USF softball team earns NCAA Tournament berth

USF seniors (L to R) Cassidy Boyle, Morgan Gross, Astin Donovan and Lauren Evans collected the runner-up trophy after falling to Wichita State in Saturday's American Athletic Conference tournament final. (JOEY KNIGHT | Times)
USF seniors (L to R) Cassidy Boyle, Morgan Gross, Astin Donovan and Lauren Evans collected the runner-up trophy after falling to Wichita State in Saturday's American Athletic Conference tournament final. (JOEY KNIGHT | Times)
Published May 13
Updated May 13

The USF softball team, regular season champion of the American Athletic Conference, has earned the program's 14th NCAA Tournament berth, opening play Friday against Ohio State in the Gainesville Region.

The Bulls (38-21) and Buckeyes (34-14) square off at 5 p.m. in the double-elimination event, with Florida (50-8) — the nation's No. 2 overall seed — facing Bethune-Cookman at 7:30. Ticket information can be found here.

"What a great opportunity for us and our fans to head to Gainesville for the NCAA Tournament," Bulls coach Ken Eriksen said Sunday evening.

"To have the opportunity early in the tournament to face quality teams like Ohio State, Bethune-Cookman and No. 2 Florida is fantastic. Can't wait to get to work at practice this week."

UF, which has defeated the Bulls twice this season, won the SEC Tournament title with a 3-1 victory against South Carolina in Saturday's final.

USF entered the AAC tourney 42nd in the RPI, then earned walk-off victories its first two games before a 4-1 loss to Wichita State in Saturday's title game.

FSU (47-10), the nation's No. 6 overall seed, opens at home Friday at 2:30 against Jacksonville State. The 'Noles, led by Alonso High alumnus Jessie Warren (.393, 16 home runs, 55 RBI), won their fifth consecutive ACC tournament title Saturday, rallying for four runs in the bottom of the seventh in a 5-4 triumph against Pitt.

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