This weekend starts a pretty long stretch of NCAA regional and super regional games en route to the Women’s College World Series. After a pretty solid 2018 season, the Buckeye softball team will take the field on Friday, May 18 at 5 p.m. ET (on ESPNU) against USF in their first matchup of the NCAA Tournament.
The Ohio State softball team finished their regular season 34-13, and 14-8 in Big Ten play, before being eliminated in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament by (newly minted rival) Iowa. After a pretty boring six innings— which saw just a pair of runs scored between the teams to keep things tied up— the Hawkeyes went on a seventh-inning rally that finished off the Buckeyes, 5-1; thanks in no small part to unforced OSU errors.
Despite their short conference tournament run, the team still earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tourney, and will enter this weekend as the No. 2 seed in the Gainesville Regional. The Buckeyes will join USF, Florida and Bethune-Cookman for the double-elimination, weekend bracket. Each regional event will feature six games (seven, if necessary), with the winner advancing to a best-of-three series in the super regionals. (Full Bracket)
What should I know about USF?
The Bulls are heading into the NCAA Tournament as the No. 3 seed, thanks to a 38-21 record for the 2018 season. They may not have the best record, but they did make it the championship game in the AAC Tournament, before ultimately falling 4-1 to Tulsa.
At the plate, USF is batting .291 and claims 57 doubles, 46 home runs and 58 stolen bases, and Lindsey Devitt leads the team, hitting .390 with 60 hits, 43 RBI, 36 runs scored and seven homers. In the circle, a six-player pitching rotation has a 2.56 ERA along with 302 strikeouts in 389 innings, but Georgina Corrick -- who is 15-8 on the rubber — leads the Bulls with a 1.61 ERA and 157 strikeouts in 165.1 innings.
Is there any series history?
This marks just the sixth time ever that the Buckeyes and Bulls will meet on the diamond, with USF holding the overall series lead, 4-2. Ohio State last faced off against the Bulls in 2010, when the Buckeyes claimed a 1-0 win.
What’s the Buckeyes NCAA history?
The 2018 NCAA Tournament run will be Ohio State’s 10th appearance in search of their first national title, with this marking their third consecutive season, thanks to all-star head coach Kelly Kovach Schoenly. Both the 2016 and 2017 runs started by way of the Knoxville Regional, with the Buckeyes losing in their first two games in both years.
In 2016, the Buckeyes were eliminated after falling to Arizona (2-0) and Tennessee (10-1), and last season, the team was knocked out of the tournament thanks to losses to USC Upstate (7-3) and Longwood (3-1). That means that making the tournament for a third time will be pretty meaningless unless Ohio State gets their first tournament win under Kovach Schoenly.
Overall, the Buckeyes are 13-18 in NCAA Tournament play, and the furthest they’ve ever advanced was in 2009, when the squad made it to the Super Regionals.
How to watch Ohio State vs. USF in the Gainesville Regional
- Time: 5 p.m. ET
- Location: Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium, Gainesville, Florida
- TV: ESPNU
- Online: Live Stats
Full weekend schedule
Friday, May 18
Game 1: Ohio State vs. USF | 5 p.m. | ESPNU
Game 2: Florida vs. Bethune-Cookman | 7:30 p.m. | ESPN3
Saturday, May 19
Game 3: G1 Winner vs. G2 Winner | 2:30 p.m.
Game 4: G1 Loser vs. G2 Loser | 5 p.m.
Game 5: G3 Loser vs. G4 Winner | 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, May 20
Game 6: G3 Winner vs. G5 Winner | 12 p.m.
Game 7: G6 Winner vs. G6 Loser (if necessary) | 2:30 p.m.