Baylor Bears

NCAA Softball Tournament 2024 Preview, Prediction, Schedule: Lafayette Regional

Baylor Softball Aliyah Binford
Big 12 Conference

After the dust settled on Selection Sunday, there were five Big 12 teams in the 2024 NCAA Softball Tournament, with three of them ranked among the top five seeds nationally.

Baylor, ranked 18th in RPI, landed as the No. 2 seed in the Lafayette Regional, hosted by No. 13 seed Louisiana.

If the Bears can survive the first weekend of action, they will move on to face the winner of the Gainesville Regional—hosted by No. 4 Florida—in the Super Regionals.


Let’s take a look at the teams in the Lafayette Regional and predict how things should play out after the first weekend of action.

Tale of the Tape

(13) No. 1 Louisiana (42-17)

RPI: 11 | Record vs. Top 25: 6-13 | Scoring: 5.83 (35th) | ERA: 2.66 (41st) | Fielding %: .968 (75th)

The Ragin’ Cajuns come into the NCAA Tournament ranked No. 11 in RPI and played the toughest nonconference schedule in the country to prepare them for postseason play. Their biggest win of the season came on March 3, when UL went into Norman and beat Oklahoma to end their NCAA-record 71-game winning streak. Mihyia Davis leads the Ragin’ Cajuns’ offense (.416) with 84 hits this season and also boasts a .454 on-base percentage. It’ll be Sam Landry (2.08 ERA) and Chloe Riassetto (2.77 ERA) in the circle, as the two have combined for 301.0 of their 386.1 total innings pitched this season.

No. 2 Baylor (32-20)

RPI: 18 | Record vs. Top 25: 5-13 | Scoring: 5.41 (50th) | ERA: 2.74 (46th) | Fielding %: .968 (74th)

All in all, this really isn’t too bad a landing spot for the Bears, who had something of a disappointing year considering the preseason expectations. Baylor found a way to level out and finish the year ranked inside the Top 20 of the RPI, but their daunting schedule makes them appear as a team that is easy to gloss over when picking brackets. BU follows Shaylon Govan (.580 OB) offensively and leans on the combination of RyLee Crandall (3.19 ERA) and Aliyah Binford (3.29 ERA) in the circle. Baylor has faced Louisiana this year, taking two of three against the hosts back in February.


No. 3 Ole Miss (31-25)

RPI: 44 | Record vs. Top 25: 7-17 | Scoring: 4.55 (116th) | ERA: 2.85 (58th) | Fielding %: .969 (53rd)

Like Baylor, Ole Miss’s conference schedule was daunting, and the losses piled up by season’s end. However, a team with series wins over LSU, Auburn, and Arkansas is impossible to keep out of the tournament, and for good reason. The Rebels are good defensively, effective in the circle, and patient at the plate, with 182 BBs on the year. Lexie Brady (13 HR) and Aynslie Furbush (12 HR) have combined for 25 home runs on the year and are first and second in OBP for the Rebels offense. Nobody on the Rebels staff has thrown more than 86.0 inning this season, and all five arms have at least 60.0 IP. Makenna Kliethermes leads the team in wins (10), opponent batting average (.215) and ranks second in ERA (2.80), and strikeouts (91).

No. 4 Princeton (29-16)

RPI: 121 | Record vs. Top 25: 0-0 | Scoring: 3.96 (185th) | ERA: 3.93 (180th) | Fielding %: .975 (24th)

Princeton earned the Ivy League auto-bid by winning the Ivy League Tournament with a 1-0 if-necessary victory over Harvard. The Tigers are making their 12th NCAA Tournament appearance and second in three years. Princeton is among the best defensive teams in the nation, ranking 24th nationally with a .975 fielding percentage and just 32 total errors on the year. That’s where they’ll have to make up space in the margins, as they bring below-average offense and pitching into this weekend.


Schedule – Lafayette, Louisiana

Friday, May 17

Game 1: (13) Louisiana 8, Princeton 0 (F/5)

Game 2: Baylor 3, Ole Miss 1

Saturday, May 18

Game 3: Baylor 8, (13) Louisiana 0 (F/5)

Game 4: Princeton 4, Ole Miss 2

Game 5: Louisiana 2, Princeton 1 (F/8)

Sunday, May 19

Game 6: (13) Louisiana vs. Baylor | 1:00 p.m. | TBD

Game 7 (if necessary): Winner Game 6 vs. Loser Game 6 | TBD

Prediction: Baylor Escapes Elimination on Sunday

I like Baylor to pick up a win over Ole Miss on Friday to move to the winner’s bracket and face Louisiana on Saturday. There, I see the Ragin’ Cajuns winning a close game to send Baylor to the loser’s bracket to face Ole Miss a second time. Baylor will beat the Rebels for a second time and move to Sunday, where they’ll face the hosts once again. I will take the Bears to force the if-necessary Game 7 and ultimately pull off the upset over Louisiana to advance to Super Regional weekend, which will send them to Gainesville.

Most Popular

To Top