UCF Softball Opening NCAA Tournament in Tallahassee

Fresh off their dramatic American Athletic Conference Championship victory on Saturday, the UCF Softball team will open their NCAA Tournament journey on Friday at the Tallahassee Regional, with 9th-overall seed and ACC Champion Florida State, SEC foe South Carolina, and Ivy League Champion Dartmouth.

UCF will begin the double-elimination regional by facing South Carolina, a team the Knights already defeated this February in Columbia, 4-1.

While the 48-7 Knights celebrated their automatic bid, there was considerable consternation over the fact that they were not selected to host their regional:

The Knights finished the season 17th in RPI, and 15th in both the USA Today NFCA Coaches’ Poll and ESPN.com/USA Softball Poll. But since overall #1 seed Florida and ACC Champion Florida State were selected to host, the thinking was that the NCAA Softball Committee did not want to hold three of the 16 regionals in the state of Florida.

Notre Dame was selected as the 16th and final overall seed, despite not getting out of the ACC Quarterfinals.

UCF’s case for hosting was arguably the strongest of those teams that were sent on the road:

  • The Knights have the fourth-highest winning percentage in Division I at .873, behind only Michigan, Florida and Oregon.
  • Only Michigan, Florida and Auburn won more games than UCF’s 48.
  • The Knights were 20-7 against the RPI Top 100, and 28-7 against the Top 130.
  • UCF’s seven losses were all by just one run against teams ranked in the RPI Top 100.
  • The Knights split meetings with two of the non-conference teams they lost to, Washington and Kent State, and took three of four against Tulsa and USF.
  • UCF went 2-0 against the ACC, 3-1 against both the SEC and Big Ten, and 1-1 against the Pac-12.
  • UCF carries two of the top three pitchers in the nation in ERA – Shelby Turnier (0.75) and Mackenzie Audas (0.95).
  • The Knights are also the only team in the nation with a team ERA under one at 0.86. That’s 0.62 ahead of 2nd-place Michigan in that category.
  • UCF is also second in the nation in fielding percentage at .979, just behind Florida’s .981.

 

The Knights open the tournament against South Carolina Friday at 3:30 p.m. Eastern at JoAnne Graf Field in Tallahassee.

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