The lovely ladies of the Louisville softball team have their work cut out for them if they want to the NCAA Tournament Super Regionals.
The Cards will open NCAA Tournament play against No. 15 Oregon State (39-21) at 1:30 p.m. on Friday in Ann Arbor, Mich. Adding to the already crazed media frenzy surrounding the game is the fact that Head Coach Sandy Pearsall is an OSU graduate.
The host of the four-team Ann Arbor regional is Michigan (43-11), the overall ninth seed, who will take on MAC champ Eastern Michigan (27-20) after the Cards and Beavers wrap up.
Each four-team Regional is a double elimination tournament with the winner advancing to the Super Regionals where they will take on another regional champion in a best of three series for the shot to advance to the Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City.
U of L, the champions of the Big East, are making their fourth straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament, but have never advanced to the Super Regionals. Oregon State is making its ninth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance, and is coming off of its first appearance in the Women's College World Series a year ago.
"We are extremely excited to be competing again in postseason play" said OSU head coach Kirk Walker. "The fact that we've been to Michigan before helps because our athletes know what to expect - this is a very strong regional."
Louisville and OSU have met only once, on Feb. 12, 2005 at the UNLV Desert Classic. The Cardinals defeated then-No. 16 ranked Oregon State 5-2 with current closer Catherine Bishop picking up the win.
U of L does have a bit more history with Michigan, but it's less flattering. The Wolverines own a 7-0 advantage in the all-time series, including a 2-0 win in Louisville on March 17.
Defending national champion Arizona is the top overall seed in the 64-team tournament, which will run from May 18-June 6.