In some ways, Albany beating No. 1 overall seed Oregon in the NCAA softball tournament would be even more shocking than what the University of Maryland-Baltimore County did in March.

The Retrievers were the first 16 seed to knock off a No. 1 in the men’s basketball tournament. But UMBC busted everyone’s brackets on a neutral court in Charlotte, N.C., not in Charlottesville, Va., where the Cavaliers were 16-1.

The Great Danes (32-14) would likely have to beat Oregon twice at Jane Sanders Stadium to win the NCAA Eugene Regional.

“This is an amazing opportunity to travel out to the west coast and play the best team in the country,” Albany coach Chris Cannata said after the bracket was released Sunday night. “We have to switch gears very quickly. I wish we had a little bit more time to celebrate our America East title, but now it's time to prepare for Oregon.”

The Pac-12 champion Ducks (47-7) are 14-5 against teams seeded among the top 16 in the field and enter the postseason on a 13-game winning streak.

Despite the program’s 24-0 record in the regional round under coach Mike White, and a 19-1 record at home this season, Oregon isn’t taking anything for granted.

“There’s still 64 teams, 63 that are in our way,” shortstop DJ Sanders said. “So we just have to take it game-by-game and beat the next team that is in front of us.”

Albany has already survived and advanced this postseason, beating UMass Lowell twice Sunday to win the American EastTournament and earn an automatic berth into the NCAA field. Junior Sarah Petzold hit a three-run home run during a 4-3 comeback win in the first game and added a three-run double in the 4-1 victory to clinch the title.

The Great Danes made the 3,000-mile trip from New York to Oregon on Tuesday and practiced at Jane Sanders on Wednesday.

“My grandfather told me this, he said, ‘You always want to bet on a racehorse that travels the most because they’re not coming just to lose,’” White said. “I’m sure they’re not coming out here to lose, they’re coming out to give their best effort, and we’ve got to be ready to play.”

Drake and BYU match up in the first game of the double-elimination regional at 3 p.m. Thursday before the Ducks face Albany at approximately 5:30 p.m.

The winners will play at 3 p.m. Friday with the losers to play an elimination game at 5:30 p.m.

Drake is 43-10 and won the Missouri Valley Conference. BYU, which played in the 2015 regional at Howe Field, is 35-20 and won the West Coast Conference.

“We’ve found plenty of stuff on Drake and BYU, but Albany is difficult to find some tape on,” White said. “So it could be a bit of an unknown. We just have to go off our gut feeling, first approaches, these kind of things, and see what we can do. Hopefully we can come out and get some runs, give ourselves a little bit of a cushion, some breathing room.”

Oregon is led by Pac-12 pitcher of the year Megan Kleist (20-5, 0.96 ERA) and first-team all-Pac-12 pitcher Miranda Elish (20-1, 1.01 ERA).

At the plate, the Ducks, who are seventh nationally in hitting (.322), are looking forward to facing some pitchers who don’t have the book on them like their conference rivals do.

“All the film that’s out there, people know your weaknesses in and out,” centerfielder Shannon Rhodes said. “So it’s kind of cool to play someone from the very, very corner of the United States that doesn’t really know exactly what you’re bad at. So it’s cool to have a fresh slate.”

 

NCAA EUGENE REGIONAL

At Jane Sanders Stadium

Thursday

Game 1 — 3 p.m. Drake vs. BYU

Game 2 — 5:30 p.m. No. 1 Oregon vs. Albany

Friday

Game 3 — 3 p.m. Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner

Game 4 — 5:30 p.m. Game 1 loser vs. Game 2 loser

Game 5 — 8 p.m. Game 3 loser vs. Game 4 winner

Saturday

Game 6 — 4 p.m. Game 3 winner vs. Game 5 winner

Game 7 — 6:30 p.m. Repeat Game 6, if necessary