UL Softball Has Had A Lot Of NCAA Tournament Success
The 7th-ranked Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns begin play on Friday in something that has been fairly kind to them over the years; the NCAA Tournament.
Of course, to have success in the postseason, you have to qualify first, and Louisiana has made a habit of that over the years.
UL will be making will be making their 21st-consecutive NCAA Regional appearance this weekend, when they take part in the Oxford Regional in Oxford, Mississippi.
Just as impressive, the Cajuns will be making their 29th appearance over the last 30 years.
Since 1990, Louisiana has been in the NCAA Tournament every year, with the lone exception of 1998.
How impressive is that?
Well, Louisiana is just one of nine schools to play in the NCAA Tournament every year since 2000, joining Alabama, Arizona, Florida State, Michigan, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, UCLA and Washington on the list, while their 29 NCAA Tournament appearances rank eighth in NCAA history.
This season, UL compiled an overall record of 50-4, while winning both the regular season and postseason Sun Belt Conference Championships.
So, the Cajuns have certainly done their part in the regular season, just to get to the postseason.
And when they've gotten to the postseason, they've normally performed well.
Louisiana has compiled an all-time NCAA Tournament record of 76-59, including an all-time record in Regional play of 64-36.
Their 76 wins rank 13th in NCAA history.
UL, who has won 11 Regional Championships, also has 6 Women's College World Series appearances to their credit.
How about as of late?
Well, in their previous 11 appearances, from 2008-2018, the Cajuns have gone 30-9, while winning seven NCAA Regional titles.
Going back even farther, UL has advanced to Championship Sunday of an NCAA Regional in each of its last 11 appearances (2008-18), and has made it to the championship round in 14 of the previous 16 years.
The Cajuns went through a stretch (2012-2016), in which they appeared in an NCAA Super Regional for 5-straight years, while also qualifying 6 times in 7 years, and 7 times over a 9-year period.
They've also been really good in Regional openers.
Despite losing, 1-0, to Houston, in their opening game of the Baton Rouge Regional last year, Louisiana went 6-straight seasons (2012-2017) without falling in an NCAA Tournament opener.
UL won their first-ever NCAA Tournament game, defeating Texas A&M, 1-0, back on May 18th of 1990.
The Cajuns' first-ever appearance in the WCWS was clinched in 1993, when they went to Ann Arbor, Michigan and knocked off Bowling Green and Michigan (twice), before finishing 3rd in Oklahoma City.
The most heartbreaking Louisiana loss in the NCAA Tournament?
Well, that very debatable; but I think the 1994 team, who went 55-3 in the regular season, was a team that was capable of winning the National Championship.
Unfortunately, they failed to qualify for the WCWS, after losing to Utah in back-to-back games in the Lafayette Regional, in what will always be remembered as a missed opportunity.
This year's Louisiana squad, who has won 27-consecutive games, one shy of the school record, has certainly had a memorable season; but how they fare in the Oxford Regional, and how far they advance in the postseason, may go a long way to determining how they're viewed by many in the future.