May 14, 2000
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – For the second straight year, the 17th-ranked Notre Dame softball team will be headed to Ann Arbor, Mich., May 18-21, as the third seed in one of eight, six-team regionals in the 2000 NCAA Women’s Softball Championships. The Irish (46-12) will face the number four seed Illinois-Chicago (UIC) Flames (52-23) Thursday in the first game of the double elimination regional at 12:30 p.m. (EDT).
Notre Dame is making its fifth NCAA appearance overall and its second consecutive after earning the automatic bid to the 48-team tournament by defeating Connecticut, 7-0, in the BIG EAST Tournament championship last weekend. Joining Notre Dame and Illinois-Chicago are top seed Stanford (45-16), second seed Michigan (42-15), fifth seed DePaul (35-20) and sixth seed Central Michigan (28-11).
The Irish and the Flames will face each other for the third time this season and the fourth time in NCAA tournament action. Notre Dame won both previous meetings this season on April 26 at home (4-0, 7-1) and are 2-1 against UIC in NCAA games. The two schools last faced each other at the NCAAs in 1995, when the Irish beat the Flames twice, 5-2 and 8-5, before falling to Michigan in the regional final.
The Irish also have played two of the other four teams in the regional this year. Back on April 13, the Irish split a non-conference doubleheader with DePaul, while they lost in a single game to Michigan (1-5) at Purdue on March 25. Notre Dame has an all-time record of 3-1 against Central Michigan, but it has never played Stanford, which finished fourth in the Pac-10 this season.
This is the fourth time in five tries that Notre Dame has traveled to Ann Arbor, Mich. for NCAA tournament action. A year ago, the fifth-seeded Irish fell to Nebraska in the opener, but then went onto upset top seed and fifth-ranked Michigan. The Cornhuskers then beat Notre Dame in a 4-3 eight-inning nail-biter to eliminate the Irish. Notre Dame made its first NCAA Tournament appearance in 1994 at the University of Indiana, the only time the Irish have not traveled to Michigan.
2000 NCAA Softball Regional – Region 8
At the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, Mich.)
All Times Are Eastern Daylight.
Game One – #1 Stanford vs. #6 Central Michigan (10 a.m.)
Game Three – #3 Notre Dame vs. #4 Illinois-Chicago (12:30 p.m.)
Game Two – #2 Michigan vs. #5 DePaul (3 p.m.)
Game Four – Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2
Game Five – Winner Game 1 vs. Loser Game 3
Game Six – Winner Game 2 vs. Winner Game 3
May 20-21 – TBA