NCAA softball: Oregon advances to super regionals
Oregon advanced to the super regionals and Pac-12 teams went 6-4 Saturday in NCAA softball tournament action. Arizona, Arizona State, UCLA, Utah and Washington all advanced to the regional finals, while Cal has been eliminated from the postseason. Through two days, the Pac-12 is a combined 14-4 in the regional play.
Oregon is the first team in the country to punch its ticket to the super regionals this year after defeating North Dakota State 6-1 in the Eugene regional final. The Ducks will face the winner of the Harrisonburg regional (No. 15 James Madison, Binghamton, Fordham, North Carolina State) for the right to go to the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City.
Super regional play is nothing new to the Ducks and head coach Mike White, who has guided Oregon to a perfect 18-0 mark in regional play in his tenure.
Karissa Hovinga put together a stellar performance starting in the circle, allowing just two hits, two walks and one unearned run in six innings of work while striking out six Bison batters. Ace Cheridan Hawkins came on in relief to retire the final three batters and got some help from catcher Janelle Lindvall, who gunned down pinch runner Katie Shoultz trying to steal second to end the game. Here’s the radio call of the final out from KWVA:
— KWVA Sports (@KWVASports) May 16, 2015
After trailing the Bison 1-0 until the bottom of the fourth in their first matchup this weekend (an eventual 4-3 Oregon win), the Ducks struck early with a couple of runs in the top of the first thanks to a two-out, two-run blast from Hailey Decker to right center. Oregon pushed the lead to 3-0 after an RBI single by Lindvall and scored twice more in the fifth and once in the sixth.
Lindvall went 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI and a run, while left fielder Janie Takeda went 2-for-4 with an RBI and scored twice.
The host Wildcats defeated Minnesota 5-1 in the winners’ bracket Saturday afternoon to advance to the Tucson regional final. Arizona will play Minnesota, St. John’s or New Mexico State Sunday at 4 p.m. for the right to move on to the super regionals.
A 2-1 game entering the bottom of the fifth, Chlesea Goodacre and Mo Mercado each drove in a run in the inning to provide the 12th-seeded Wildcats with some cushion. Kellie Fox singled in another run in the sixth for the final tally.
A Katiyana Mauga home run to left gave the Wildcats a 1-0 in the second, but the Gophers quickly leveled the score thanks to an RBI groundout from second baseman Danielle Parlich. Arizona took the lead for good in the bottom half of the inning when Goodacre walked with the bases loaded.
Mauga went 3-for-3 with the solo shot and a walk. The second-inning blast was her conference-leading 26th rounder-tripper of the season. The sophomore entered the NCAA tournament tied for third in the nation in homers and is the first Wildcat in school history to hit at least 20 dingers in each of her first two seasons.
Cats win! Trish Parks hurls a gem as Arizona defeats Minnesota 5-1. Arizona on to the Regional Final tmrw. 1 win away from Super Regionals.
— Arizona Softball (@UA_Softball) May 16, 2015
Trish Parks was solid in the circle for head coach Mike Candrea, giving up just one run on five hits and two walks while striking out five Gophers.
UCLA hitters smacked three home runs against Texas pitching and the Bruins clinched their spot in the Los Angeles regional final thanks to a 4-1 win over the Longhorns. UCLA will face either Texas, San Diego State or Cal State Northridge in the regional final Sunday at noon.
Catcher Stephany LaRosa hit a two-run blast off Texas starter Erica Wright in the bottom of the first, giving UCLA all the offense it would need to beat the Longhorns. The shot to left center was LaRosa’s 17th home run of the season and second in regional play this weekend.
An RBI single by Texas catcher Erin Shireman cut the lead to 2-1 in the top of the third, but the Bruins immediately responded in the bottom half of the inning via Delaney Spaulding’s homer to lead off the frame. UCLA tacked on an insurance run in the sixth with an opposite-field shot by Maddy Jelenicki for her eighth dinger of the season.
Texas had a chance to break through in the second, but Randel Leahy was thrown out trying to take home on a passed ball, seen below.
BRUINS WIN!!! 4-1 over Texas to advance to Sunday's Regional Championship Game at Noon!!! pic.twitter.com/44fYBKKuuZ
— UCLA Softball (@UCLASoftball) May 16, 2015
Pac-12 Player of the Year Ally Carda was again dominant in the circle, surrendering one run on five hits and three walks with three strikeouts to lower her ERA to 2.21 on the season.
Breanna Macha retired 14 consecutive batters to help Arizona State edge host LSU 1-0 in a pitchers’ duel that was delayed by two lightning breaks. With the win, Arizona State advances to the regional final, where it will face either fifth-seeded LSU, Nebraska or Texas Southern Sunday at 10 a.m. PT.
The Sun Devils had plenty of chances to notch insurance runs but left the bases loaded in the first and fifth innings. No matter though, because Macha did not give up another hit until the bottom of the fifth after conceding a single in the first. During that stretch, Macha struck out four batters.
The Tigers had their chances to score, putting runners at third base in the first and sixth innings, but both threats were quickly thwarted by the freshman All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention pitcher, who got out of a jam with runners on second and third and just one out in the first.
LSU’s Sandra Simmons singled with one out in the seventh, but Macha got Constance Quinn to pop up and Sydney Bourg to strike out looking to end the game.
Macha’s complete game featured six strikeouts, one walk and four Tiger singles.
— Sun Devil Softball (@ASUSoftball) May 16, 2015
Haley Steele’s RBI single in the first was all the scoring Arizona State needed. Sierra Rodriguez and Chelsea Gonzales also recorded hits for Craig Nicholson’s squad.
Jenna Modic’s fifth-inning grand slam lifted Pittsburgh to a 6-3 victory over Cal Saturday evening in the Ann Arbor regional, thus eliminating the Golden Bears from the postseason. The Panthers will face host Michigan in the regional final Sunday, while Cal ends its season at 39-18.
Entering the top of the seventh trailing 6-2, Cal loaded the bases with one out but could only score once on an RBI groundout from Cheyenne Cordes. Danielle Henderson walked to load the bases again, but Kobie Pettis grounded out to third to end the game.
The Golden Bears took a 2-1 lead in the top of the fourth as a result of a Cordes solo home run to lead off the inning and a two-out RBI single from Alleah Laxamana, but the Panthers loaded ‘em up in the fifth thanks to two singles and a walk. With one out and three ducks on the pond, Modic drilled a 1-0 pitch that cleared the right center field wall by eight to ten rows of seats. The Panthers tacked on their final run via Carly Thea’s RBI double.
Pittsburgh took a 1-0 lead on a McKayla Taylor sacrifice fly in the bottom of the first.
Cordes’ solo blast was her 16th of the season, and she finished the season leading the team in homers and RBIs (75). Laxamana went 2-3 with an RBI.
Katie Sutherland-Finch gave up six runs on eight hits and two walks in 5.1 innings of work, while Stephanie Trzcinski recorded the final two outs without allowing a baserunner.
This is Pittsburgh’s first trip to the NCAA softball tournament, earning an at-large bid after finishing as the runner-up at the 2015 ACC Softball Championships.
In its first game of the day, Cal was run-ruled by third-seeded Michigan in a 9-1 six-inning loss. The Golden Bears drew first blood thanks to a lead-off homer from Danielle Henderson in the second inning, but Michigan answered with a run in the bottom half of the inning and went ahead for good in the third off a Sierra Romero solo shot to center. The Wolverines blew the game open with five runs in the fourth, knocking out starter Stephanie Trzcinski in the process. Michigan walked off in the bottom of the sixth thanks to Lauren Sweet’s two-run double.
Huge thank you to all our fans who tuned in this weekend and supported us all season long!
— Cal Softball (@CalSoftball) May 17, 2015
Shelby Pacheco and Mariah Ramirez produced RBI singles and Sammy Cordova and Katie Donovan combined to three-hit the Landers as Utah defeated Longwood 2-0 Saturday night to advance to the Knoxville Regional final. There, the Utes will face Tennessee, which run-ruled the Utes earlier in the day. First pitch in the regional final is slated for 12:30 p.m. PT/1:30 p.m. MT, with a potential back-end of the doubleheader at 3 p.m. PT/4 p.m. PT if Utah defeats the Lady Vols in the first Sunday contest.
Both Utah runs scored with two outs, with Pacheco singling in Anissa Urtez in the second and the pinch-hitting Ramirez knocking in Kristen Stewart for the sixth.
Longwood’s best chance to score came in the bottom of the fourth, when Glenn Walters was thrown out at home to end the inning (very close play at the plate). The Lancers also had a runner on third with two out in the second, but Cordova got Jamie Barbour to pop up to end the threat.
Cordova got the win after holding the Lancers to two hits and two walks in the first four innings. Katie Donovan came on in relief and retired nine of the ten batters she faced, only allowing a duck-snort single with two out in the seventh.
Utah is 1-1 against Tennessee this season, as Pac-12 Coach of the Year Amy Hogue’s squad defeated the Lady Vols 4-3 at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic in February before Saturday’s regional loss. Longwood, which defeated Virginia Tech earlier in the day, leaves the Knoxville Regional with its first NCAA tournament in program history in tow.
No. 8 Tennessee struck for three runs in the fourth and fifth innings to nab a 9-1 victory over Utah in five innings in the Utes' first game of the day. Utah’s Anissa Urtez smacked an RBI double to close the gap to 3-1 in the top of the fourth, but two-run doubles in the fourth and fifth innings from Megan Geer and Meghan Gregg, respectively, broke the game open. The Lady Vols walked off on an RBI double to center from Lexi Overstreet, who also hit a two-run homer in the third.
Washington hit four home runs in a 9-1 five-inning elimination-game victory over USC Upstate to advance to the regional final, capping a 1-1 Saturday in the Tuscaloosa regional. Washington faces Alabama in the regional final and needs to beat the Crimson Tide twice after losing to ‘Bama earlier Saturday.
Washington and Alabama will play the first game of the regional final at 10 a.m. PT Sunday, with a second game to follow at approximately 12:30 p.m. if the Dawgs win the first contest.
The Huskies scored at least one run in every inning against the Spartans Saturday, wasting no time in going ahead after Kylee Lahners homered to lead off the first. The Dawgs tacked on another in the bottom half of the inning thanks to an RBI triple from Casey Stangel and went up 3-0 in the second when Kelli Suguro led off the inning with a round-tripper to center field.
Washington scored two more in the third and once in the fourth to take a 6-0 lead before the Spartans put up their only crooked number as a result of Shellie Robinson’s RBI single in the fifth. However, the Huskies scored thrice in the bottom of the inning, ending the game on a Lahners sacrifice fly that brought home Krystal Aubert from third.
Kasey Stanchek went the shortened distance in the circle for Washington, giving up one earned run and scattering five hits and two walks while striking out three in five innings of work.
Kimberlee Souza and Stangel also hit home runs in addition to Lahners and Suguro, while Lahners and right fielder Trysten Melhart each had 2-for-3 games at the plate. Pretty much everyone had success at the plate for the Dawgs:
— UW Husky Softball (@UWSoftball) May 16, 2015
Washington was one-hit by Alabama pitcher Alexis Osorio in a 9-0, five-inning loss in the first game of the Tuscaloosa regional Saturday. Marisa Runyon’s grand slam in the fourth inning put the sixth-seeded Crimson Tide in run-rule territory.