BYU softball heading to Tempe Regional for the NCAA Tournament

The Cougars are making their 15th consecutive Regional appearance.

Photo courtesy of Jaren Wilkey, BYU photo | BYU junior outfielder Rylee Jensen has emerged as one of the top college softball players in the country. Jensen was named national player of the week in early April after collecting 10 straight hits.

A week after securing an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, BYU learned where and who it would be playing.

The Cougars are headed to the Tempe Regional, which includes No. 15 Arizona State, Southern Illinois and Virginia Tech.

BYU faces Virginia Tech on Thursday, at 5:30 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN3.

It is BYU’s 15th consecutive season, not counting the canceled 2020 season, making it to the NCAA Tournament. The Cougars have yet to make it to the Women’s College World Series, only making it to the Super Regional once (2010).

BYU finished the regular season with a 36-15 overall record, and 11-1 in West Coast Conference play. The Cougars are on an eight-game win streak and won nine of their last 10 games.

Unlike previous years where, if a top-8 Regional host gets upset, the Super Regionals won’t get moved to the next-highest seed of that group.

Five SEC teams took their place in the top eight seeds, with Big 12′s Oklahoma earning the top overall seed and Pac-12′s UCLA earning the No. 2 seed. Those two teams played in the championship series in 2019, with the Bruins winning their 12th national title.

Should the Cougars get past Virginia Tech, they would most likely face Arizona State on Friday. BYU opened the 2021 season in Tempe, with two games against the Sun Devils.

The Cougars lost both contests, but played a close second game — taking Arizona State to eight innings.

In fact, BYU played against four of the 16 seeds during the regular season. Besides Arizona State, the Cougars played 11th-seeded Arizona, No. 12 Texas and No. 16 Washington.

The Cougars are led in the box by Violet Zavodnik, who has a .417 batting average. The true freshman also leads the team in slugging percentage (.827) and on base percentage (.526).

Zavodnik is followed closely by senior Rylee Jensen, who’s batting average is .400.

In the circle, senior Autumn Moffat-Korth has been the Cougars’ star. The Idaho native has a 1.94 ERA through 188 innings. She’s given up 70 runs while striking out 163 batters this season.