NCAA softball: Oregon, UCLA and Arizona advance to super regionals
Three Pac-12 teams joined Washington by advancing to the NCAA softball super regionals on Sunday, but one conference team's season came to an end. UCLA and Oregon cruised in their regional championship games, Arizona needed two games to get past LSU and the Arizona State Sun Devils fell to Michigan.
No. 11 seed Arizona vs. LSU
A stumped Arizona offense dropped the first championship game against the LSU Tigers and pitcher Baylee Corbello, falling 5-1 in their first game of the day. In the nightcap, though, the 'Cats pulled off a 13-5 must-win victory in the rematch to advance. In the first game, the Wildcats could only muster three hits and saw the Tigers stifle leadoff hitter Hallie Wilson, who hit two home runs on Saturday. Arizona's only run came on wild pitch while the Tigers put eight hits on UA pitcher Estela Pinon.
The Wildcats didn't let the hitting woes bleed into the second game. They jumped on the Tigers 3-0 in the first inning and scored two runs or more in each of the first five innings to win via run rule. Mo Mercado hit a two-run blast in the bottom of the fifth to give Arizona the eight-run lead that ended the game, and she finished with four RBI. Hallie Wilson added three runs and three RBI, while pitcher Shelby Babcock earned the win to send the Wildcats into the super regionals, where they face sixth-seeded Louisiana Lafayette.
WALKOFF TWO-RUN HOME RUN MO MERCADO and the Cats are on to the Super Regionals! 13-5 (5 innings) final. It's Arizona's 25th Regional Title.
— Arizona Softball (@UA_Softball) May 19, 2014
[Highlights: Arizona escapes LSU, advances to super regionals]
No. 9 seed Arizona State vs. Michigan
Arizona State matched the Wolverines 2-2 in the opening frame of the first game of Sunday but couldn't overcome a two-run Michigan fourth inning to fall, 4-3, forcing a final knock-out game. Cheyenne Coyle knocked in two runs in the first game and Chelsea Gonzales tacked on another score to continue her strong series.
ASU pitcher Dallas Escobedo, who started both Sunday games, went into the seventh inning of the second outing with a 4-3 lead but back-to-back solo home runs gave the Wolverines a 5-4 advantage the Sun Devils couldn't overcome in the bottom of the seventh. Haley Steele led ASU with two runs and two hits in the loss.
No. 3 seed UCLA vs. Notre Dame
The UCLA Bruins struggled to churn out runs for the first time all weekend in their regional championship against Notre Dame, but they once again turned to steadfast pitching in a 1-0 victory. Pitchers Ally Carda and Paige McDuffee allowed four hits and struck out five as UCLA finished the regional round outscoring opponents a combined total of 16-0. After Jessica Amaral entered the game as a pinch runner following a walk to Mysha Sataraka in the fourth inning, a sacrifice out advanced Amaral to second before she was pushed across the plate to give the Bruins the only score they needed. The victory pits UCLA against No. 14 seed Kentucky in the super regionals.
— Pac-12 Networks (@Pac12Networks) May 18, 2014
[Related: 2014 NCAA softball bracket (NCAA.com)]
No. 1 seed Oregon vs. Wisconsin
A day after beating the Badgers 6-1, the Oregon Ducks again dropped Wisconsin in a 6-0 shutout to earn a super regional date with No. 16 seed Minnesota. Janie Takeda hit a two-run shot in the first inning to get the Ducks off to a hot start, and Courtney Ceo added a solo homer in the second inning to give Oregon a 3-0 lead. Ceo finished with three hits and three runs, while Koral Costa tallied two RBI on the day. The Ducks were led by pitcher Karissa Hovinga, who went 5 1/3 innings to strike out eight before Cheridan Hawkins closed out the victory.
— Oregon Duck Softball (@OregonSB) May 18, 2014