Softball to host regionals

The No. 19 University of Florida Softball team (46-20) earned the No. 13 overall seed in the 2007 NCAA Softball Tournament. The Gators will host Stetson (44-20), No. 18 Texas (33-18) and No. 17 Georgia Tech (53-14) in regional play, Friday, May 18 through Sunday, May 20 at the Florida Softball Stadium.

“This is a great opportunity to host a NCAA Regional in Gainesville,” Florida head coach Tim Walton said. “It is a huge reward for our kids to get to play in front of a home crowd one more time. For our seniors, it is one more tournament they get to play at home.”

Texas and Georgia Tech will play the first game of the regional at 3:30 p.m. on Friday. The Longhorns finished sixth in the Big 12 this season, while Georgia Tech advanced to the Atlantic Coast Championship game before falling, 2-0, to Virginia Tech. Florida will face Atlantic Sun Tournament Champion Stetson in its first round game at 6 p.m. Friday. It is the first NCAA Tournament appearance for the Hatters.  The winners of Friday’s games will face each other on Saturday, while the losers will meet in an elimination game Saturday. Remaining game times will be announced by the NCAA on Monday.

“This is a very tough regional,” Walton said. “Stetson, Texas and Georgia Tech are all very well coached and have tremendous players. These should be very exciting games to watch.”

The winner of the Gainesville regional will advanced to play the winner of the Texas A&M regional in super regional action May 25-26. Of the 16 seeded teams in the tournament, four were from the Southeastern Conference, four were from the Pac 10, three from the Big 12, two from the ACC, two from the Big 10 and one from the Big East. The SEC had seven teams overall make the field of 64, four of those teams, Florida, Tennessee, Alabama and South Carolina are hosting.

Florida faced Georgia Tech on Feb. 24 in the NFCA Leadoff Classic. The Gators took the game 5-1. Florida has not faced Stetson since last season and has not played Texas since 2003. Florida is 11-2 in its history against Stetson, 3-2 against Texas and 2-0 versus Georgia Tech.

This marks the third consecutive season the Gators have received one of the top 16 seeds in the NCAA Tournament. The Gators also earned a No. 13 seed in 2005 and the No. 16 seed last year. It is the eighth NCAA Tournament appearance for the Gators in the 11-year history of the program, the fifth consecutive and the fourth time the Gators will host.