The 2013 SEC Champion Florida softball squad picked up the No. 2 National Seed in the 2013 NCAA Tournament, announced Monday evening on ESPNU, marking the Gators’ sixth straight top-five national seed. The Gators will open NCAA Tournament play Friday at 6 p.m. versus Hampton, the first-ever meeting between the two squads.
For the 11th consecutive season, the University of Florida softball team will host a NCAA Regional at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium, and this year, the Gainesville Regional will feature MEAC Champion Hampton (34-24), SoCon Champion Georgia Southern (32-27) and Sunshine State rival and BIG EAST Champion USF (43-14), as the Bulls visit Gainesville for the second straight year in NCAA Regional action.
Play will open with the first round of the tournament in Gainesville May 17 at 3:30 p.m. as Georgia Southern and USF take to the field first, while Florida and Hampton will square off at 6 p.m. in the nightcap. Action will continue Saturday and Sunday in the double-elimination format. Florida’s selection marks the 14th year the Gators will host a Regional in the friendly confines of Pressly Stadium, including each year under 2013 SEC Coach of the Year Tim Walton at the helm of the program.
The winner of the Gainesville Regional will play the winner of the Louisville Regional, featuring the No. 15 seed and host, Louisville (46-11), in addition to UCLA (37-10), UAB (37-16 and IPFW (32-14). The highest remaining seed will host the NCAA Super Regional round.
The Gators are 23-18 (.560) in NCAA Regional play, including 18-6 (.750) under Walton. Florida advanced to an unprecedented four-consecutive Women’s College World Series from 2008-11, including appearances in the WCWS Championship Series in both 2009 and 2011. The Orange and Blue own a 43-29 (.602) all-time record in the NCAA Tournament.
Florida is 2-0 this season against the Gainesville Regional field, having defeated USF twice, once in Tampa and once at home in Gainesville. The Gators are 1-0 against Georgia Southern (7-6 win on 3/2/01) and have the longest series history with Sunshine State rival USF. The Orange and Blue own a 35-13 all-time advantage over USF, including a 16-8 record at home. Last season, the Bulls advanced out of the 2012 NCAA Gainesville Regional and on to their first-ever WCWS.
A staggering 11 Southeastern Conference institutions were a part of the announced 64-team field, the most ever.