The Toledo softball team (29-26) will face No. 14 seed Kentucky (33-22) at 2:30 p.m. Friday, May 17, in Lexington, Ky. in first-round regional action of the 2019 NCAA Softball Championships.
The Rockets are bracketed alongside Virginia Tech (45-9) and Illinois (32-23), and are making their first appearance in the NCAA Tournament since 1992.“We were pretty sure it would be Kentucky, so it didn’t surprise me,” Head Coach Joe Abraham said. “They’re a good SEC team, so it’s obviously going to be very difficult, but we played Florida State close, so anything can happen. All of those teams have good pitchers, so the key for us is good, solid pitching and to make all of the plays. Any game is winnable for us. Yeah, we’re an underdog, but not so much of an underdog that we can’t win games.”
“This is just exciting,” senior second baseman Megan Choate said. “We just won the MAC, and I think the team isn’t really over that. Being in the room tonight, you could just feel the vibe, and it was really exciting. Knowing that I get to play a few more games with this team moved me to tears. I’ve been thinking about it a lot, but now we have at least two more games. It’s just exciting being able to put the uniform on and play with the girls a little bit more.”
The Rockets are coming off the Mid-American Conference Tournament, where they won the first tourney title in program history after going on a five-game tear in the loser’s bracket as the No. 7 seed, taking down No. 4 Northern Illinois, No. 2 Kent State, No. 1 Miami and No. 3 Ohio.
Toledo most recently won the MAC regular-season title in 1992, but this was the first MAC Tournament crown for the program.
The NCAA Regionals are played in a double-elimination format, meaning it takes two losses to be eliminated from the tournament. The winner of the Toledo-Kentucky game will play the winner of the Illinois-Virginia Tech game Saturday, May 18, at noon. The first-round losers will meet at 2:30 p.m. Saturday. The champion will be determined by one or two games Sunday, May 19.
The games will be carried on ESPN3; game times may change for TV.