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Arizona Seeded No. 3, to Host NCAA Regional
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 05/16/2005
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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TUCSON, Ariz. ?- For the eighth time in nine years, Arizona softball will host an NCAA Regional at Hillenbrand Stadium.  The co-Pac-10 Champion Wildcats will play host to Lehigh (41-8), Princeton 35-8) and Oklahoma State (33-22) in Tucson, beginning Friday.

 

Arizona (39-10), which has won five of its last six games, enters postseason play ranked as the third seed, with Michigan and California taking the top two spots, respectively.  All eight Pac-10 schools were awarded bids to the tournament, as the Conference of Champions earned five of the top eight seeds in the bracket of 64.

Friday game times are subject to NCAA approval on Monday.

The Princeton-Oklahoma State game will start at 4 p.m., with UA-Lehigh to follow at 6:30 p.m. (MST/PDT). The two winners will meet at 1:30 p.m. Saturday with the two losers to play at 4 p.m.  The loser of Game 3 will play the winner of Game 4 at 6:30 p.m. Saturday.

Game times Sunday are 12 noon, and if necessary, 2:30 p.m.

Day

Time

Game

Friday, May 20

4 p.m.

G1  Princeton vs. Oklahoma State

Friday, May 20

6:30 p.m.

G2  Arizona vs. Lehigh

Saturday, May 21

1:30 p.m.

G3  Winner 1 vs. Winner 2

Saturday, May 21

4 p.m.

G4  Loser G1 vs. Loser G2

Saturday, May 21

6:30 p.m.

G5  Winner G4 vs. Loser G3

Sunday, May 22

12 noon

G6  Winner G3 vs. Winner G5

Sunday, May 22

2:30 p.m. (IF)

Repeat G6 if both teams have a loss

 Arizona earned the No. 3 overall seed in the tournament after its climb to the top of the league standings with the strong finish. The Pac-10 title was a four-way tie between Oregon State, California, Stanford and Arizona -- all at 13-8. Each of the other schools lost on the final day or otherwise any one of them could have won the championship outright. Arizona lost at California Friday, then beat Stanford twice.

Arizona and UCLA are the only Pac-10 teams to host. But the NCAA announced only the top 16 seeds and Pac-10 teams earned six of them -- California (2), Arizona (3), Stanford (6), UCLA (7), Oregon State (8) and Washington (16). The field was announced as Regions 1-14. Tucson is Region 3.

Other sites and host schools are Ann Arbor (top-ranked Michigan), Lincoln (Nebraska), South Bend, Ind. (Notre Dame), Madison (Wisconsin), College Station (Texas A&M), Tuscaloosa (Alabama), Auburn, Ala. (Auburn), Gainesville (Florida), Austin (Texas), Norman (Oklahoma), Knoxville (Tennessee), Columbia (Missouri), Los Angeles (UCLA), and Athens (Georgia) and Fresno, Calif. (Fresno State)

Hosts that are not the highest seeded team at their site include Missouri (where Stanford is seeded), Auburn (Baylor is seeded), Fresno State (California is seeded), Nebraska (Washington is seeded), Notre Dame (Northwestern is seeded), Wisconsin (Oregon State is seeded),

The winner of the Arizona regional will play the winner of the Oklahoma (Region 14). The NCAA would choose which team hosted the Super Regional May 20-22. The Sooners will play host to Oregon, Louisiana-Lafayette, and Wichita State in Norman, Okla.

Lehigh established a new school and Patriot League record for victories in a season, surpassing the mark of 40 set by last year’s team. The Mountain Hawks won the Patriot League Tournament championship and automatic bid to the NCAA tournament last week. Last year's Lehigh team was seeded seventh in a region hosted in Lincoln, Neb., by the University of Nebraska. Lehigh posted an 0-2 record in last year’s tournament losing 6-0 to host Nebraska and 3-0 to Florida Atlantic.

Last year, Arizona snapped a streak of 16 consecutive appearances in the WCWS, as the Wildcats lost to Louisiana-Lafayette in the Tucson Regional.

This year, the NCAA switched to the baseball-style championships, in which four teams will compete at 16 regional sites.  The 16 regional winners will then be paired off to eight sites, where the teams will play a three-game series against another regional winner.  The eight Super Regional winners will then head to Oklahoma City, Okla., for the Women’s College World Series.  In the past, eight sites hosted eight teams each, with each regional winner advancing straight to the WCWS.

 

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