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NCAA Softball Tournament Recap: Pac-12 unbeaten through first day of Regionals

May 20, 2022

The first day of the 2022 NCAA Division I Softball Tournament is in the books and the Pac-12 is off to a 7-0 start, one of just two undefeated conferences with multiple wins (Big 12).

From run-rule victories to nail-biters, here's how it all went down.

Oregon State holds off Ohio State, 4-3, in Knoxville

A solo homer by Madison Simon pulled the Beavers even in the third inning, and they grabbed a 3-1 lead in the next frame when Grace Messmer snuck a grounder through the legs of Ohio State's shortstop, allowing Mariah Mazon to score from second and pinch runner Erin Mendoza from first.

Mazon, who pitched six strong innings, coaxed a bases-loaded walk in the fifth to stretch the lead to 4-1, giving the Beavs just enough offense. 

The Buckeyes cut the deficit to one in the sixth when Kaitlyn Coffman banged a two-run double off the center-field wall, and the drama only intensified from there.

Freshman Sarah Haendiges relieved Mazon in the seventh and the first three batters reached safely with a walk and pair of singles. A popout and two strikeouts later, Haendiges escaped the jam to seal the 4-3 win, showing incredible resolve for a freshman.

Lim made another game-changing play in the seventh, throwing out Taylor Jackson at first after collecting a line drive in right field.

An amped Vawter fanned Victoria Garland for the final out, putting the bow on a phenomenal pitching performance.

The Cardinal will take on host No. 6 Alabama in the winner's bracket on Saturday at noon PT on ESPN2.

Oregon uses long ball to run rule Wichita State, 10-2, in Fayetteville

The Ducks overpowered the Shockers with the long ball, blasting four homers in a five-inning 10-2 mercy-rule win in the Fayetteville Region.

Paige Sinicki (3 RBI), Ariel Carlson (3 RBI), Rachel Cid and Terra McGowan all went yard.

So did Addison Barnard, the nation's home run leader, but her two-run shot off Stevie Hansen were the only runs Wichita State could muster and the only time the game felt close. Barnard's 33rd blast of the season cut the Ducks' lead to 3-2 after Sinicki had given them a 3-0 lead in the second with a three-run blast.

Hansen pitched the first 2.2 innings and Makenna Kliethermes did the rest in relief, combining to hold the Shockers to six hits.

An inning after Carlson and Cid homered back to back, McGowan put an exclamation point on the win, homering in the bottom of the fifth to put the run-rule into effect.

The Ducks will take on host No. 4 Arkansas on Saturday in the winner's bracket at 11:30 a.m. PT on ESPN+.

Big 5th inning leads No. 13 Washington to 9-2 win over Lehigh in Seattle

The Huskies were facing a 2-1 deficit in the fifth when they exploded for five runs en route to a 9-2 victory over the Mountain Hawks.

Freshman Kinsey Fiedler had the tide-turning hit, launching the game-tying homer to right to lead off the frame.

The Huskies grabbed the lead later in the inning when Jadelyn Allchin belted a two-out, three-run homer to the same spot to put UW up 5-2. Silent Rain Espinoza completed the big inning with an RBI single.

Pac-12 Player of the Year Baylee Klingler joined the party in the sixth, clubbing a three-run homer to center, her 23rd of the season, to cap the scoring.

Kelley Lynch got the start for the Huskies and was cruising in the fourth before Pat Moore fanned two straight batters to strand two runners.

The Huskies weren't so fortunate in the fifth. Addie Kittel laid down a bunt and Brooke Nelson's throw to first deflected off Kittel's back, allowing two runs to score and briefly putting Lehigh in the driver's seat.

Ace Gabbie Plain, who entered midway through the frame, shrugged it off and twirled two scoreless innings to seal the win.

The Huskies will host Texas in the winner's bracket Saturday at 2 p.m. PT on ESPN.

Wisz's career night fuels No. 5 UCLA's 12-1 win over Grand Canyon in Los Angeles

Delanie Wisz drove in a career-high six runs as the Bruins cruised to a 12-1 run-rule victory over the Lopes, who made their first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance.

Wisz went 3-for-3 with a grand slam in the second and a two-run single in the third, stretching UCLA's lead to 9-0.

That was right after Briana Perez drilled a two-run double. Kinsley Washington also had two RBI, with a sac fly in the first and an RBI groundout in the fourth. Alyssa Garcia and Thessa Malau'ulu drove in a run apiece.

UCLA drew 10 walks, only needing seven hits to plate a dozen runs.

Holly Azevedo allowed one hit through the first four innings before GCU clubbed back-to-back doubles off the left field wall to plate its lone run in the fifth.

The Bruins will face Loyola Marymount on Saturday in the winner's bracket at 2 p.m. PT on ESPNU.

Watson's grand slam lifts No. 8 Arizona State to dramatic 5-2 win over Cal State Fullerton in Tempe

The Sun Devils had their backs against the wall when Kristiana Watson stepped to the plate as a pinch hitter in the sixth inning. Bases loaded and one out, but trailing by a run.

Watson battled and battled and battled, fighting off several two-strike pitches before coming through with the biggest hit of the Sun Devils' season. The sophomore waited back on an outside pitch and lined the go-ahead grand slam to right, giving Arizona State a 5-2 lead that it would not relinquish.

The victory pushed the Sun Devils into the winner's bracket of the Tempe Regional and also ensured that the Pac-12 stayed unbeaten through the first day of Regionals.

ASU walked the tight rope for most of the night. Yannira Acuña's solo homer in the third accounted for the game's only run until Cal State Fullerton rallied in the sixth.

Coming through with a clutch two-out hit of her own, Deshea Hill bounced a two-run single up the middle to give the Big West champions a late lead.

It was the only blemish on a fantastic postseason debut for Mac Morgan. The freshman scattered seven hits in a complete-game effort, striking out a career-high nine batters.

Next up is a Saturday showdown with San Diego State at 2 p.m. PT on ESPN+. The Aztecs outslugged LSU 10-5 in the first game of the Tempe Regional.

Saturday's Slate

  • Oregon State at No. 11 Tennessee (in Knoxville, Tenn.)
  • Oregon at No. 4 Arkansas (Fayetteville, Ark.)
  • Arizona at No. 15 Missouri (in Columbia, Mo.)
    • 11:30 a.m. PT — ESPN+
  • Stanford at No. 6 Alabama (in Tuscaloosa, Ala.)
  • Texas at No. 13 Washington (in Seattle, Wash.)
    • 2 p.m. PT — ESPN
  • Loyola Marymount at No. 5 UCLA (in Los Angeles, Calif.)
  • San Diego State at No. 8 Arizona State (in Tempe, Ariz.)