Buckeyes begin sixth NCAA appearance with Canisius at 7:30 p.m. Thursday following Kentucky vs. BYU game

COLUMBUS, Ohio The 11th-ranked Ohio State softball team has been awarded the No. 11 seed in the 2009 NCAA Tournament and will welcome Canisius, BYU and Kentucky to New Buckeye field this week for one of 16 regional tournaments, the NCAA announced Sunday along with the rest of the 64-team field. The Buckeyes (44-9) are the top seed within the double-elimination regional and will face Canisius at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. BYU and Kentucky open the Columbus regional action at 5 p.m.

Canisius (26-23) earned the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament after capturing the MAAC Championship over Niagara Saturday, 9-0, while BYU (39-16) finished its season as Mountain West champions and Kentucky is 32-21 after falling to Alabama in the second round of the SEC Tournament. Canisius paid a visit to Columbus for the 2007 regional, where it fell to Virginia Tech and Cal State Fullerton.

“We were certainly hoping to be a Top 16 seed in the tournament and to be No. 11 is a testament to how this team has played all season,” head coach Linda Kalafatis said. “We are excited to begin play Thursday with Canisius and to take this whole weekend one game at a time as we try to reach a Super Regional. To host for a second time in three years is an honor and we look forward to welcoming these three teams to New Buckeye Field.”

This is the third appearance in the NCAA Tournament for the Buckeyes in the last four years and their sixth overall. They are 7-10 all-time in postseason play with trips to the regional made in 1990, 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2007. Ohio State has a combined 8-3 record against the regional field, including a 1-0 mark vs. Canisius, with who the only previous meeting was in 1999.

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

Thursday (times subject to change):

Game 1: Kentucky (home) vs. BYU (away) – 5 p.m.
Game 2: Canisius at Ohio State – 7:30 p.m.

Friday (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.

Saturday (times subject to change):
Game 6: Game 3 winner vs. Game 5 winner – 1 p.m.
Game 7, if needed: Game 6 winner vs. Game 6 loser – 3:30 p.m.

– 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.