LUBBOCK, Texas – Fresh off a fourth-place finish at the 2018 Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship, the Texas Tech softball team has earned a berth in the 2018 National Invitational Softball Championship.
The NISC's 17-team field was announced Sunday night following the NCAA Softball selection show. Texas Tech was one of 12 automatic qualifiers for the event as the Big 12 team that finished highest in the league standings but is not playing in the NCAA Tournament.
Texas Tech (29-26) will head to Conway, Ark., where it will face Stephen F. Austin (31-22) on Wednesday at 3 p.m. CT. UT Arlington and regional host Central Arkansas round out the regional.
"Obviously, we are disappointed that we did not make it into the NCAA Tournament, but we are very grateful for the opportunity to keep playing and extending our season," head coach Adrian Gregory said. "The NISC allows our young team to gain postseason experience, to know what it feels like to play stress-free without school and to give all of their energy to the game. This will be a great building block as we strive for the NCAA Tournament next year. We are excited and welcome the challenge."
The NISC is an annual postseason event that made its return 2017. It will feature four regionals, which will be played at host fields, with a double-elimination format. Each regional champion will advance to the championship round May 23-26, where another double-elimination bracket at a host institution will decide the champion.
With one of the youngest rosters in the nation, Tech closed strong down the stretch, earning wins in eight of its last ten games. With a win over No. 17 Baylor in Oklahoma City, Tech advanced to the third place game of the Big 12 Championship on Saturday where it fell to Texas.
This is the sixth postseason appearance for the program overall and the first in the NISC. The Red Raiders last participated in the postseason in 2012 when it went to the NCAA Seattle Regional.