NCAA Softball Regionals: 5 from Pac-12 advance to Super Regionals

Sun Devil Athletics

The Pac-12 wrapped up regional play for the 2018 NCAA Softball Championship in style on Sunday, advancing four teams to the Super Regionals. The conference tally is now at five teams still playing for a national championship since Oregon sealed its Super Regional fate on Saturday.

[Related2018 NCAA Softball Championships bracket (NCAA.com)]

Oregon State

Tuscaloosa Regional: No. 12 seed Alabama 6, Oregon State 0

Oregon State’s season came to a close on Sunday with a shutout by Alabama on the Crimson Tide’s home turf in the Tuscaloosa Regional final.

Alabama’s bats got started right away. In the top of the first with runners on second and third, Bailey Hemphill knocked a double down the left-field line, plating Demi Turner and Elissa Brown to make it 2-0.

Oregon State stayed within reach through four innings, but the fifth saw Alabama tally two more runs. Meehra Nelson left the circle for the Beavs after that frame and was replaced by Mariah Mazon. Her luck wasn’t much better as the Tide scored another pair of runs in the sixth, extending their lead to 6-0.

The Beavers finish their season with a 30-28 record, but here’s a bright spot: Oregon State reached an NCAA Regional championship game for the first time since 2012, when head coach Laura Berg was still an assistant.

Arizona

Tucson Regional: No. 14 seed Arizona 4, Mississippi State 3

The Wildcats are on to the Super Regionals for the 13th time in 14 seasons following yet another dominant performance by pitcher Taylor McQuillin. It was actually Alyssa Denham who got the start for Arizona, but after allowing two runs in the bottom of the first, McQuillin came in to throw 5 2/3 innings of relief. The junior finished the day with no hits, one walk and five strikeouts.

Arizona’s offense quickly made up for the 2-0 deficit in the second inning, notching three runs in no time. With the bases loaded, Jenna Kean drew a walk to push a run over the plate. Ashleigh Hughes then followed that up with a two-run single to make it 3-2, Wildcats.

Mississippi State evened it up in the following inning, but Arizona’s Aleah Craighton produced the decisive run in the fifth with an RBI single.

Arizona is off to Los Angeles to take on UCLA in the Supers next week.

Washington

Seattle Regional: No. 5 seed Washington 5, Minnesota 2

It was anyone’s game for four innings Sunday in Seattle. Washington and Minnesota traded runs back and forth in the second, third and fourth frames, heading into the fifth inning with a 2-1 Minnesota advantage.

But, in the fifth, Washington turned on the burners. Trysten Melhart took advantage of a wild pitch and worked her way to third base. That put Taylor Van Zee in position to send her home, and that she did with a one-out single to tie things up.

Two batters later, Julia DePonte made it 3-2 with an RBI double. Rally, in motion. Kirstyn Thomas did her part with an RBI groundout to plate Sis Bates. Washington stretched its lead to 4-2. Amirah Milloy sealed it in the sixth, speeding from third to home following a wild pitch by the Gophers.

Check out this phenomenal play by Sis Bates to end the game:

The Huskies welcome 12th-seeded Alabama to Montlake next week for a three-game Super Regional series.

Arizona StateTempe Regional: ( Arizona State 9, Ole Miss 0 (5 innings)

You could call the Sun Devils bad hosts: They didn’t even let Ole Miss get comfortable before shutting them down Sunday night in Tempe.

ASU was all over the Rebels in a run-rule victory, starting with a five-run first inning. DeNae Chatman got the party started with runners on the corners, blasting a three-run home run to left field. Following a pair of singles and a stolen base, Jade Gortarez pushed Marisa Stankiewicz over the plate with an RBI single to make it 4-0, ASU. A sac fly by Maddie Hackbarth then sent Danielle Gibson home, resulting in the fifth run of the inning.

The Devils’ bats were quiet in the second inning, perhaps because they were gearing up for a loud third inning. They slapped four more runs on the board to go up, 9-0, enough to put the run rule in effect once the Rebels took their turn at the plate in the fifth. At game's end, eight Sun Devils contributed at least one hit.

Arizona State hosts ninth-seeded South Carolina in a three-game Super Regional series next week.

UCLA

Los Angeles Regional: No. 3 seed UCLA 6, Cal State Fullerton 4 

The Bruins were tasked with beating Cal State Fullerton not once, but twice on Sunday – not easy considering they lost to the Titans in an extra-innings walk-off on Saturday.

But that's exactly what they did, following up a 3-0 win Sunday afternoon with a 6-4 victory Sunday night to advance to the Super Regionals for the fifth consecutive season.

It was another even effort in the second game through the fourth inning, a 2-2 tie on the scoreboard. But UCLA broke it wide open in the fifth frame. Briana Perez struck first, smacking an RBI single to send home Kinsley Washington. Two batters later with two on, this happened:

Pretty good as far as insurance runs go, right? Well, they ended up being a necessity for UCLA as Fullerton was able to put two more on the board with two outs in the seventh. The batter representing the tying run came up to bat but struck out swinging to end the game.

UCLA will play host to the Arizona Wildcats in a three-game Super Regional series next week, reviving the postseason edition of a classic conference rivalry.

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