May 16, 1999

NORMAN, Okla. -- The NCAA announced today that the ninth-ranked Oklahoma softball team was awarded a No. 2 seed in the regional tournament held in Baton Rouge, La. The host school, Louisiana State University, will be the No. 1 seeded team.

The Sooners, who won the regular-season Big 12 Championship, will play in game two at 4 p.m. central time Thursday at Tiger Park against No. 5 seed Long Beach State. LSU will face No. 6 seed Southern University in game one at 7 p.m. Thursday, and at 1 p.m. that same day, the third-seeded Oregon State Beavers will battle fourth-seeded Southern Mississippi in game three.

If the Sooners win, they will play the winner of game three at 7 p.m. Friday. If OU loses, it will play the loser of game one at 1 p.m. Friday.

The four-day double elimination tournament will determine one of eight teams who will advance to the Womens College World Series, May 27-31, at Don Porter Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City, Okla. There are eight different regional sites with six teams apiece. Each regional winner advances to the WCWS.

Seven Big 12 schools made it to the NCAA playoffs: OU, Texas, Texas Tech, Texas A&M, Kansas, Nebraska and Missouri. But none of the conference schools were selected to host a regional tournament.

Long Beach State enters regional play with a 33-19 overall record. It is the alma mater of OUs head coach Patty Gasso. Current Long Beach States head coach Pete Manarino took over the program prior to Gassos senior year as a player.

"It will be emotional," Gasso said about facing her former coach and life-long friend. "I just talked to him last week and this is a surprise. He has a scrappy, tough team and the game will mean a lot to me. From our performance at the Big 12 Tournament, we are ready to play again. We played LSU this year and won. Southern Mississippi is a sleeper and this is a tough regional. I was a little surprised that we didnt host a regional and that a Big 12 school did not get a regional, but this team plays well on the road and we are ready to go and we are doing nothing but trying to get to the College World Series."

The Sooners (39-14) have made it to the NCAA regional competition each of the last four years.