Michigan softball picks up No. 2 overall seed and will host a regional
Even though her team was automatically in the NCAA tournament and ended up with the No. 2 overall seed, Michigan softball coach Carol Hutchins was nervous.
This is typical for the longtime Wolverines coach on the day the women’s NCAA softball bracket is released.
She sat in back of Michigan’s team room late Sunday evening, her team in front of her watching the selection show on ESPNU. Throughout the majority of the telecast Hutchins rarely left her chair and exited the room once - to chat with ESPN after Michigan’s bracket was released.
This weekend Michigan (46-6) will host a double-elimination regional for the ninth straight year as Notre Dame (45-10), Illinois State (32-18) and Wright State (30-28-1) visit. The Wolverines will face Wright State in their first game at 7 p.m. Friday.
“Every year you’re just nervy about it,” Hutchins said. “You know what, there’s nobody where you’re like ‘Oh, I hope we get them. You’re just nervy. It’s exciting. It’s what makes it.
“It’s why I coach because it makes you feel alive. It’s exciting, that’s what it is. It’s exciting.”
Michigan took the selection show seriously. The lights were off in the room as the team watched the hour-long show and it was mostly silent, with the exception of a few jokes by Hutchins once the show started.
The biggest cheer came not when Michigan’s name was announced, but when Hutchins walked back in the room from her television interview. A small cheer had gone up earlier when ESPNU showed Michigan pitchers Jordan Taylor and Nikki Nemitz. Save for the ping of an occasional text message coming into a cell phone, the room was quiet the entire hour.
Part of that, though, could have come from returning for Iowa early Sunday morning.
Now, Michigan won’t have to go on the road - at least this week - and will stay home. The Wolverines haven’t lost at Alumni Field since May 25, 2008, when Virginia Tech beat Michigan in an NCAA Super Regional.
“Bottom line is, being at home, our crowd, against Kentucky they helped us win, being in your own environment,” Hutchins said. “Being on this field, you know what, and being off the road. We’ve been on the road, spent 30 nights already in a hotel this year, well over.
“So to be at home, I just want them to sleep in their own bed. We play well on our field so I’m thrilled about it.”