Softball Set to Face No.1 Oklahoma on National Television to Open NCAA Tournament Play.

Photo: Steve McLaughlin
Photo: Steve McLaughlin

Fresh of its first ever America East championship, the UMBC Softball team will open the NCAA Tournament at No.1 overall seed Oklahoma (49-2) on Friday night at 9:30 p.m. EST on ESPN 2.

The Retrievers (30-22) will then face the winner/loser of the Notre Dame (35-15)/Wisconsin (40-12) matchup on Saturday.

UMBC is making its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2002 after completing an improbable undefeated run through the America East Tournament with a 4-0 victory over No.3 Stony Brook on Saturday afternoon.

The fourth-seeded Retrievers, who didn't clinch a spot in the six-team tournament until the final weeknd of the season, outscored opponents 17-2 over four games to win the title. It is the team's first ever America East championship.

Freshman Courtney Coppersmith (York, Pa.) was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player after pitching her fourth consecutive complete-game victory. Coppersmith, the first player ever to win both America East Rookie and Pitcher of the Year, struck out 10, walked one and allowed just three hits in seven shutout innings in the title game. For the tournament, the lefty went 4-0 while allowing just two runs in 28 innings pitched, a 0.50 ERA, on only eight hits with 33 strikeouts.

Sophomore Julia Keffler was named to the America East All-Championship Team after hitting a blistering 9-for-13 (.692) over the four games. For the Tournament, Keffler had team-bests in hits (9), runs (5), total bases (12), slugging (.923), obp (.733), ops (1.656) and stolen bases (2). She also was the only Retriever with multiple extra base hits (a double and a triple).

Sophomore Sierra Pierce and junior Kaly Winslow both earned spots on the All-Championship team after having robust weeks at the plate. Winslow was second on the team with a .583 average (7-for-12) with a triple and four RBI. Pierce batted .429 (6-for-14) with four runs scored and four RBI.

On Thursday, Coppersmith was also named to the NFCA All-Region Second Team.

Scouting No.1 Oklahoma (49-2, 18-0 Big 12):

The Sooners enter the tournament on an NCAA record 39-game winning streak. They earned the No.1 overall seed after an undefeated regular season in conference. OU is the best hitting team in the nation, with a team average of .365, with only one player in its starting lineup batting under .300. The pitching staff has been sensational as well, limiting opponents to a .149 batting average and a team 1.15 ERA. Giselle Juarez leads the rotation with a perfect 22-0 record, but a team-high (among starters) 1.26 ERA