One day after falling in the BIG EAST Conference Softball Championship finale, the Notre Dame softball earned an at-large bid into the 2012 NCAA Championship. The Irish will be one of four teams in the Tucson Regional and are set to play Hawaii on the opening day of the tournament.
The NCAA Championship bid is the 17th straight for the program and 11th in as many seasons under the direction of head coach Deanna Gumpf.
The road to the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City, Okla., begins with a matchup against Hawaii (44-7), a team that has won five of eight matchups against the Irish. Notre Dame has won three straight against Hawaii with the last win coming in 2005.
Host Arizona (35-17) will face North Dakota State (37-20) to round out the four-team bracket. Arizona is the tournament’s 13th-seeded squad and has won eight WCWS titles.
Notre Dame (38-14) fell to Louisville in the BIG EAST Championship title game but has won 17 of its last 18 games heading into the NCAA Tournament.