MIAMI - The FIU softball team earned its second NCAA Tournament bid in school history on Sunday evening as the NCAA Division I Softball Committee announced the 64-team field for the 2010 NCAA Division I Softball Championship.
FIU (36-19) will face UCF (35-21) in the Gainesville Regional, hosted by No. 4 seed Florida (43-8) on May 21-23, as the Golden Panthers are set to face the Knights at 3:30 p.m. on Friday at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium. The fourth and final team in the double-elimination regional is Bethune-Cookman (32-22) with the Gators and the Wildcats set to square off on Friday at 6 p.m.
This year's bid to the NCAA Tournament marks the second in FIU softball history with the Golden Panthers also receiving an at-large bid in 2003. FIU is 0-2 in NCAA Tournament play, having fallen to Mississippi State, 4-2, and Creighton, 1-3 in the Nebraska Regional in 2003.
With the exception of UCF, the Golden Panthers have faced the remaining two teams in the Gainesville Regional and own a perfect record of 3-0 against those teams. FIU defeated nationally ranked Florida, 8-3, on April 20 and had previously defeated Bethune-Cookman on two occasions at the Blue & Gold Felsberg Memorial Tournament in February. FIU is 2-2 all-time versus UCF, while the Golden Panthers are 10-3 versus Bethune-Cookman and 3-6 versus Florida.
Alabama (48-9) serves as the No. 1 seed for the 2010 NCAA Softball Championship, as 30 conferences were awarded automatic qualification and the remaining 34 slots were filled with at-large selections to complete the bracket. The top 16 teams were seeded nationally.
The winner of the Gainesville Regional will play the winner of the Amherst, Mass., Regional, which includes No. 13 Arizona, Boston University, Long Island and host Massachusetts. The highest seed will host the Super Regional.
Ticket packages for the Gainesville Regional can be purchased in advance or at the gate for $25 for adults and $10 for students, senior citizens or children for all sessions (each day is one session). Single game tickets cost $10 for an adult ticket and $5 for students, senior citizens or children. Call the Gator Ticket Office at 352-375-GoUF for more information.