For the first time in 12 seasons, Indiana softball is back in the NCAA Tournament.
The Hoosiers earned an at-large bid and were placed in the Knoxville regional as the No. 2 seed. The regional is headlined by No. 4 overall seed University of Tennessee. It also includes No. 3 seed University of Louisville and No. 4 seed Northern Kentucky University.
Indiana stands at 42-16 overall and finished second in the Big Ten with an 18-15 record in conference play. The Lady Volunteers went 44-8, winning the SEC regular season and tournament championships in the same season for the first time in program history.
Tennessee also hosted a regional last year but failed to advance to the super regionals. The Lady Vols have made it to the Women’s College World Series seven times, but have never won the National Championship.
Northern Kentucky is making its first-ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament after winning the Horizon League Championship. 24-31 overall, the Norse were the No. 3 seed in the double-elimination tournament, knocking off the top-seed Oakland University in the title game.
Louisville also earned an at-large bid after finishing fourth in the Atlantic Coast Conference with a 33-18 overall record. The Cardinals fell to Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in the ACC Tournament quarterfinals Thursday.
Team 50 nearly earned an automatic bid, but lost via walk-off in the Big Ten title game to top-seeded Northwestern 2-1 on Saturday. Indiana’s last appearance in the NCAA Tournament was in 2011. The Hoosiers lost their first two games and were eliminated from the tournament.
Indiana will play Louisville on Friday at 3 p.m. in the double-elimination regional. The schools met earlier this season in Bloomington, with the Hoosiers doubling up the Cardinals 10-5. The regional runs from May 19-21. Tennessee and Northern Kentucky clash Friday.
The winners of each of the first two games in the regional will play Saturday, as will the losers. The last team in the double-elimination regional remaining will advance to the Super Regional. The full 2023 Division I Softball bracket can be found here.