NORMAN, Okla. The Oklahoma softball team (38-19-1) will be making its 13th straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament as it has been selected to play in Regional No. 9, joining host school Michigan (40-13) along with Youngstown State (22-25) and Kent State (32-22) in Ann Arbor, Mich., this Friday-Sunday (May 19-21).
The Sooners are slated to play Kent State in opening round action on Friday at 3:30 p.m. (4:30 ET). The defending National Champion Michigan Wolverines, and the No. 9 overall seed in the tournament, will take on Youngstown State in their opening round game at 6 p.m. (7 p.m. ET).
Saturday's game between the winner of games one and two will be broadcast live on ESPN2 at noon from Alumni Field.
“We are pretty pleased to have the opportunity to go to Michigan and play the defending National Champions,” head coach Patty Gasso said. “However, all of these teams are in the tournament for a reason so you must take it one game at a time. Our team is really excited about where we are and we feel like we are playing our best at this point in the season so we’re excited for the challenges and the opportunity of winning the regional.”
Within the Michigan Regional, the Wolverines are the top-seeded team while Oklahoma follows as the second seed and Kent State and Youngstown State round out the four-team field as the third and fourth seed, respectively.
The winner of the regional in Ann Arbor will move on to a Super Regional the following weekend (May 26-27) against the winner of the regional being hosted by Tennessee in Knoxville. That regional consists of the tournament's No. 8 overall seed Tennessee Volunteers, Virginia Tech, Louisville and Tennessee Tech.
“The team that is going to win the regional is the one that can pull it together when it counts,” Gasso said. “We have been playing extremely well towards the end of the season and our program has a good history in postseason action. Our squad is going to give it everything they have and see what happens.”
The Division I championship provides for a field of 64 teams. The championship will be extended to three weekends of competition for the first time this year. Four teams will participate at each of 16 regional sites in a double-elimination tournament. Sixteen teams were seeded and placed at one of the regional sites.
The regional winners will advance to super regional competition for a best-of-three series May 26-28 at eight campus sites.
The remaining eight teams will advance to the WCWS, an eight-team, double-elimination tournament. The championship final will a best-of-three-series. The WCWS will be conducted June 1-7 at the ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City.
Below is the schedule for the Michigan Regional:
Friday (All times EST)
Game 1 4:30 p.m. (3:30 CST) Oklahoma vs. Kent State
Game 2 7 p.m. (6 p.m. CST) Michigan vs. Youngstown State
Game 3 12 p.m. (11 a.m. CST). - Winner of Game 1 vs. Winner of Game 2
Game 4 - 2:30 p.m. (1:30 p.m. CST) - Loser of Game 1 vs. Loser of Game 2
Game 5 - 5 p.m. (4 p.m. CST) - Winner of Game 4 vs. Loser of Game 3
Game 6 - 1 p.m. (12 p.m. CST) - Winner of Game 3 vs. Winner of Game 5
Game 7 - 3:30 p.m. ( 2:30 p.m. CST) If necessary game (only necessary if winner of Game 5 defeats winner of Game 3)
Kent State (32-22)
The Sooners are 3-0 against Kent State in the series history and will be facing the Golden Flashes for the first time under head coach Patty Gasso. KSU received an automatic bid to the tournament after winning the Mid-American Athletic Conference tournament this past weekend.
The defending National Champions are making their 12th straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament and its 13th NCAA Tournament appearance in program history. Additionally, Michigan plays host to a regional for the fifth straight season and 12th time overall. UM brings a seven-game winning streak into NCAA postseason and were named the champions of the Big Ten Tournament last weekend. The Sooners are 5-10 against UM all-time.
Youngstown State (22-25)
The Penguins also received an automatic birth to the tournament after winning the Horizon League Championship. Youngstown State will be making its first ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament. The Sooners have never faced the Penguins in the program’s history.