BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- The UAB softball team has earned its fourth-straight at-large bid to the NCAA Softball Championship, the NCAA announced Sunday. The Blazers will travel to the Louisville Regional hosted by No. 15 seed Louisville to face UCLA on Friday at 4 p.m. CT in the opening round.
IPFW and host Louisville will join UAB and UCLA in Louisville. Competition for the double-elimination tournament begins May 16-19, with the winner advancing to the NCAA Super Regionals.
"Getting a bid gets sweeter every year," head coach Marla Townsend said. "Obviously, you don't take anything for granted. Early on, we opened up the season in Hawaii and picked up a big win over Washington. Obviously this team is special, so the fact that we were able to win the Conference USA regular-season championship is huge, but I think we all agree that we fell a game short at the tournament and we're eager to get back out on the field."
The Blazers (37-16) earned their fourth-consecutive bid after winning the Conference USA regular-season title with a program-best record league of 19-4. UAB claimed four wins against teams in the RPI top 30, including No. 13 Washington, No. 32 Mississippi State and No. 27 Tulsa (twice).
UCLA finished the regular season with a 37-18 overall record and a 10-14 mark in Pac-12 Conference Play. The Bruins took the last two games of their series against conference foe Oregon State. UAB and UCLA have never met.
No. 15 seed Louisville is 46-11 on the year with an 18-4 mark in Big East conference play. Last time out, Louisville fell to USF in the semifinals of the Big East Conference Championship. A former member of Conference USA, UAB is 3-18 all-time against the Cardinal.
IPFW, the Summit League Conference champions, are 33-14 following the regular season, with a 12-4 mark in league play. The Mastodons topped South Dakota and North Dakota State in route to the championship win. UAB and IPFW have never met in the history of the program.
Four Conference USA schools were selected to the NCAA tournament field, including C-USA Champion Marshall, Tulsa and Houston. Tulsa and Houston are ranked No. 27 and No. 34, respectively, in the most recent RPI, while Marshall is ranked at No. 97. UAB has the third-highest RPI rank in the league at No. 38.
UAB's previous appearances in the NCAA Championship included trips to the Tuscaloosa Regional hosted by Alabama in 2010, the Athens Regional hosted by Georgia in 2011 and the Knoxville Regional hosted by Tennessee in 2012.
Tickets for the NCAA Louisville Regional will be on sale online on Monday at GoCards.com or over the phone at 502-852-5151.
Louisville Regional - May 17-19 at Louisville, Kentucky No. 15 seed Louisville* (46-11) vs. IPFW (32-14) UAB (37-15) vs. UCLA (37-18)
NCAA Regional Schedule (All Times Eastern) Friday, May 17 Game 1 - UAB vs. UCLA - 5 p.m. Game 2 - IPFW vs. Louisville - 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, May 18 Game 3 - Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2 - 2:00 p.m. Game 4 - Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2 - 4:30 p.m. Game 5 - Loser Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4 - 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, May 19 Game 6 - Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 5 - 1 p.m. Game 7 - (If necessary) - 3:30 p.m.
Ticket Information All-Session tickets Adult All-Session $25 Youth All-Session $15 Student/Senior All-Session $15.00 Single session tickets - on sale Friday at Ulmer Stadium Adult Single Session $10 Child Single Session $5 Student/Senior Single-Session $7 Group and berm: $5 - Single Session only
Tickets can be picked up in advance at the UofL Ticket Office at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium starting Monday through Friday at noon.