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Buckeyes welcome No. 11-seed California, Bucknell and Kentucky

COLUMBUS, Ohio – After recording history in 2009 with its first NCAA Super Regional appearance, the Ohio State softball team returned in 2010 with one goal: to make it to Oklahoma City. The 19th-ranked Buckeyes have surpassed one hurdle, earning an at-large bid to the national tournament and will host one of 16 NCAA regional tournaments Friday-Sunday in Columbus.

Ohio State has compiled a 37-12 overall record will welcome No. 11-seed California, Bucknell and Kentucky to Buckeye Field, the NCAA announced Sunday along with the rest of the 64-team field.

The Buckeyes will open the double-elimination regional vs. the Wildcats at 7:30 p.m. Friday while Bucknell will play California at 5 p.m. In 2009, the Scarlet and Gray defeated UK, 7-2, in the Columbus Regional May 16, earning a trip to the NCAA Super Regional. Tickets for the NCAA regional will costs $10 for adults and $5 for students.

“The kids were definitely excited to see us hosting again that is for sure,” Linda Kalafatis, Ohio State head coach, said. “I would first like to congratulate California, Kentucky and Bucknell and hope they have a great experience in Columbus this upcoming weekend. We have to do some homework on all three teams. I have been on a rankings committee this season so I have seen a lot of what Cal and Kentucky have done this season so I know they will be very competitive.

“I’m happy we are starting play on a Friday this time around so hopefully we can anticipate a great Buckeye crowd. This is a special opportunity for softball fans in Ohio to see some great games.”

Looking at the competition, Kentucky owns a 31-25 record is one of seven SEC teams to make the NCAA tournament . The 11th-seeded Golden Bears finished the regular season with a 41-17 overall record and 10-11 ledger the Pac-10 Conference, who also had seven teams selected into the tournament. Earning an automatic bid, Bucknell won its first Patriot League title since 1997 this season. The Bison enter postseason action with a 28-18-1 record.

The winner of the Columbus Regional will face the winner of the Athens Regional May 28-29 which consists of host and No. 6-seed Georgia, Florida State, Radford and Elon.

This is the fourth appearance in the NCAA Tournament for the Buckeyes in the last five years and their seventh overall. They are 10-13 all-time in postseason play with trips to the regional made in 1990, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2009. Last season, Ohio State made its first NCAA Super Regional appearance, dropping two tight contests to Georgia in Athens, Ga.

This year, Ohio State has played 16 games against 12 of the 64 teams selected for the 2010 NCAA tournament during the regular season, including three games vs. the No. 1-seeded Alabama Crimson Tide.

Stay tuned to OhioStateBuckeyes.com for more information on the NCAA Regional at Buckeye Field beginning Friday with games at 5 and 7:30 p.m.

COLUMBUS REGIONAL SCHEDULE
Friday (times subject to change):
Game 1: Bucknell (away) vs. No. 11 California (home) – 5 p.m.
Game 2: Kentucky (away) vs. Ohio State (home) – 7:30 p.m.

Saturday (times subject to change):
Game 3: Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner – 2:30 p.m.
Game 4: Game 1 loser vs. Game 2 loser – 5 p.m.
Game 5: Game 4 winner vs. Game 3 loser – 7:30 p.m.

Sunday (times subject to change):
Game 6: Game 3 winner vs. Game 5 winner – 2:30 p.m.
Game 7, if needed: Game 6 winner vs. Game 6 loser – 5 p.m.

BUCKEYES IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT
– 2009, Columbus Regional: beat Canisius 3-0, beat Brigham Young 5-4 (8 inn.), beat Kentucky 7-2; NCAA Super Regional in Athens, Ga.: lost to Georgia 6-4, lost to Georgia 7-6.
– 2007, Columbus Regional: beat Cal State Fullerton 2-1, beat Virginia Tech 2-1, lost to Cal State Fullerton 6-5, lost to Cal State Fullerton 10-3
– 2006, Tucson (Ariz.) Regional: beat Auburn 1-0 (10 inn.), lost to Arizona 6-3, lost to Auburn 4-0.
– 2004, Tallahassee (Fla.) Regional: lost to South Florida 2-0, beat Bethune-Cookman 2-0, lost to Cal State Northridge 4-2.
– 2002, Ann Arbor (Mich.) Regional: beat Central Michigan 7-0, lost to Michigan 3-0, beat Washington 2-1, lost to Michigan 4-0.
– 1990, Midwest Regional, Columbus, Ohio: lost to Kent State 4-0, beat Oregon 2-0, lost to Kent State 5-3.