The next step

For the second time in six years, the Gophers softball team won an NCAA regional, both times as the host team. Only this time, it will remain at home for the super regional (the Gophers lost at Oregon in 2014). The U is one of only two Big Ten teams left in the NCAA tournament (Northwestern is the other).

The opponent: Louisiana State, the 10th seed in the tournament (the Gophers are No. 7). The Tigers (43-17), like Georgia, come from the powerful SEC. They finished in a three-way tie for second place with a conference record of 14-10 and lost to Florida in the SEC tournament quarterfinals. They won their regional in Baton Rouge, going 3-1. The Gophers have played LSU twice in the past six years and won both games on the road: 3-0 in 2017 and 1-0 in 2014.

The format: The Gophers and LSU, two of 16 teams left in the tournament, will play a best-of-three series at Jane Sage Cowles Stadium.

At stake: The winner of the series advances with seven other teams to the College World Series in Oklahoma City (May 30-June 5). The Gophers have never been to OKC. LSU has made six trips, all since 2001.

The schedule: Times are 4 p.m. Friday, 5 p.m. Saturday and, if necessary, 3 p.m. Sunday (ESPN networks for all three).

Tickets: Will go fast. Go to