Summit League champion North Dakota State is scheduled to face Mississippi State at 8 p.m. CT on Friday, May 18, in the first game of the NCAA Tucson Regional at Arizona's Hillenbrand Stadium as the NCAA Division I softball committee announced the 2018 championship field on Sunday night. The Bison played at the 2012 NCAA Tucson Regional.
NDSU (33-17) and Mississippi State (36-21) are scheduled to play on ESPN2 and the game will be broadcast on Bison 1660 AM. The second game features host and No. 14-seed Arizona (40-14) and St. Francis, Pa. (39-17) at 10:30 p.m. CT Friday.
North Dakota State is making its ninth trip to the NCAA tournament over the past 10 years. The Bison are 9-16 in eight previous trips and 5-8 over the past four seasons. NDSU won the 2009 NCAA Norman Regional and advanced to the Tempe Super Regional. The nine Bison tournament wins have come against Oklahoma (2009), Tulsa (2 / 2009), Hawai'i (2012), Auburn (2014), Fresno State (2015), BYU (2015), Weber State (2016) and Oklahoma (2017). NDSU is making its 16th NCAA appearance overall and have a 33-29 record.
The winner of the regional in Tucson will move on to a Super Regional against the winner of the regional being hosted by UCLA. The Super Regional is a best two-of-three format with the winner advancing to the eight-team Women's College World Series, scheduled for May 31-June 6 in Oklahoma City, Okla.
North Dakota State has played eight teams this season in the 2018 NCAA tournament field and have compiled a 7-10 record – No. 8-seed Arizona State (0-2), Baylor (0-2), Boise State (0-1), BYU (2-1), Cal State Fullerton (2-0), No. 16 Kentucky (0-1), No. 11 LSU (1-0), Minnesota (0-3), and Monmouth (2-0) . From March 16-31 this season, NDSU played nine straight games against tournament teams.