It took until the final day of the regular season, but the site and field for next weekend's America East Softball Championship are set after Boston University claimed the tournament's top seed for the second straight season and UMBC earned the final spot in the field Sunday. The two-time defending champion Terriers will host the tournament, which will take place Thursday, May 12 through Saturday May 14 at BU Softball Field.
The Terriers and Retrievers, who reached the tournament by virtue of Maine's loss to Hartford, are joined in the field by University at Albany, which earned a share of the league's regular-season title along with Boston U., and Binghamton University, which is making its first-ever championship appearance.
Boston U. (32-16 overall, 14-4 America East) took two of three games at Binghamton this weekend to earn its second straight regular-season title. The Terriers, who earned the No. 1 seed by virtue of its series sweep of Albany last weekend, beat the Bearcats 7-4 decisive in today's decisive third game. Boston U. will try to become the first host school to win the tournament since 2004.
Albany (25-21, 14-4), the No. 2 seed, swept Stony Brook this weekend and captured a share of the regular-season title, its fourth since 2004. The Great Danes, who won three straight league crowns from 2005-2007, have won 20 of their last 26 games since starting the season 5-15.
Binghamton (22-21, 10-7), the No. 3 seed, will be making its first-ever tournament appearance in its 10th season in America East. The Bearcats' 10 league wins are their second-most in program history.
UMBC (25-23, 8-10) returns to the tournament after missing it for the first time since 2005 last year. The Retrievers completed their conference schedule last week but made the field as a result of Hartford taking two of three games from Maine this weekend.
On Thursday, Boston U. will face UMBC and Albany will play Binghamton. Following Thursday's doubleheader, three games will be played Friday, while the championship game (games if necessary) will take place Saturday. Game times will be announced on Monday. Stay tuned to Championship Central for complete updates throughout the tournament.
2011 America East Softball Championship
At Boston University
Thursday, May 12
Game 1: No. 1 Boston U. vs. No. 4 UMBC, 1 p.m.
Game 2: No. 2 Albany vs. No. 3 Binghamton, 3:30 p.m.
Friday, May 13
Game 3: Game 1 Winner vs. Game 2 Winner, 11 a.m.
Game 4: Game 1 Loser vs. Game 2 Loser, 1:30 p.m. (elimination game)
Game 5: Game 3 Loser vs. Game 4 Winner, 4 p.m. (elimination game)
Saturday, May 14
Game 6: Game 3 Winner vs. Game 5 Winner, 12 p.m. (championship game)
Game 7: Game 6 Winner vs. Game 6 Loser, 2:30 p.m. (if necessary)