NCAA super regionals: Up and down day for Pac-12 softball
From season-ending losses to game-winning grand slams and most everything in between, the four remaining Pac-12 teams in the 2014 NCAA softball super regionals experienced a bit of everything Saturday. Here's a rundown of how it all went down.
After falling in their opener last night, No. 11 Arizona faced a win-or-go-home scenario against No. 6 Louisiana-Lafayette Saturday in the best of three super regional format. The Wildcats fell into a 3-0 hole after the top of the first inning and couldn't dig their way out, ending their season with a 7-1 loss.
Give credit to the Ragin' Cajuns (49-8-1), who used clutch hitting to punish the Wildcats for not finishing off innings.
Another two-out run for Lousiana Lafayette. 6-1 now. All 11 of its runs in this Super Regional have come with two out.
— Arizona Softball (@UA_Softball) May 24, 2014
The streak of two-out runs would end on Lexie Elkins' solo shot in the seventh to push the Cajuns' lead to 7-1 but at that point the damage was already done.
After getting the first two outs of the game on ground balls, Arizona starter Shelby Babcock walked Elkins, gave up a double to Samantha Walsh then walked Shellie Landry to lad the bases for Shelbi Redfearn. Her two-run single to right gave the Cajuns early momentum and a lead that would be more than enough for starting pitcher Christina Hamilton.
Aiming for her fifth win of the postseason, Hamilton was in cruise control all day with her only bump in the road being Katiyana Mauga's solo home run in the second inning. Hamilton squashed any hopes of a Wildcat comeback. She ended up throwing a complete game five-hitter with two strikeouts.
The Cajuns advance to their sixth Women's College World Series where they will face the winner of the Kentucky vs. UCLA super regional.
For Arizona, they wrap up another successful season which saw them win 44 games, 14 in conference, and mash 109 home runs.
[Related: NCAA softball super regional bracket]
In Gainesville, Florida, Washington's super regional against Florida got off to a rough start as the Huskies stumbled to a 9-0 run-rule shortened loss to the Gators. Hannah Rogers got credit for a complete game, as she gave up just four hits and struck out five Huskies in five innings.
The difference in game 1 was, without a doubt, Florida's seven-run fourth inning. It wasn't pretty but four singles, one double, three walks (including two with the bases loaded), one hit by pitch and one wild pitch resulted in a back-breaking seven run rally.
The Huskies went down swinging, recording two of their four hits in the top of the fifth but couldn't scratch across any runs.
Game 2 begins Sunday at 9 a.m. PT with Washington looking to win and force a decisive game 3.
Game of the day goes to UCLA's dramatic 6-4 comeback victory over Kentucky. Each team hit game-changing grand slams but it was the Bruins who struck last.
No. 3 UCLA got a bit of good fortune in the bottom of the second when Wildcat right fielder Emily Gaines dropped a sharp line drive off the bat of Delaney Spaulding, allowing two runs to score. With an early lead and 2014 USA Softball Player of the Year finalist Ally Carda in the circle things were looking good for the Bruins.
But this is the postseason, and No. 14 Kentucky would not go away quietly. A walk and a couple of singles loaded the bases for the Wildcats in the third and with two outs Griffin Joiner dropped the hammer and launched a no-doubt grand slam down the left field line. 4-2 Wildcats. Game on.
With their backs against the wall on their home field, it was a freshman who saved the day for the Bruins. Ally Carda was walked intentionally to load the bases for Spaulding. That would prove to be a bad decision.
SPAULDING!!!!! GRAND SLAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 6-4 Bruins.
— UCLA Softball (@UCLASoftball) May 25, 2014
Up 6-4, Carda shut the door on the Wildcats, striking out two in the top of the seventh to secure the game 1 win.
First pitch of game 2 is scheduled for 12 p.m. PT on Sunday.
The No. 1 Ducks were looking for a little redemption as they began their super regional against No. 16 Minnestoa and after an explosive game 1 they're one win away from really shaking off last year's bad memories.
The Gophers actually scored first, on Sara Groenewegen's RBI single in the first, but their lead was short lived.
— Oregon Duck Softball (@OregonSB) May 25, 2014
Ceo's lead-off homer in the Oregon half of the first really got things rolling and the Ducks never looked back.
They tacked on four more runs in the bottom of the second and, making things worse for Minnesota, starter Cheridan Hawkins took over in the circle. She only allowed two hits after Groenewegen's single in the first and would end up pitching a complete game as the Duck run-ruled the Gophers by a final score of 10-2 in six innings.
Janelle Lindvall struck the final blow as her RBI single up the middle put the 10 spot on the board and activated the run rule. Ceo was money all night, notching three hits and driving in two runs while Nikki Udria provided production from the bottom of the lineup by knocking in three runs from the nine hole.
The Ducks will look to clinch the super regional Sunday starting at 2 p.m. PT.