Release  Horizon League · @ ·

INDIANAPOLIS -- Regular-season champion University of Illinois at Chicago has earned the number-one seed for the 2009 Horizon League Softball Championship, which will be hosted by Butler University beginning Thursday at Legends Field in Pendleton, Ind.

The Flames (24-24, 16-4 Horizon League) will be aiming for their first League title since 2004, when they claimed their sixth in a seven-year span. Cleveland State University (31-15, 17-5) is the number-two seed, while two-time defending champion Wright State University (32-19, 16-8) is the number-three seed.

The Raiders won the title last season as the third seed with a 2-0 victory over Cleveland State, which has lost in the final game four of the past six years and last took home the crown in 1997.

The championship will begin Thursday at 9 a.m. Eastern with sixth-seed Valparaiso University (24-22, 9-11) facing seventh-seed University of Wisconsin-Green Bay (18-23, 7-13). Fifth-seed Butler (23-26, 12-11) will play eighth-seed Youngstown State University (8-40, 4-19) at 11 a.m., followed by fourth-seed Loyola University Chicago (26-22, 14-10) against ninth-seed University of Detroit Mercy (7-40, 3-17) at 1 p.m.

UIC then will meet the Valparaiso-Green Bay winner at 4 p.m., with Cleveland State facing the Butler-Youngstown State winner at 6 p.m. The opening-day nightcap will feature Wright State against the Loyola-Detroit winner.

The double-elimination tournament will continue with six games on Friday and four on Saturday, including the championship game at 4 p.m. If the undefeated team loses that game, the two teams will play again Sunday (May 10) at 9 a.m. in a winner-take-all final.

The League champion will earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Softball Championship.

Ticket prices for the Horizon League Championship are as follows:
Adults: All-tournament pass - $20 / Day pass - $8
Senior citizens and students age 12 through high school: All-tournament pass - $15 / Day pass - $5
Children under 12 - Free
Horizon League students - Free (with valid student ID)

Legends Field is located at One Arabian Way in Pendleton.

Tags: All Teams - Softball
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