Montana softball: Grizzlies draw Washington in NCAA tournament
The Montana softball team, which won the Big Sky Conference tournament over the weekend at Ogden, Utah, was placed in the Washington regional as the bracket for the 2017 NCAA Division I Softball Championship was revealed on Sunday night.
Joining Montana and Washington, which is the tournament’s No. 6 overall seed, for games in Seattle on Friday, Saturday and Sunday will be Michigan and Fresno State. Games will be played at Husky Softball Stadium.
The Grizzlies (35-22) and Huskies (43-11), who played an exhibition game in Missoula last fall, which Washington won 8-7, will square off at 9:30 p.m. (MT) on Friday in a game that can be seen on ESPN3.
Michigan (41-11-1) and Fresno State (34-21) will play at 7 p.m. (MT) on Friday.
Saturday’s games will be played at 3, 5:30 and 8 p.m. (MT). Day two’s opener will feature the two winners from Friday’s games. The middle game will be the two losing teams from Friday. The late game will be losing team from the day’s opening game, plus the winner from the second game.
The region championship game will be played at 5 p.m. (MT) on Sunday, with a second game at 7:30 p.m. (MT) if necessary.
Washington was one of eight teams from the Pac-12 to make the field. Five of those teams are among the top 16 seeds and will be hosting four-team regionals: No. 2 Arizona, No. 3 Oregon, No. 5 UCLA, No. 6 Washington and No. 11 Utah.
Arizona State, California and Oregon State also made the 64-team field out of the Pac-12.
Under 12th-year coach Heather Tarr, who led the Huskies to a national championship in 2009, Washington went 43-11 during the regular season and tied for third in the Pac-12 with UCLA with a 16-8 league record.
The Huskies enter the tournament having won 13 of their last 14 games, with a three-game road sweep at Utah last weekend.
Michigan, the 2005 national champion, went 41-11-1 during the regular season and had a 20-3 record in the Big 10 to finish second to Minnesota.
Fresno State received an at-large bid out of the Mountain West Conference. The Bulldogs went 34-21 and tied for third with Utah State at 14-9 in league. Both teams finished behind San Jose State and San Diego State.
In its third season of existence, Montana has gone 35-22 this spring and won the Big Sky tournament last weekend with wins over Idaho State, Weber State and Weber State again.
The Grizzlies have gone 25-7 over their last 32 games.
This is the third NCAA tournament as a head coach for Jamie Pinkerton, who took Arkansas to the NCAAs in 2008 and ’09.