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May 17, 2010
GREENSBORO, N.C.--The Atlantic Coast Conference tied a league record with five softball teams selected for the NCAA Division I Softball Championship, which begins Thursday, May 20. ACC champion and automatic qualifier Georgia Tech, and at-large selections Florida State, Maryland, North Carolina, and Virginia are included in the field of 64, announced yesterday by the NCAA Division I Softball Committee. The conference previously placed five teams in the tournament field in 2006 and 2007.
Florida State received an at-large bid and is making its 11th consecutive appearance in the championship, and 23rd overall since 1986. The Seminoles (43-16, 12-9 ACC) advanced to the finals of the 2010 ACC Softball Championship, but fell, 8-4, to Georgia Tech in yesterday's title game. Competing in the Athens, Ga. regional, Florida State will face Big South Conference champion Radford (36-15) on Friday, May 21, and is paired with Southern Conference champion Elon (38-19) and regional host and ninth-ranked Georgia (43-11), which is the No. 6 seed in the tournament. Florida State defeated the Dawgs, 4-3, on March 24. The Seminoles have appeared in seven Women's College World Series, the last of which came in 2004.
Georgia Tech (49-9, 19-2 ACC) earned the league's automatic bid by claiming its second straight ACC title, and, as the No. 8 seed, hosts Oregon (33-19), Auburn (30-24), and Ohio Valley Conference champion Jacksonville State (30-17), which the Yellow Jackets play on Friday, in the Atlanta, Ga. regional. Led by ACC Coach of the Year Sharon Perkins, ACC Player of the Year Jen Yee, and ACC Freshman of the Year and ACC championship most valuable player Hope Rush, the Yellow Jackets are making their ninth straight championship appearance since their first selection in 2002. Their best finish came last season, when they fell to eventual NCAA champion Washington in the super regionals.
Maryland (33-22, 8-11 ACC) received an at-large bid to make its second championship appearance, and first since 1999. The Terrapins earned home-field advantage and host Big East Conference champion Syracuse (33-24), Big 12 Conference champion and No. 14 seed Oklahoma (43-10), and Fordham (47-10), which they play on Friday, in the College Park, Md. regional. Maryland went 3-2 in its only NCAA appearance.
North Carolina (40-18, 11-10 ACC) received an at-large bid to make its eighth consecutive NCAA appearance and ninth since 2001. The Tar Heels will make a cross-country trip where they will play Nebraska (29-27) on Friday in the Seattle, Wash., regional, which includes No. 3 seed and host Washington (45-6), the Pacific-10 Conference champion and top-ranked team in the country, and Summit League champion North Dakota State (33-23). North Carolina is 8-16 all-time in the championship.
Virginia (33-21, 13-7 ACC) earned an at-large bid to its first NCAA championship after an historic season in which the Cavaliers set a school record for ACC wins. Virginia begins play Friday against Louisville (39-17) in the Knoxville, Tenn. regional, which includes No. 15 seed and 15th-ranked Tennessee (42-13) and Mid-American Conference champion Ball State (43-14).
The tournament begins Thursday, beginning with four-team, double-elimination brackets at 16 regional sites. The regional winners will advance to super regional competition for a best-of-three series on May 28-29 at eight campus sites. The remaining eight teams will advance to the Women's College World Series, an eight-team, double-elimination tournament from June 3-9 at the Amateur Softball Association Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City, Okla.
Regional action from Atlanta will be televised on ESPN, ESPN 2, and ESPN3.com, while Seattle's regional action will be televised by ESPN U.
All ACC softball information can be found at theACC.com.