Softball Receives At-Large Bid to NCAA Tournament

MOUNT PLEASANT - The Central Michigan University softball team (32-17) has received an at-large bid to the 64-team NCAA Softball Championship and the Chippewas are heading to the UCLA Regional this Thursday-Sunday, May 20-23.

The seventh-seeded Chippewas will play second-seeded Alabama on Thursday at 11:30 a.m. (PDT), at UCLA's Easton Stadium.

The Crimson Tide (42-18) are currently ranked 15th nationally in the current NFCA/USA Today Coaches' Poll.

Also in the Chippewas' regional are No. 1 seed and defending national champion UCLA (39-9), No. 3 Long Beach State (48-11), No. 4 Louisville (40-17), No. 5 Missouri (27-24), No. 6 Cornell (39-11) and No. 8 Mississippi Valley (31-13). UCLA is currently ranked fifth nationally and Long Beach State 18th.

The 64 teams are broken into eight, eight-team regionals playing a double-elimination tournament.

Should CMU win its first game, its second game against the Long Beach State/Cornell winner will be televised nationally on ESPN on Friday, May 21, at noon PDT.

This marks the first time in the MAC's history that a conference school has received an at-large bid to the tournament.

Central Michigan is making its 13th trip to the NCAA Championship. It marks the fifth appearance in the last six years after the Chippewas made four straight trips from 1999 to 2002. The regional winner advances to the Women's College World Series, May 27-31, in Oklahoma City, Okla. Central Michigan made an appearance in the World Series in 1987.

The Maroon and Gold won the MAC regular season title with a 21-3 slate and its at-large bid credentials were boosted by a pair of victories over Top 10 ranked teams during the season, then No. 5 Oklahoma (3-2) and then No. 4 Washington (1-0).

Central Michigan went 0-2 in the MAC Tournament last weekend in Akron, Ohio. Bowling Green won the conference tournament and received the automatic bid to the tournament. The Falcons are playing in the regional hosted by Michigan.

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