Softball NCAA Tournament Super Regional Breakdowns

Super Regional weekend is fast approaching for the NCAA Women’s Softball Tournament and for all the talk of increased parity within the sport, all 16 host schools ended up advancing on to the Super Regional round. Thus, the odds of parity coming into play are very likely as all eight series be competitive enough to have a fair amount of decisive third games taking place this weekend, especially with the new three-day format that is in place. So here is a quick look at all eight Super Regional matchups with some keys to victory for both teams.
#1 Florida vs. #16 Alabama
It’s once again a battle of conference rivals in the postseason with a berth to Oklahoma City and the Women’s College Series on the line this time around. For the Gators, you know the combination of Kelly Barnhill and Delanie Gourley are going to step up and rise to the occasion in the circle. Offensively, Florida is going to have to take care of business with runners in scoring position as they are going to have limited opportunities to break a game open. Now, for the Crimson Tide they are going to need Aleshia Ocasio and Sydney Littlejohn to dominate like they did last weekend against an excellent Minnesota lineup. If Osorio and Litteljohn can keep the Gators in the ballpark, they will have a chance to make this series very interesting.
These two teams should create a fair amount of offensive fireworks as the Volunteers and Aggies have a knack for being very explosive at the plate. It is going to be critical for Tennessee to start fast and get game one to put the pressure on Texas A&M. Meghan Gregg is an absolute difference maker for the Volunteers and, if she can carry the Tennessee offense, they will be in great shape. Samantha Show, Lexi Smith, and Trinity Harrington will need to attack the Volunteer hitters right from the start by pitching to contact to allow their defense to make plays. Offensively, if Texas A&M can get their speed game going with Keeli Milligan, it will set up Tori Vidales and Riley Sartain to take care of business with the power at the plate.
#5 UCLA vs. #12 Mississippi
This is going to be a fun contrast of styles as the Bruins can crush you with their power and the Rebels can counter with a great pitching, speed and defense. Delaney Spaulding, Kylee Perez, and Madeline Jelenicki lead a very deep lineup that will need to be disciplined with every at bat. Kylan Becker, Miranda Strother, and Paige McKinney are a very tough trio for any pitching staff as they can hit for a high average and steal a ton of bases for Ole Miss. So, if they can run up pitch counts and steal bases this weekend, look out. The battle between Rachel Garcia of UCLA and Kaitlin Lee of the Rebels is going to be electric to watch and it will be the ace who can settle in right away and attack the opposing team that will come out on top in this series.
#4 Florida State vs. #13 LSU
Florida State was electric offensively during the Tallahassee Regional as they took it to Georgia in the Regional Championship game in order to punch their ticket to Super Regionals. The overall pitching staff depth for the Seminoles with Jessica Burroughs and Brittany King is going to be a factor in this series with the elimination of games two and three on day two of the supers. LSU’s pitching depth is also going to be key as they have Allie Walljasper and Carley Hoover, who are going to have to keep the Florida State offense in the ballpark as they have an ability to annihilate quality teams very quickly when they are hitting the ball over the fence.
#6 Washington vs. #11 Utah
Its rematch time for the Huskies and Utes as they met in Salt Lake City during the final weekend of the regular season with Washington getting the sweep. Taran Alvelo will be looking to build off a nice Seattle regional as she did a good job of keeping an explosive Michigan lineup in check. Offensively, Ali Aguilar, Casey Stangel, Sis Bates and company are going to have to grind out quality at bats and take advantage of opportunities like they did a couple of weeks ago. For Utah, Hannah Flippen is going to have be dynamic and play like a conference player of the year to ignite the Utes offensively in Seattle. While in the circle Katie Donovan and Miranda Viramontes will need to go into this rematch with Washington with a blank slate and forget about what happened in Salt Lake City.
#3 Oregon vs. #14 Kentucky
It was an eventful regional for the Ducks as they had a hard fought battle with Wisconsin in the first winners bracket game on Saturday as they had to rally from a 5-2 deficit to beat the Badgers 6-5 in eight innings. They had to overcome an inability to get a key hit early on and sloppy defense, as they committed three errors. From that point on Oregon was locked in and just about flawless the rest of the weekend. Alexis Mack, Nikki Udria, Gwen Svekis and Danica Mercado lead a deep and talented lineup that will test the Kentucky pitching all weekend long. In order for the Wildcats to move on and advance they will need Abby Cheek to get that big timely hit at every opportunity. Meagan Prince and Erin Rethlake are an excellent pitching combination that should keep Kentucky in every game as long they don’t give the Ducks extra outs with mistakes defensively.
#7 Auburn vs. #10 Oklahoma
We have a rematch from last year’s Women’s College World Series Championship Series as these two played an epic three game set. Fast forward to 2017 and expect more of the same. Auburn is led by Victoria Draper at the top of order and she was 5 for 11 at the plate during last week’s regional when the Tigers scored 23 runs in three games. Kasey Cooper, Kendall Veach, and Haley Fagan will provide the power as they have combined for 31 homeruns so far on the season. In the circle, Kaylee Carlson, has been lights out as she went 27-4 with a 1.22 earned run average and has limited opponents to a .209 batting average. For the Sooners, Paige Parker went the distance in the decisive game seven of the Norman Regional in a 3-0 shutout win over Tulsa. Parker had excellent command all day long and will need be to elite like she was last June in order to get Oklahoma back to the Women’s College World Series.
#2 Arizona vs. #15 Baylor
Back on February 11th these two teams battled each in other at Hillenbrand Stadium with the Wildcats knocking off the Bears 4-0. That win set a great tone for the season for Arizona as they went on a great run prior to Pac-12 play and then claimed the Pac-12 title thanks to a great mix of power and great pitching. Danielle O’Toole has been dominant in the circle all season long as O’Toole has a record of 29-4 and a 1.02 earned run average so far in 2017. Katiyana Mauga has 24 homeruns and 60 runs batted in to pace a powerful offense that can overwhelm opposing teams very quickly. Gia Rodoni threw two no-hitters for the Bears in the Waco Regional and she is going to have to pitch fearlessly in order to keep Baylor in each game this weekend in Tucson.