NCAA Softball Regionals: Arizona, Oregon, UCLA, Utah, Washington punch tickets to Super Regionals
Eight Pac-12 teams were selected for the NCAA Softball Regionals. Five Pac-12 squads advanced to Super Regionals with four teams staying perfect throughout Regional play. Here's a running recap of the Conference of Champions results from Sunday.
[Related: NCAA Softball Regionals bracket (NCAA.com)]
Arizona - 9, South Carolina - 0 (Tucson Regional)
The 2-seeded Arizona Wildcats rolled through Regionals doing something no other team in the country did: shut out every opponent.
— Arizona Softball (@UA_Softball) May 22, 2017
At the top of the third, Eva Watson singled to right and then stole second. Mandie Perez stepped up to bat and launched a rocket of a hit out of right field for the home run. The Wildcats led 2-0.
With out out in the top of the sixth, freshman Reyna Carranco hit a hard drive straight at the Gamecock pitcher, which ricocheted off the pitcher's glove and plated Mo Mercado. Ashleigh Hughes hit an RBI single to score Alexis Dotson, and the ‘Cats led 4-0.
Mandie Perez extended the Wildcats’ hot sixth with a 2-RBI double to plate Watson and Carranco.
Dejah Mulipola would single to right field for an RBI single to up the ‘Cats lead to 7-0. Carranco recorded her third hit of the game and second RBI to increase the lead to 8-0. Mulipola recorded the final run for the Wildcats off Nancy Bowling’s fly out to end the top of the seventh and up the ‘Cats lead to 9-0.
The Gamecocks got two on base in the ninth, but Arizona wrapped the game out with a fly out and a double play to preserve the regional shutout sweep.
The ‘Cats advance to the Super Regionals for the 12th time, and will face 15-seeded Baylor.
Washington - 4, Michigan - 2 (Seattle Regional)
The Huskies advanced to their 11th Super Regional in program history after downing Michigan, 4-2, in the Seattle Regional.
— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) May 22, 2017
Michigan bested Washington’s Taran Alvelo early, hitting a homer off the sophomore ace in the first inning. With one out on the board, UW’s Kelly Burdick sliced a shot to center field and sped to third base. Senior Ali Aguilar homered to right field, putting the Dawgs on top, 2-1.
Michigan would get out of a bases-loaded, 2-out jam in the top of the third and the top of the fourth to preserve the 2-1 score.
The Wolverines evened things up in the bottom or the fourth, as UM’s Aidan Falk knocked in an RBI double to tie the game, 2-2.
The third time would be a charm for the Dawgs, as Morganne Flores headed to the plate with two outs and the bases loaded in the top of the sixth. Flores hit a 2 RBI double down the left-field line to break the tie at 4-2.
Holding on to a 4-2 lead going into the bottom of the seventh, Alvelo struck out the first Wolverine batter for the first out. The Huskies would retire the final two Michigan batters to claim the Seattle Regional.
Washington will face Utah in a Pac-12 showdown in Super Regionals.
UCLA - 9, Fullerton - 1 (Los Angeles Regional)
Brianna Tautalafua’s grand slam in the top of the fifth highlighted UCLA’s afternoon win to claim the Los Angeles regional and advance to Supers.
— UCLA Softball (@UCLASoftball) May 22, 2017
UCLA got out to a quick start in the top of the first, with Madeline Jelenicki hitting a 2-run homer to put the Bruin lead up, 2-0 over Cal State Fullerton. The Titans chipped away at the deficit fast with an RBI single in the same frame. Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Rachel Garcia got the Bruins out of a bases-loaded jam in the top of the third.
Paige Halstead hit a solo shot just fair of the right field foul pole to increase the Bruin lead, 3-1.
Tautalafua would step up to the plate with the bases loaded and launch the grand slam out of right field. The insurance runs put the Bruins up, 7-1.
Garcia was dominant in the circle, retiring 10 straight batters and recording nine strikeouts through a complete seven innings of work.
Bubba Nickles would tack on two more runs for the Bruins in the seventh, hitting a 2-RBI double to increase UCLA’s lead, 9-1.
5-seed UCLA will face 12-seed Ole Miss in Super Regionals.
Oregon - 9, Wisconsin - 0 (Eugene, Oregon)
The Ducks came out swinging in the regional final, defeating Wisconsin 9-0 Sunday in a five-inning run-rule victory and punching their ticket to the NCAA Super Regionals. They're undefeated in the last 24 regional matches played under coach Mike White.
Oregon is now 24-0 in NCAA regional games in eight seasons under head coach Mike White. #GoDucks
— Oregon Softball (@OregonSB) May 22, 2017
The Ducks got off to a hot start, tallying four runs in the first capped by Miranda Elish's two-run RBI single and Lauren Lindvall's RBI single. Nikki Udria's RBI fielder's choice capped a fifth-inning rally that put the game away. Danica Mercado started off the big inning with a bases-loaded RBI double.
Elish's big hit was just the cherry on top of her five inning shutout in which she gave up just one hit and walked three.
Three-seeded Oregon will face 14-seed Kentucky next.
Utah 14, BYU - 0 (6 inn., Salt Lake City)
On Saturday, the 11-seeded Utah Utes became the first Pac-12 team to punch its ticket to the Super Regionals after defeating BYU, 14-0. They did so in historic fashion as the Utes recorded their largest margin of victory in an NCAA contest.
— Utah Softball (@Utah_Softball) May 20, 2017
The Utes came in and scored steadily throughout the game starting with a pair of unearned runs in the top of the first. Utah freshman Kelly Martinez came into the top of the second and homered off of the BYU pitcher to put the Utes up, 3-0.
Utah senior Anissa Urtez did not go quietly in what could be her last home game, as she recorded 5 RBI going 3-of-4 on the day.
Urtez doubled to left field in the top of the sixth, scoring Pac-12 Co-Player of the Year Hannah Flippen and Alyssa Barerra.
Utah would put up a staggering eight runs in the sixth inning to complete the 14-0 win and claim the Salt Lake City Regional. The Utes will go on to face Washington in a Pac-12 showdown in Super Regionals.
Auburn - 8, California - 2 (Auburn, Alabama)
The Golden Bears saw their season come to an end, falling 8-2 to host Auburn in the regional final. The Tigers got off to a hot start, recording seven runs in the first two innings of play. Cal sophomore Danielle Bowers scored the first run of the day for the Golden Bears as she came home off a wild pitch in the bottom of the third to help chip away at Auburn's 7-1 lead.
At the bottom of the sixth, Cal senior Annie Aldrete grounded out into a double play, but Kylie Reed would cross the plate to score another run, 7-2. Auburn would add an insurance run in the final frame with a solo home run and take the game, 8-2, and the regional title.
Cal finishes its season 32-24 overall.
California - 4, Notre Dame - 3 (Saturday's Resumption, Auburn, Alabama)
California and Notre Dame's elimination game was suspended until Sunday morning due to lightning strikes for a 14 hour delay. The teams resumed in the fifth inning with Cal leading, 4-3. Katie Sutherland-Finch stepped in the circl for Zoe Conley for Cal, and both the Golden Bears and the Fighting Irish dealt strikeouts to keep the game close.
Cal's Kylie Pettis thought otherwise, however, and in the top of the seventh hit a solo shot for an insurance run to put the score at 5-3 in Cal's favor. The Golden Bear defense held court in the bottom of the seventh, as Notre Dame got on first and second base. The third batter flied out for the first out, and then the next batter hit into a double play to end the game.
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