NCAA Softball Regionals: Oregon advances to Super Regionals, 5 to play in regional finals Sunday
Seven Pac-12 teams took the field Saturday across the nation in the NCAA Softball Regionals. Here's how those games played out.
Eugene Regional: (1) Oregon 3, Drake 0
Oregon is the first squad in the 64-team field to punch its ticket to a Super Regional. The Ducks won the Eugene Regional final on Saturday — a day earlier than the other regionals out of respect for regional participant BYU’s policies.
The tournament’s top overall seed downed Drake, 3-0, the same team it beat 5-0 on Friday. The scoreboard saw all zeros until the fifth inning, when the Ducks stringed together three runs on two plays. Here’s the first of those plays that got Oregon two of its three runs:
— Oregon Softball (@OregonSB) May 20, 2018
The third run came in the next at-bat, an RBI single that plated Jenna Lilley. The Ducks are on to their ninth straight Super Regional, which they will host at their home stadium next week.
Los Angeles Regional: (3) UCLA 14, Texas State 1 (5 innings)
The Bruins found themselves in unexpected territory on Saturday, fighting for their postseason lives after a 3-2 loss to Cal State Fullerton early in the day. The Bruins made sure they wouldn't be in that position again in their second game of the day, hanging 14 runs on Texas State in just four innings.
The Perez sisters got things going in the first, both scoring on the same play to give UCLA an early 2-0 lead. The third inning resulted in four runs: one scored by Briana Perez, who smacked a solo shot over the center-field wall, and a three-run bomb by Bubba Nickles. (If you're going to have someone make that kind of play for your team, don't you want it to be someone named Bubba Nickles?) Pac-12 Player of the Year Rachel Garcia left the circle after the third frame to let Holly Azevedo take over.
— UCLA Softball (@UCLASoftball) May 20, 2018
While the third inning was impressive, it paled in comparison to the fourth. UCLA rattled off eight runs in the frame, positioning the Bruins to invoke the run rule as soon as Texas State took its turn in the top of the fifth. UCLA faces Cal State Fullerton for a second time Sunday at 4 p.m. PT.
Tempe Regional: (8) Arizona State 7, Ole Miss 1
The Sun Devils paired sound pitching with explosive hitting for their 45th victory of the season, a 7-1 beatdown of the Ole Miss Rebels.
Breanna Macha struck out nine over seven innings while allowing three hits and one walk. ASU held a 2-0 lead through three innings, but right fielder Kindra Hackbarth made sure Macha’s efforts did not go to waste with a three-run homer in the fourth.
Here’s Hackbarth’s blast to make it 5-0:
— NCAA Softball (@NCAAsoftball) May 19, 2018
Hackbarth reached home again in the sixth inning to complete ASU’s scoring efforts, thanks to a Taylor Becerra sac fly. Ole Miss’ Abbey Latham broke up Macha’s shutout in the final frame with a left-field homer.
ASU meets Ole Miss again in the Tempe Regional final on Sunday at 6:30 p.m. PT.
Seattle Regional: (5) Washington 2, Texas 1
It wasn’t quite the 8-0 performance they put on Friday night, but the Huskies picked up another dub on Saturday, 2-1, over Texas.
The Longhorns got on the board first via an RBI double in the second inning, but that would be it for their offensive efforts. In the fifth inning, UW senior Taylor Van Zee led off with a double to center. Two batters later, Van Zee got home courtesy of an RBI double by Julie DePonte. That tied things up at 1-1.
Washington fired up the bats again in the top of the seventh, when Kirstyn Thomas cranked one down the left-field line to send Sis Bates from second to home. Take a look at the game-winner here:
— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) May 19, 2018
Washington will play in the Seattle Regional final on Sunday at 4 p.m. PT against Minnesota.
Tucson Regional: (14) Arizona 6, North Dakota State 0
Another day, another gem from Wildcat pitcher Taylor McQuillin. The junior posted her 15th shutout of the season with Saturday’s 6-0 win, bypassing Furman’s Lindsey Bert to boast the nation’s highest shutout count this year. No North Dakota State runner advanced beyond first base in McQuillin’s two-hitter.
The Wildcats stranded 12 on base but still managed to score six runs — the sixth inning proving to be the most fruitful with three runs alone. Jenna Kean was a bright spot for the home team, going 4-for-4 at the dish while scoring two runs.
— Arizona Softball (@ArizonaSoftball) May 19, 2018
Arizona faces Mississippi State at 4 p.m. PT on Sunday in the Tucson Regional final.
Tuscaloosa Regional: Oregon State 5, Wisconsin 1
The Beavers live to see another day (Sunday, specifically) following two decisive wins Saturday in Alabama. Oregon State fell into the elimination bracket Friday with a 9-3 loss to Wisconsin but rallied Saturday to top Middle Tennessee State, 4-0, and then beat Wisconsin, 5-1, late into the night.
The third inning was big for the Beavs. That's where they turned a 1-0 lead into a 4-0 lead, in big part due to Badger throwing errors. In fact, three Wisconsin errors on one play resulted in an inside-the-park home run for McKenna Arriola:
— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) May 20, 2018
While those mistakes got the momentum going for Oregon State, some good' small ball kept it going. Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Missy Nunes took advantage of loaded bases opportunity, smacking a single to score Shelby Weeks. Camryn Ybarra sealed the deal in the fifth with a homer over the right-field wall. Up next for Oregon State is No. 12 seed Alabama on their home turf Sunday. First pitch for the regional final is at 11:30 a.m. PT.
Athens Regional: Northwestern 4, Cal 3
Cal’s season came to an end Saturday after its second loss in two days. The Golden Bears dropped into the elimination bracket Friday following a 3-2 extra-innings loss to Northwestern, and it would be another one-run loss to the Wildcats that ended the Bears' 2018 campaign.
Cal went off in its first game of the day, a 10-1 victory over Harvard, but did not have the same luck in its rematch with Northwestern. The Bears pulled ahead in the sixth inning after a series of NU mistakes set them up for a 2-1 lead.
In the top of the seventh, a Lindsay Rood triple paired with a Northwestern fielding error left the Bears with a 3-1 advantage and three outs away from victory, but the Wildcats capitalized on a series of errors and intentional walks to tie it up in the bottom of the seventh. With bases juiced and two outs, Northwestern freshman Rachel Lewis scored on a wild pitch to seal the win, 4-3.
Cal finishes its 2018 season with a 35-21 record.
B7| NU scores on the wild pitch and that will be the game and the season for the Bears. Here are the final numbers... pic.twitter.com/78K2Vr1cTn
— Cal Softball (@CalSB) May 20, 2018