The Claflin University softball team earned the eighth seed in the South 1 Regional of the 2017 NCAA Division II Softball Championship and will face No. 1 seed and host University of West Florida of the Gulf South Conference in the opening round on Thursday at 2:30 p.m. ET.
The regional rounds of the double-elimination tournament will run Thursday-Saturday, May 11-13.
Joining Claflin and UWF in the South Regional 1 are Mississippi College and Valdosta State, which are the 4 and 5 seeds, respectively. Both Mississippi College and Valdosta also play in the Gulf South Conference.
"Anytime you play someone out of the Gulf South and especially a team that is top 10 in the nation, you will have your work cut out for you," said interim head coach James "Marty" Kinard. "They are a good quality opponent and it's going to take an all-around team effort to defeat them. They are similar to some opponents we've played this year, so we must play solid defense and get timely hits if we are to have a chance to win."
Claflin, who received the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference automatic bid after defeating Miles College in the championship game in last week's tournament, will enter with a 33-18 overall record. UWF comes in with a 40-13 overall record. The Argonauts went 1-1 in their conference tournament last weekend.
"I would like to add that Coach Melissa Paul has done a good job with the West Florida program, turning it around in the last three years to make it a national threat," Kinard said.
Based on the outcome of Thursday's contest, Claflin will face the winner of the No. 4 Mississippi College /No. 5 Valdosta matchup in the winner's bracket on Friday (May 12) at 1:30 p.m. (CST) or the loser of the two in the loser's bracket on Friday (May 12) at 4:30 p.m. (CST).