NCAA softball regionals: Five Pac-12 teams win on Friday

The Pac-12 went 5-3 in Friday's NCAA Softball Regional action, procuring wins from Oregon, Cal, Stanford, Arizona State and Washington. While Oregon State, UCLA and Arizona lost, all eight Pac-12 teams competing in regionals are still alive due to the double-elimination format of the softball postseason. Regional play continues Saturday and will wrap up Sunday, when all 16 super regional participants will be decided.


Playing in its second regional game, third-seeded Oregon defeated North Carolina 3-0 to advance to the finals of the Eugene Regional. It was another day at the office for Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year Jessica Moore, who posted her 19th career shutout after scattering five hits and walking just one over a full seven innings of work. Her nine strikeouts put her over the 900 mark for her career, but that wasn't the biggest crowning achievement of the afternoon for Moore:

Offense-wise, lead-off hitter Janie Takeda forced the issue in the first by stealing third base and taking home on a throwing error to draw first blood for the Quacks. Oregon tacked on two more in the third thanks to RBI singles from Courtney Ceo and Samantha Pappas, and that would be Moore than enough (that's a good one, right?). Oregon faces Wisconsin at noon PT Saturday for a chance to advance to the super regionals, which the Ducks would host if they move on. Oregon has the upper-hand in the regional finals, as Wisconsin already has one loss next to its name.

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While Oregon five-hit the Heels, Oregon State was five-hit by the Pride in a 2-0 loss to Hofstra. There really isn't much shame in that, though, because Hofstra's Olivia Galati is considered one of the best pitchers in the nation (throwing five perfect games may or may not have anything to do with that perception). A scoreless game through four innings, the Pride broke through in the fifth with a two-run double off the bat of Tessa Ziemba. Outside of that, it was a pretty solid performance by Beaver underhander Marina Demore, who allowed just those two runs to go along with seven hits and a couple of walks over six innings. Freshman Christine Langlois had the first multi-hit game of her young career, going 2-3 out of the 6-hole in Laura Berg's lineup card. The Beavers will now face Stony Brook at 12:30 p.m. in an elimination game in the Columbia Regional. Despite the loss today, Laura Berg is resurrecting a winning culture in Corvallis.


Dudes dig the longball, too. Diane Ninemire's Golden Bears hit four home runs en route to an 8-1 victory over Central Michigan in the first game of the Ann Arbor Regional. Doing the long-distance damage was Victoria Jones, Lindsey Ziegenhirt and Danielle Henderson, who hit a pair of 'em herself. Cal isn't usually known for its hitting prowess (they finished last in the conference with a .267 batting average), but Berkeley's Best pounded out 11 hits on the afternoon.  Jolene Henderson didn't need all that help, as the senior hurler allowed just one unearned run over seven innings and struck out eight while ending the game in dominating fashion:

The twitter account seemed to be a little excited about that. Cal will next face host Michigan at 9 a.m. with a spot in the Ann Arbor Regional championship on the line.

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It wasn't quite the display that Cal put on, but two-run home runs from Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Kayla Bonstrom and fellow rookie Jessica Plaza powered Stanford to a 4-2 victory over Tulsa in the Lincoln Regional. In fact, all of the six combined runs in this game came via three two-run blasts, as Tulsa's Julie Kernen's round-tripper with one on put the Golden Hurricane on top 2-0 in the top-half of the first. However, Teagan Gerhart (younger sister of Toby Gerhart) only gave up two hits after that to keep the Card in the game before Plaza and Bonstrom answered with their dingers in the second and fifth innings, respectively. Move over Jessica Moore, for you have company at the century mark:

Stanford has host Nebraska tomorrow at 11 a.m. PT with a spot in the Lincoln Two up for grabs.


It has been said that diamond sports are all about the big inning, and that was the case in UCLA's bout with UAB. The Bruins scored a run in each of the first three innings, but it was the "6" spot the Blazers put on the board in the top of the third that propelled UAB to a 6-3 victory over UCLA. Pitcher Jessica Hall took the loss in two innings of work but stayed in the game, switching places with Ally Carda at first base. While Hall didn't have success in the circle, she did go 2-2 at the plate. Also having a nice game offensively was B.B. Bates, who hit her Pac-12-leading 25th home run of the season. The loss makes it an uphill battle for the winningest program in NCAA history, as the 11-time NCAA national-champion Bruins must now win four games in a row to advance out of the Louisville Regional. It starts with a date against IPFW in the loser's bracket Saturday at 1:30 p.m. PT.


There wasn't much to like Friday if you're a Wildcat softball fan. Starting pitcher Shelby Babcock was unable to record an out, Baylor tagged the 'Cats for four first-inning runs and the Lady Bears coasted to a 7-0 victory over Arizona in the College Station Regional. The brightest spot for Arizona on Friday was designated player Mandie Perez's 2-3 afternoon. That was about it though, as the Wildcats were held to six hits. Hats off to Baylor pitcher Whitney Canion, who threw a complete-game shutout, did not walk anyone and retired 12 straight Wildcats at one point. If Arizona wants to keep its hopes alive, it will need to knock off Ivy League champion Penn in an elimination game at 2:30 p.m. PT Saturday.

[Related video: Pac-12 softball coaches discuss developing confidence]


The Sun Devils denied the Bay Area a 3-for-3 day by defeating San Jose State 5-2 in a Tempe Regional contest Friday afternoon. The most interesting thing about this game? Despite allowing a couple of unearned runs, Arizona State pitcher Dallas Escobedo threw a no-hitter. Yeah, you don't see that often. Battery mate and Pac-12 Player of the Year Amber Freeman approved:

Those unearned runs came in the top of the first, meaning San Jose State struck first in this one. The fifth-seeded Sun Devils tied things up after single runs in the first and second and took the lead for good on a Spartan throwing error in the bottom of the fifth. Freeman and third baseman Haley Steele powered the Sun Devil attack with a couple of solo blasts, while second baseman Sam Parlich had a 2-3 day batting sixth. The victory over San Jose State sets up a date with Georgia for a spot in the regional championship at 3 p.m. PT, begging the eternal question "who does Nic Lloyd root for?"


There were some quirks to this Washington-Portland State contest as well. Usually, the host team doesn't get tested much in its opening regional game. Portland State didn't pay attention to that generalization, taking a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth. Usually, teams that muster just one hit don't win. Washington didn't pay attention to that generalization either, knocking off Portland State 2-1 despite designated player Kaitlin Inglesby being the only Husky to record a base knock. She also had both of the Dawgs' RBI, doubling in Marki Creger-Zier in the fourth and bringing in Jennie McNeill on a sac-fly in the fifth. Women's basketball fans might recognize the name Mercedes Wetmore-- the 5-8 guard joined the softball squad midseason and was utilized as a pinch-runner in Friday night's game against the Vikings. Up next for the 11th-seeded Dawgs is a date with Hawai'i at 1:00 p.m. As per other Pac-12 victors, Washington can clinch a spot in its own regional championship with a win in that game.

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