PROVIDENCE, R.I. - The eight-team field is set for the 2013 BIG EAST Softball Championship after a wild weekend that featured six conference games Sunday with playoff implications. Notre Dame, USF, Louisville, DePaul, Georgetown, Syracuse, Providence and Seton Hall will be playing for the championship crown beginning Thursday. This season's tournament takes place May 9-11 in Tampa, Fla. on the campus of USF.
The winners of the semifinal games will meet in the championship Saturday, May 11 at 4 p.m. ET. The game will be televised live on ESPN2.
The Fighting Irish claim the No. 1 spot with their 14th Regular Season title. Notre Dame is 41-12 overall and 19-3 in the BIG EAST. They will face the No. 8 seed Seton Hall (21-29, 8-13 BIG EAST) May 9 at 12:30 p.m. The Irish swept the Pirates March 23-24 and outscored them 30-5.
USF, ranked No. 25/23 in the April 30 ESPN.com/USA Softball and USA Today/NFCA Coaches polls, grabbed the No. 2 seed with an 18-3 conference record. The Bulls are 40-14 overall and will play No. 7 seed Providence (23-27-1, 9-13 BIG EAST). USF is hosting the postseason tournament for the first time since joining the league in 2006.
Louisville fell short of its second consecutive No. 1 seed. The Cardinals lost two-of-three games against Notre Dame in the regular-season series finale and hold the No. 3 spot. They are 45-10 overall and 18-4 in league play and will face No. 6 Syracuse (23-28, 10-12 BIG EAST) at 4 p.m. May 9. Louisville ranks No. 9/9 in the polls.
Sitting in the fourth-seed is DePaul (31-20, 16-6 BIG EAST). The Blue Demons will play No. 5 seed Georgetown in Game 1 at 10 a.m. Thursday's game will mark the first time these teams met all season. The Hoyas are 21-31 overall and 10-12 in the conference. They own the tiebreaker over Syracuse to claim the five seed, defeating the Orange twice in a three-game series.
Since joining the BIG EAST in 2006, DePaul and Louisville have earned a BIG EAST Championship berth every year. USF has made it to the postseason conference tournament seven of the eight seasons they have been in the league.
The BIG EAST champion receives the league's automatic bid to the 2013 NCAA Championship.