Top-ranked Oregon softball team hosts regional tournament

Top-ranked Oregon softball team hosts regional tournament
Oregon's Kailee Cuico (#33) tries to lay down a bunt in a 2014 season softball game. (Matthew Leslie, Oregon News Lab)

EUGENE, Ore. - The top-ranked Oregon Duck softball team hosts the regional tournament starting Friday.

The Ducks, seeded No. 1 in the NCAA tournament, are hosting regionals for the third year in a row.

And the team's success this season is fueling interest in watching the Ducks play.

"When we put the tickets on sale on Sunday," said tournament director Lisa Peterson, "right away we had over 100 sold, and that's never happened before."

Temporary bleachers have been added, bringing the stadium's capacity close to 1,600.

"W're hoping for a sellout, so if you don't have your tickets you better get them cause there's only a couple hundred left," Peterson said.

All of the Duck games will air on the Pac-12 networks for those interested in watching but unable to attend in person.

The buzz around campus is that many students will be out to support their softball team.

"People are trying to plan stuff, trying to get tailgates set up,," said Lucas Kuchta. "It's exciting. It will be a good day."

"Our fans are starting to get softball," Peterson said. "They understand when it's a bad call or when it's a great catch, whatever the case is - so it's great."

Coach Mike White said the Ducks have unfinished business on the diamond.

"We felt like we let our fans down a little bit last year, and we're kind of carrying that with us a little bit and we want to come out here and defend our home turf," White said. "As the sign out there says, the road to Oklahoma City starts here, and it starts this Friday."

The Ducks open at 5 p.m. Friday against Utah Valley. If they win, the Ducks play again Saturday at 11.