NCAA softball: Oregon advances to super regionals

Oregon advanced to the super regionals and five other Pac-12 teams advanced to the regional finals in NCAA regional softball action. Arizona State, Cal, Stanford, UCLA and Washington have a chance to advance to the super regionals tomorrow, while Arizona and Oregon State were eliminated from the postseason.

Oregon is the first team in the country to clinch a spot in the super regionals, doing so after knocking off Wisconsin 3-0 in the Eugene Regional championship. Samantha Pappas' solo blast in the second gave the Ducks the lead for good, but this one would stay tight the whole way. Wisconsin kept the pressure on, but solid infield defense prevented the Badgers from really threatening in this one. The Quacks more or less put the game out of reach when this happened:

  Southpaw Cheridan Hawkins (who did this earlier in 2013) and senior Jessica Moore threw seven combined innings of shutout softball in the circle, putting Oregon in the super regionals for the fourth consecutive season.

Washington improved to 2-0 in the Seattle Regional after dispatching Hawai'i 2-0. Another close affair for the Dawgs, who were held scoreless until the bottom of the sixth. In that frame, center fielder Kylee Lahners doubled in a run and shortstop Jennie McNeill singled in another, giving the Huskies all they'd need in this one. Kaitlin Inglesby, who drove in both of Washington's runs yesterday, stepped in the circle Saturday to fan nine Wahine. The pitcher also gave up just two hits and a walk in the process of her complete-game shutout. These teams haven't seen the last of each other though, as they will meet again tomorrow with the regional championship on the line.

This has been some regional thus far for one Dallas Escobedo. A day after throwing the first no-no in Sun Devil postseason history, Escobedo one-hit the Lady Bulldogs as Arizona State blanked Georgia 2-0 to advance to the Tempe Regional championship. Though it wasn't a no-no, Escobedo was arguably more dominant today, walking just one Lady Bulldog and striking out 11 of 'em in seven innings of work. Cheyenne Coyle helped draw first blood for the Forks with her RBI double in the third, and Pac-12 POTY Amber Freeman provided some insurance with a solo round-tripper in the sixth for her 18th dinger of the season. The defense was pretty good for the Forks as well-- check out this snag made by outfielder Bailey Wigness:  

  Arizona State will face either San Diego State or Georgia again for the regional championship and a spot in the super regionals, which the Sun Devils would host if they win.

Think UCLA got a bit pep talk from Kelly Inouye-Perez after Friday's 6-3 loss to UAB? Whatever she may or may not have said certainly worked, because the Bru Cru outscored the competition 27-2 today over the course of two games. As such, the Bruins will get a shot at redemption against UAB in the Louisville Regional championship. How did they get there? Well, things started off with an 8-0 romp of IPFW. It was close for most of the game until the Bruins exploded for six runs in the top of the seventh. Surely 15th-seeded and host Louisville would provide more resistance...

  Nine runs in the second and six more in the third is where the 11-time NCAA champion Bruins did their the vast majority of their damage in that game, and 19-2 would be the final tally over the Cardinals to advance to the regional finals. First game between the Blazers and UCLA is at 10 a.m. PT tomorrow. If the Bruins win, the decider will be at 12:30 p.m. PT, provided the first one ends on time.

The Golden Bears were forced into a Saturday doubleheader after losing 5-0 to eight-seeded Michigan in the morning. Cal actually outhit the Wolverines 5-4 but gave up three unearned runs in the second on two errors and a passed ball. Diane Ninemire's bunch would have to wait until the late afternoon to take the field again, facing off with Valparaiso for a spot in the regional championship. I'll let this tweet take it away from here:

  So let's recap, in case that wasn't clear: Jolene Henderson threw a no hitter, and Cal has advanced to the Ann Arbor Regional Championship for a rematch with the Wolverines tomorrow. The Golden Bears must win two in a row against Michigan to move on to the super regionals. Khala Taylor went 3-5 with an RBI and Victoria Jones knocked in two to pace Cal offensively against the Crusaders.

It took one more game than the Cardinal hoped, but Stanford is off to the Lincoln Regional championship after a 1-1 day in Nebraska. It started with a 7-1 loss to the host Huskers, who got home runs from pitcher Tatum Edwards and first baseman Mattie Fowler. Leah White cut it to 2-1 with an RBI single in the top of the fifth, but the Huskers answered back with five in the bottom of the sixth to put it away. That left the Cardinal in an elimination game against Northern Iowa a few hours later. Luckily, Teagan Gerhart brought her A-game in the circle for the Card in this must-win situation:

  She also gave up just four hits and one earned run, while the offense helped her out via two runs in the third and fourth innings apiece as Stanford beat Northern Iowa 4-1. Kayla Bonstrom drove in two runs against the Panthers to increase her team-leading RBI total to 55 on the season. Stanford is now set with another date against Nebraska tomorrow at 11 a.m. PT with another one to follow if the Card are able to even the score.

The Beavers made it more than interesting in the Columbia Regional but eventually saw their postseason run come to an end Saturday evening. Like the Golden Bears, the Beavers won their opening game of the day, blanking Stony Brook 6-0 and eliminating the Seawolves in the process thanks to complete-game two-hit shutout by pitcher Marina Demore and three-RBI effort by shortstop Elizabeth Santana. That set the table for a rematch with Hofstra, which beat the Beavs 2-0 on Friday. Going up against the esteemed Olivia Galati for the second time in two days, Oregon State figured her out a little better today and touched her up for ten hits and four runs. Seven innings wasn't enough to decide this game. Eight innings wasn't enough either; nor were nine. Finally, separation was created in the tenth when the Pride hit three jacks, including one by the pitcher Galati and a three-run bomb by Tessa Ziemba as part of a five-run tenth that sealed the Beavers' fate. Laura Berg's club didn't quit in the bottom half of the inning and scored on a Santana two-out triple, but the five-spot proved to be too much, and Oregon State ended its season with an 8-4 loss at the hands of the Pride. Oregon State wraps up its 2013 campaign with a 34-24 record.

It looked like it was all over for the 'Cats in their opening Saturday game against Penn, but down 2-1 with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, left fielder Hallie Wilson singled up the middle to drive in Mandie Perez to send it to extras. Arizona would walk off an inning later thanks to a Kelsey Rodriguez sacrifice fly, and the Wildcats beat the Quakers 3-2 in eight innings. That set up a rematch with Baylor, which if you remember beat Arizona 7-0 Friday. Saturday's Part II was closer but not close enough as the Lady Bears beat Arizona 8-4, thus ending the Wildcats' season. Head coach Mike Candrea's team actually took an early 2-0 lead against the Lady Bears and tied it back up at 4 in the bottom of the third after an RBI double by Brigette Del Ponte also led to a throwing error that brought in Rodriguez, but the Lady Bears went ahead for good with two in the fourth and put the game out of reach with runs in the top of the sixth and seventh. Arizona wraps up 2013 with a 33-26 record and is already looking forward to next year: