Correction: Previous stories and an earlier version of this one omitted that San Jose State appeared in the 1992 NCAA Tournament.
The NCAA revealed its selections for this year's softball championship tournament on Sunday night, in a selection show televised on ESPN2. San Jose State, this year's Mountain West softball champion, will go to Los Angeles to play in the UCLA regional. The Spartans will face the Cal State Fullerton Titans on Friday at 6 p.m. at Easton Stadium on the UCLA campus, and the game will be streamed on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app.
This will be San Jose State's fourth appearance in the NCAA Tournament, following previous appearances in 1990, 1992, and 2013, and its first as a member of the Mountain West Conference. Cal State Fullerton entered the postseason by winning its second consecutive Big West Conference Tournament title.
San Jose State shares an institutional history with UCLA, as UCLA began as the Los Angeles branch of the San Jose State Normal School in 1882 before becoming UCLA in 1927.
For the first time, ESPN networks will broadcast every game from all 16 regional sites, announced the NCAA.
Team holds viewing party
The San Jose State softball team and several supporters gathered at the Gold Room on South Campus on Sunday night to watch the selection show live. The Spear, a student-run sports media website, filmed the moment when San Jose State learned its placement in the tournament:
The official San Jose State Athletics Facebook page also showed the viewing party live. At 4:50 of the below video is the team's reaction to seeing its next opponent:
During a commercial break, senior right fielder Casey Watt, the last remaining player from the 2013 WAC tournament title team, showed off her championship ring from that season and gave a pep talk to her teammates.
"We're in the same time zone, we don't have to travel that far, especially being [in] finals week...it's a great opportunity for us and the program," commented head coach Peter Turner in an interview with Spartan Radio network announcer Justin Allegri, video below. At San Jose State, final exams begin on Thursday.
"Not having a field has been a little bit of a struggle, but the best part about it is [that] we haven't complained once. We've stuck together through it all," said junior Emma Entzminger, who plays at third base, in a separate interview with Allegri. Video is also below.
Other Mountain West postseason appearances
The Mountain West had its first at-large bid since 2015 in Fresno State, who was placed in the Washington regional and will face Michigan in Seattle, also on Friday at 6 p.m. That game will be televised on ESPN2 and streamed on the WatchESPN website and app. In 2015, Fresno State won the MW title and automatically qualified for the NCAA Tournament, and San Diego State got an at-large bid with an RPI ranking of 39. The last time the Mountain West had three bids to the NCAA Tournament was in 2009, when BYU got the auto-bid with San Diego State and UNLV at-larges.
Three other Mountain West teams will play in the inaugural National Invitational Softball Championship (NISC), a secondary postseason tournament similar to the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) in college basketball. Utah State earned an automatic bid to the NISC for having the best overall record (32-16) of MW teams that were not selected for the NCAA Tournament. Boise State and Nevada got at-large bids for having top-100 RPI rankings. The NISC begins on Tuesday in several campuses' regions, with Utah State facing the University of San Diego at 1 p.m. at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah, Boise State facing host Weber State at 4 p.m., and Nevada facing UC Santa Barbara at 4 p.m. at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif.