After a thrilling three-day span of games culminated in Wisconsin winning the 2013 Big Ten softball tournament on Sunday, the Badgers earned their NCAA tourney fate a few hours later. Wisconsin will head west to the Oregion regional, where it will face North Carolina at 5 p.m. CT Thursday.
In winning the Big Ten tournament, the Badgers (42-11) clinched the conference's auto-bid and returned to the NCAA tourney for the first time since 2005, when it hosted and lost two regional games at Goodman Diamond.
The Tar Heels (39-19) advanced to the semifinals of the ACC tournament this past weekend before falling to eventual runner-up Florida State. Wisconsin and North Carolina faced each other earlier this season at the Louisville Classic on March 15. Two homers from senior Whitney Massey and seven innings of two-run, seven-hit ball from junior Cassandra Darrah carried the Badgers to a 4-2 win.
Regional host No. 3 Oregon and BYU join Wisconsin and North Carolina in their regional, and they will play in the second game on Thursday. Each campus site hosts a four-team, double-elimination tournament that will send 16 teams onto the Super Regionals. The best-of-three super regional series will run May 23-26 at eight campus sites, and all games in that round will be televised on the ESPN family of networks. The remaining eight teams will advance to the WCWS, an eight-team, double-elimination tournament with a best-of-three series in the championship. The WCWS will run May 30-June 5 at the ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City.