The Nebraska softball team earned one of 34 at-large invitations into the 2011 NCAA Softball Tournament, the NCAA announced live on ESPNU Sunday night. The Huskers are headed to the Stanford Regional, to face Fresno State in first-round action Friday at 5 p.m. (Central)
Joining Nebraska in Palo Alto, Calif., is host Stanford, the No. 1 seed in the regional and the No. 15 overall seed in the tournament. The Cardinal will face Pacific on Friday in the other first-round game. The postseason berth marks Nebraska's 21st overall NCAA Tournament appearance, the ninth-most appearances in NCAA history.
"It feels good that we're heading into regionals with momentum and we feel that we're strong and healthy going in," Head Coach Rhonda Revelle said. "I feel like we're going into the tournament to make some noise, we're not just happy to be in it.
"It's a regional that is postseason seasoned, but I also feel like it's a regional where we feel like we match up well. We fought tooth and nail with Stanford earlier this year (in a 3-2, nine-inning win) and we've seen both Fresno State and Pacific in the NCAA Tournament before."
Nebraska takes a 39-12 record into the postseason and a four-game win streak after sweeping Iowa State and 20th-ranked Oklahoma State this weekend. Nebraska should be prepared for the strong competition that comes with postseason play, as 10 of the Huskers' last 14 games have come against NCAA Tournament teams and 18 of their last 28 games. Overall, Nebraska has played 24 total games against 14 teams in the 2011 NCAA Tournament, posting a 13-11 record in those contest.
NU is one of eight teams from the Big 12 Conference in the postseason, the highest total in league history. The Huskers are hitting the road for NCAA Tournament play for the third straight season, after Nebraska went 1-2 at the Seattle Regional last season hosted by the University of Washington. Nebraska owns an all-time NCAA Tournament record of 53-43, as the 53 victories rank eighth in NCAA history
Nebraska was also sent to a Stanford-hosted regional in 2001, posting a 2-2 record. The Huskers went 1-1 against Pacific that season and also lost to the Cardinal.
NCAA Palo Alto Regional Schedule (all times Central)
Nebraska vs. Fresno State, 5 p.m. (Game 1)
Stanford vs. Pacific, 8 p.m. (Game 2)
Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2, 2 p.m. (Game 3)
Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2, 5 p.m. (Game 4)
Winner Game 3 vs. Loser Game 4, 8 p.m. (Game 5)
Winner Game 4 vs. Winner Game 5, 3 p.m. (Game 6)
Winner Game 6 vs. Loser Game 6, 5:30 p.m. (If Necessary)