After winning the 2017 West Coast Conference title to secure the 2017 NCAA Regionals automatic bid, No. 20 BYU softball will head to the Salt Lake City Regional, starting with a matchup against Mississippi State on Thursday.

“We are excited to be in the NCAA tournament again," BYU head coach Gordon Eakin said. "We look forward to playing quality teams in our own backyard."

The Cougars (44-11, 14-1 WCC) are making their 13th-consecutive NCAA Regionals appearance and 14th in program history. They won the WCC championship for the fourth-straight year, the ninth title in a row overall spanning four different conferences.

The Salt Lake City Regional includes host-team No. 11 Utah, Fordham and Mississippi State in addition to BYU.

In 2016, BYU traveled to the Missouri Regional where the Cougars picked up a win against Louisville but lost to No. 15 Missouri and Nebraska.

BYU and Mississippi State will play at 4 p.m. MDT. The game will be televised live on ESPN3.

Opponents outlook

Mississippi State Bulldogs (36-20, 10-14 SEC)

The Bulldogs finished the regular season with a 36-20 record, including a 10-14 record in the SEC. They were a No. 9 seed in the SEC tournament, losing in the opening round to Ole Miss, which went on to win the tournament championship. BYU has a 1-2 series record against Mississippi State. The last time these two teams faced was in 2012 in NCAA Regionals, which the Cougars won 4-3 in nine innings.

No. 11 Utah Utes (33-14, 13-9 Pac-12)

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The Utes finished in fifth in the Pac-12, struggling as of late after getting swept at home against Washington. BYU and Utah faced earlier this season in Provo with the Cougars winning 4-3. Libby Sugg hit a pair of two-run homers to lead the team to an upset win. The Cougars lead the all-time series, 33-17, including a 13-10 mark on the road. In 2016, BYU played at Utah and won 5-4.

Fordham Rams (45-15, 18-5 Atlantic 10)

The Rams finished the season strong, winning the Atlantic 10 championship after already winning the regular-season title. BYU has played Fordham just once previously, winning 5-2 back in 2014 in the Mary Nutter Classic.