2017 Women's College World Series Opening Round Breakdowns

Resilience, toughness, dynamic plays all over the country told the story of Super Regional weekend in women’s college softball as there were four decisive third games on Sunday that all went down to the wire. It is clear that, at least in year one of the new three-day Super Regional format, it was a big hit. It was a big hit because lower seeded teams were in a much better position to recover from losing the first game since they did not have to win two games on day two as was the case in previous years. Moving forward, look for more parity in college softball and more double-digit seeds finding their way to Oklahoma City in future years.
#1 Florida vs. #9 Texas A&M
Florida executed their pitching and defense formula beautifully in the final two games of the Gainesville Super Regional against Alabama. Delanie Gourley shutout the Crimson Tide in game two on just four hits and Kelly Barnhill bounced back from the game one loss by hurling a complete game two-hitter as the Gators advanced on to Oklahoma City with a 2-1 victory. Offensively, moving forward in the Women’s College World Series, it is going to be very important for Florida to find a way to string together a couple four or five run types of efforts. Amanda Lorenz is hitting .390 on the season with 11 homeruns and 47 runs batted in and, along with Kayli Kvistad and Nicole DeWitt, is going to have to lead the way for the Gators. Texas A&M showed some outstanding resilience in the Knoxville Regional as Trinity Harrington stepped into the circle pitching for something bigger than just a trip to Oklahoma City. Harrington was pitching in memory of her late father who passed away before the regional round and tossed a complete game against Tennessee, limiting the Volunteers to just three runs on six hits. These two teams did not face other during the regular season and if the Aggies can get a couple of key hits from Tori Vidales and Riley Surtain they are going to make this opening game of the Women’s College World Series very interesting.
#5 UCLA vs.  #13 LSU
UCLA is returning to the Women’s College World Series in 2017 after outlasting a very tough Ole Miss squad in two very well played games between the two teams. Rachel Garcia has been a difference maker in the circle for the Bruins as Garcia came out of the bullpen in game two and threw four shutout innings to lock down the Rebels. Delaney Spaulding’s senior leadership and ability to get that timely hit is going to be important against an LSU team that will battle you down to the 21st out on a nightly basis. Sahvanna Jaquish and the rest of the LSU Tigers are back in the Women’s College World Series as they have been the cardiac kids in the NCAA Tournament by winning five elimination games. On Sunday, LSU eliminated the fourth seeded Florida State Seminoles 6-4 handing them their second consecutive loss at home ending what had been a 36-game home winning streak for Florida State. Along with Jaquish, Bailey Landry is going to be key in this matchup with UCLA as they set the tone for the rest of the lineup. This game has the feel of 1-0 classic or an 8-7 slugfest if both lineups get rolling early.
Oregon is back in the Women’s College World Series after knocking out Kentucky in two games. The Ducks rallied in game two from a 5-2 deficit executing their text book small ball approach at the plate against a very tough pitcher in Meagan Prince. Overall, Oregon is on a roll having won 15 consecutive games and are going to be a very dangerous team to deal with in Oklahoma City. Washington outlasted Utah in three games in the Seattle Super Regional and the Huskies grinded out a 2-1 victory in the decisive third game as Taran Alvelo went the distance and found a way to get that key out when she needed it against a very explosive Utes lineup. Washington took two out of three in Eugene against Oregon earlier this season and it should be a very hard-fought battle between these two northwest rivals with plenty of runs to be scored by both teams.
#10 Oklahoma vs. #15 Baylor
Oklahoma went on the road to Auburn and dispatched of the Tigers in two games to earn the opportunity to defend their national championship. Paige Parker set the tone in game one with a 14-strikeout performance to lead the Sooners to a 4-0 victory. Nicole Pendley came up with the key offensive in game two as Pendley went 2 for 3 with a homerun and four runs batted in. Paige Lowary stepped up in relief and she limited the Tigers to one unearned run over 4.2 innings of work. Baylor battled their way back to the Women’s College World Series as the Bears dropped the first game against Arizona and took the final two games, including a 6-5 victory in game three. Shelby “Goose” McGlaun’s three-run homerun in the top of the seventh inning put the Bears on top as that homerun for McGlaun was sweet justice as she had hit her fair share of hard-hit balls in the Tucson Regional. These two teams battled earlier in a three-game series as Oklahoma took two of three games, but two of the games were decided one run. Thus, expect this to be a 3-2, 4-3 type of contest if both teams execute at their best in the circle and at the plate.