The NCAA seems to only want one Louisiana team in the Softball College World Series.
The brackets were released on Sunday and once again the thinking heads put ninth-seed LSU (42-16) and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (46-12) in the same regional.
According to the NCAA Web site, team pairings were determined by geographical proximity, with the exception that teams from the same conference were not paired during regional competition, when possible.
With Lafayette and Baton Rouge less than an hour apart, “geographical proximity” seemed the deciding factor.
But one Louisiana team will advance to the Houston Super Regional and that is a shame.
The University of Florida (62-2) was named the No. 1 seed in 64-team field that included eight SEC teams - the most from any conference.
With eight SEC schools and 16 regional sites, the Lady Cajuns were still hopeful of hosting a regional but LSU was awarded the bid instead along with Florida, Tennessee and Alabama.
Only eight schools have been crowned the NCAA Division I softball champion since the tournament started in 1982, and all are in this year’s bracket including UCLA, Texas A&M, Cal State Fullerton, Arizona, Fresno State, Oklahoma, California and Michigan.
Last season, LSU was disappointed that they had to travel out west instead of hosting, but the Lady Tigers won the Palo Alto Regional, going undefeated in three games to advance to its second-straight NCAA Super Regional at Arizona - where the LSU season ended.
This year is the 10th regional appearance for the Lady Tigers, while it is the 18th time in school history that the Lady Cajuns have advanced into post-season play.
The NCAA berth is also the 10th consecutive appearance for the Ragin’ Cajuns - who made it to the World Series in 2004, falling to Texas and UCLA.
Last year the Lady Cajuns traveled to the College Station Regional, as UL dropped back-to-back extra inning decisions (4-3 to Houston) and 2-1 to Sam Houston State) to close the season at 46-18.
The last time ULL and LSU faced each other on the softball field was 2006, when Vanessa Soto’s sacrifice fly in the seventh inning gave the Tigers a 5-4 win to clinch the Baton Rouge Regional championship.
Soto played three years at LSU before transferring to ULL, so she has seen both sides of the rivalry.
It doesn’t matter if the regional was held at Lafayette or Baton Rouge - the atmosphere will be pumped full of energy.
“I don’t think the LSU Tigers ever understand that for a true Ragin’ Cajun fan, if there was Tidily Winks they would sell it out,” LSU head coach Yvette Girouard said. “I know because I was one. You live to beat LSU. That game is huge for the fans and the team in Lafayette.”
Girouard built the Lady Cajun program before heading to LSU as one of her best pitchers Stephanie Lotief is co-head coach at ULL.
The Lady Cajuns could have been sent to No. 8 Houston, a team they split against last month or No. 5 Texas A&M but the weekend trip to Baton Rouge may be the best draw for the ULL fans.
ULL will face East Carolina (36-28) at 4 p.m. Friday, while LSU will entertain Mississippi Valley State (28-26) at 7 p.m.
There will be no love lost between the two teams if they face each other in the regional championship, but it could be one of the best games of the entire tournament.
Both teams have excellent pitchers and potent offenses with stingy defenses.
It’s just sad that only one of them will advance to the Super Regional.