Defending National Champion Huskies To Host NCAA Regional

May 16, 2010

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SEATTLE - The defending national champion Washington Huskies were chosen as one of 16 hosts for the NCAA Division I softball NCAA Regionals, which start Friday, May 21 and run through Sunday, May 23.

The Huskies, who earned the No. 3 overall seed for the NCAA Tournament, will host North Carolina (40-18), Nebraska (29-27) and North Dakota State (33-23). All games throughout the weekend will air live on ESPNU, with Friday's action kicking off at 2:30 p.m. PT with Nebraska taking on North Carolina. The Huskies will then make their 2010 postseason debut on Friday at 5 p.m. PT. The rest of the weekend scheduled will be announced later in the week.

UW is making its 17th consecutive postseason appearance, missing out in the program's first year of existence in 1993 before advancing in each of the last 17 years. UW has made nine Women's College World Series appearances, including winning the program's first National Championship last year.

Surprisingly, despite being No. 1 in the national rankings every single week since the pres-season poll and winning the Pac-10 title outright, the Huskies were not chosen as the No. 1 overall seed. That honor went to Alabama, which is No. 1 in the RPI. Michigan is the No. 2 seed, followed by the Huskies.

UW (45-6, 17-4) goes into the postseason with its fewest losses in school history through the regular season. The Huskies were 41-10 last year before going 10-2 in the NCAA Regionals, Super Regionals and Women's College World Series to bring home the program's first national championship.

On the other side of the bracket, should the Huskies come through their region, is No. 14 Oklahoma, Syracuse, host Maryland and Fordham.

The Huskies are one of five seeded Pac-10 teams, including No. 5 UCLA, No. 10 Arizona, No. 11 Cal and No. 13 Arizona State. The conference will send seven teams overall into the tournament with Oregon and Stanford joining the party. The conference equaled the SEC and Big 12 with the most teams.

While they don't hold the No. 1 overall seed, UW may have the top overall player in the country in senior Danielle Lawrie. The reigning National Player of the Year goes into the postseason with a 35-2 record, a 0.99 ERA and 407 strikeouts in 247.1 innings. She is also having a career-year at the plate, batting .322 with team highs of 14 home runs and 55 RBI.

NCAA Selection Show commentator Cheri Kempf, herself a former three-time All-American pitcher, called Lawrie the greatest Pac-10 player since UCLA and Team USA legend Lisa Fernandez.

'It's going to be awesome hosting,' Washington head coach Heather Tarr said. 'Our new lights are great and we've had a great Pac-10 season at home and we're excited to stay in Seattle for the weekend. We've done a good job all year long dealing with the expectations of last year. We're better defensively, Danielle is better and our offense overall is better. Anytime you can have a national championship under your belt, you're going to gain a lot of confidence. Danielle and our seniors definitely want to go out with a bang.'

Stay tuned to all week for ticket information and a complete schedule of games.

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