It was a sure bet that the South Carolina Gamecocks softball team (RPI: 32) was on their way to the NCAA Tournament despite a sub-.500 SEC record.
And to the tournament they go, opening in the Tallahassee regional against South Florida (41-15) from the American Athletic Conference, Friday at 4:30 on ESPN2. The winner of the regional advances to take on the winner of the Tempe regional.
Oregon (49-7-1), Alabama (45-11), UCLA (48-6) and Georgia (45-12) were the top four national seeds in this year’s tournament.
Inside the Tallahassee Regional
#8 Florida State (50-6, 24-3 ACC): The Seminoles clinched the ACC’s auto bid to the tournament with a 3-1 win over Notre Dame earlier today. Lacey Waldrop has been flat-out unhittable (33-4, 0.96), an easy choice for ACC pitcher of the year (and a no-doubt All-American to be), while Maddie O’Brien, the league’s player of the year, has hit .422 and is one of the nation’s top home run hitters with 23 (to go along with 80 RBI). Of note: redshirt senior Briana Hamilton (.313, 35 RBI) transferred from USC to FSU after her freshman season in 2009.
South Florida (41-15, 13-5 American): The Bulls were mercy ruled by Louisville in The American semifinals, 8-0, but a year mostly spent either ranked or receiving votes was good to get them an at-large bid. Sara Nevins (27-8, 1.42) was the league’s pitcher of the year while Juli Wbere (.361, 22 RBI) took rookie of the year honors. Look out for power threat Kourtney Salvarola (14 HR).
Fordham (36-18, 13-3 A-10): The Rams clinched their second straight Atlantic 10 title today with an 11-0 five-inning win over Saint Louis. League player of the year Elise Fortier carries a .384 batting average and 19 homers into the weekend, while co-pitcher of the year Michele Daubman is 18-10 with a 2.58 ERA.