Gamecock softball excited to host NCAA regional
The South Carolina softball team is hosting an NCAA regional for the first time in 11 years.
The Gamecocks, the 9-seed in this year's NCAA tournament, will host UNCG (who they play at 7:30 pm on Friday night), Liberty, and Hofstra. The Gamecocks are coming off their most successful regular season under head coach Bev Smith where the team won 45 games and were the runners up in the SEC tournament.
"It was really a devastating loss," Smith said about losing to Florida in the SEC tournament championship. "Florida had a big hit and that was the difference in the ball game. Those sting and I think we'll grow from it."
The Gamecocks just missed out on being a top-8 seed in this year's tournament. Had they been selected as a top 8 seed, the team would've had the opportunity to host through the Super Regional round.
Being the 9 seed, South Carolina needs a top-8 seed to lose early in order to host through that part of the tournament.
"I personally felt like we had to beat Florida to be a top 8," Smith said, regarding the Gamecocks' seeding. "I think our seed is certainly fair."
Smith also made sure to point out that the Gamecocks are not taking UNCG, Liberty, and Hofstra lightly this weekend. Columbia is the only regional where all four teams have at least 40 wins on the season.
"This stadium was built for a regional and I believe that," Smith said. "We wanted it to meet all the TV criteria, all the hosting criteria, and I really think we have one of the finest facilities in the country. I'm excited for our players to be here and be in front of our fans and just have that Gamecock vibe behind us."
South Carolina will open their NCAA tournament on Friday night at 7:30 pm against UNC-Greensboro at Beckham Field.