Ducks to Face Boston in Norman

EUGENE, Ore. – It was bound to happen sooner or later.

Oregon was placed in the Norman Regional hosted by three-time defending NCAA champion Oklahoma for the 2024 NCAA Softball Tournament. The Ducks are the No. 2 seed in Norman will face third-seeded Boston University Friday at 2:30 p.m. Pacific Time (ESPN+). The Sooners will play fourth-seeded Cleveland State in the second game.

Current Duck head coach Melyssa Lombardi spent 21 seasons with the Sooners, first as an assistant coach and later as associate head coach, where she helped guide Oklahoma to four national championships and 15 combined Big 12 regular season and conference tournament titles.

“I think for us, postseason is postseason,” Lombardi said. “Any where we go, whether it’s to Norman or any other regional, it’s postseason and it’s going to be tough.

“So for us, we’re caught up in ourselves. We’re caught up in getting ready to play,” she said. “We’re caught up in our first opponent which is Boston University and I think that’s the biggest thing for us right now.”

This will be the first meeting between the Ducks and Boston. The Terriers went 52-4-1 and won both the Patriot League’s regular season and tournament titles. Boston has an NCAA-best 38-game unbeaten streak.

“I’ve played against them before,” said Lombardi. “They’re coached really, really well. They know how to win. They’ve always pitched well. They’re a very complete team.”

This is the fourth straight NCAA Tournament appearance for the Ducks under Lombardi and the 24th NCAA appearance all-time in program history. Oregon is 28-19 overall and tied for third in the Pac-12 at 13-10. 

“We’re excited to get to the tournament,” said Lombardi. “It never gets old. It’s the best feeling in the world to hear them say ‘Oregon’ … We’ve played tough competition all year. We’re in a great place and we can’t wait to get started.”

Oregon and Oklahoma have met 16 times with the Sooners holding a 10-6 edge. The two teams last played in 2018, a 5-0 Oregon win. The Ducks and Sooners also met in the 2017 Women’s College World Series. Oregon has never faced Cleveland State.

A former all-conference catcher for the Sooners, Lombardi helped coach the Oklahoma battery to a combined 20 All-America honors, 37 All-Region accolades and 77 All-Big 12 honors over her 21 seasons at OU, before taking over at Oregon prior to the 2019 season. Sooner pitchers racked up six Big-12 Pitcher of the Year awards during her tenure, and she mentored OU aces such as Paige Parker, Paige Lowary and Keilani Ricketts.

“We’re looking forward to it,” said Lombardi. “I’m excited to get back to Norman. I’m excited to take our team out there and go compete.”

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