May 11, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – After finishing with 17 wins in its last 20 games, reaching the tournament final of the program’s inaugural Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Championship, the University of Notre Dame softball team has earned an at-large bid to the 2014 NCAA Championship.
The No. 20 Irish (39-11) were one of four teams selected to play in the Los Angeles Regional, and will face Long Beach State Friday at 6 p.m. (ET) on ESPN3. Also in the region are host UCLA and Southern Utah.
Notre Dame has now qualified for the NCAA Championship 19 times in 26 seasons, including each of the past 16 national tournaments. Head coach Deanna Gumpf has directed the Irish to NCAA Regional appearances in each of her 13 seasons at the helm of the program.
The Los Angeles Regional will be the eighth different site that Notre Dame has traveled to for NCAA Championship play, along with Bloomington (1994), Ann Arbor (1995, 1996, 1999, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011), Iowa City (2001, 2002), Notre Dame (2005), Evanston (2006, 2007), Tucson (2012) and Lexington (2013).
Long Beach State (38-17) claimed the Big West Championship on Saturday with a 10-9 win in nine innings over UC Santa Barbara. Notre Dame is 4-3 all-time against the 49ers, and the two teams will meet for the first time in NCAA Championship play on Friday.
National No. 3 seed UCLA (48-6) took two of three games at Pac 12 rival Arizona State over the weekend. The Bruins open play in the 2014 Los Angeles Regional against Southern Utah (23-29) on Friday at 9 p.m. (ET).
Notre Dame posted a 16-5 record in its first season as an ACC member, placing second to eventual tournament champion Florida State for the conference regular-season championship. The Irish closed the regular season ranked among the top five teams nationally in batting average, doubles, doubles per game and runs scored per game.