
No. 5 – Southeastern Louisiana (45 points, 14-10 SLC)
No. 6 – Houston Baptist (45 points, 15-12 SLC)
No. 7 – Sam Houston (##, ##-## SLC)*
No. 8 – Abilene Christian (30 points, 10-17 SLC)
* Sam Houston plays one more regular-season contest tonight
Opening Round (Single Elimination) – Tuesday, May 11, 2021
11 a.m. – Game 1 – No. 6 Houston Baptist vs. No. 7 Sam Houston (ESPN+)
1:30 p.m. – Game 2 – No. 5 Southeastern Louisiana vs. No. 8 Abilene Christian (ESPN+)
Second Round (Double Elimination) – Tuesday, May 11, 2021
4 p.m. – Game 3 – No. 3 McNeese vs. Winner Game 1 (ESPN+)
6:30 p.m. – Game 4 – No. 4 Northwestern State vs. Winner Game 2 (ESPN+)
Third Round (Double Elimination) – Wednesday, May 12, 2021
11 a.m. – Game 5 – No. 2 Central Arkansas vs. Winner Game 3 (ESPN+)
1:30 p.m. – Game 6 – No. 1 Stephen F. Austin vs. Winner Game 4 (ESPN+)
4 p.m. – Loser Game 4 vs. Loser Game 5 (ESPN+)
6:30 p.m. – Loser Game 3 vs. Loser Game 6 (ESPN+)
Fourth Round (Double Elimination) – Thursday, May 13, 2021
11 a.m. – Game 9 – Winner Game 5 vs. Winner Game 6 (ESPN+)
1:30 p.m. – Game 10 – Winner Game 7 vs. Winner Game 8 (ESPN+)
4 p.m. – Game 11 – Loser Game 9 vs. Winner Game 10 (ESPN+)
Championship (Double Elimination) – Friday, May 14, 2021
11 a.m. – Game 12 – Winner Game 9 vs. Winner Game 11 (ESPN+)
TBD – If Necessary Game