SAN DIEGO — The Aztecs have been here before, and can't wait to play.
By winning their second straight Mountain West Conference Championship, The Azecs earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
"I mean, last year was the first time for me so being able to do it back to back is awesome," said Junior Shortstop Jillian Celis. "(It's) just something that we've worked for all year."
SDSU's first opponent in this year's tournament is Liberty University. The Aztecs will play the Flames at 8 p.m. PT Friday at Easton Stadium in Los Angeles. The Aztecs will have the travel advantage. Where Liberty has a five-hour flight across three time zones for the game, the Aztecs only have a two-hour bus ride.
"The drive and the travel but also our game time is 8 pm which for us is kind of late but you think about East Coast, they're starting the game at 11 pm," head coach Stacey Nuveman Deniz said. "Those are all little things. Obviously, the adrenaline and moment is going to take care of some of that. But I think that definitely is a little bit of an advantage on our side."
By winning the conference tournament, they will be playing as the number three seed at the subregional, Liberty is the two seed. If they beat Liberty they will then face host, UCLA. The Bruins are the number two overall seed in the entire NCAA tournament. The Aztecs played UCLA just two weeks ago, falling in a tight contest 4-3.
"I'm super optimistic," Senior Alexis Otero said. "I think this team can compete. I mean, we lose off a walk-off to UCLA a couple of weekends ago. And so I think we can compete. We're definitely ready to go out there and put some runs on board."
The coach says she likes the way the team is playing right now. Time will tell if they can knock off Liberty and UCLA and advance to the NCAA Super Regionals.
How to watch the Aztecs NCAA Softball first-round game
The game is scheduled to air on ESPNU or stream on ESPN.com at 8 p.m. PT on Friday, May 19.
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