4/16 Softball Bracketology Breakdown

Last Four in: Missouri, Florida Gulf Coast, Illinois, Wichita State
First Four Out: Louisville, UCF, Memphis, Cal State Fullerton
The 2018 college softball season is heating up as conference races are hotly contested in the Pac-12 and SEC. Washington is atop the Pac-12 at 12-2 in conference play and 41-2 overall on the season. The Huskies have developed a great 1-2 punch in the circle with Taran Alvelo and Gabbie Plain. Offensively, they are hitting .335 and have scored 298 runs in 43 games this season thanks to a deep lineup led by Sis Bates, Taylor Van Zee, Kristyn Thomas, Julia DePonte and a very talented freshmen class. UCLA has also been very dominant offensively, hitting .360 as a team led by Aaliyah Jordan’s .487 batting average. Rachel Garcia anchors a rock-solid pitching staff in the circle that doesn’t have to be perfect with a such a lethal offense to back them up. Thus, next weekend when the Huskies and Bruins get together in Los Angeles, it will be fascinating to see if both offenses will be able to light up the scoreboard against quality pitching.
Oregon is also a contender for the conference title. They have been outstanding in the circle with their deep pitching staff and that could be enough to help them win the Pac-12 if they can win the series in Seattle against the Huskies in a couple of weeks. Arizona State is a strong contender for a top eight seed and can help themselves lock that up with quality performances against Arizona and UCLA down the stretch.
Florida, Georgia, Texas A&M, and Tennessee are the key players in the SEC race as the Gators and Bulldogs are only separated by one game in the conference standings. Florida has done an excellent job of letting Kelly Barnhill set the tone in conference series and the offense has stepped up in key situations. Now, one thing the Gators will need to do is cleanup their midweek performances against in-state rivals as the offense has let them down against FIU, UCF, and Florida State. Oklahoma is cruising along through the Big 12 as expected and head coach Patty Gasso has managed the pitching staff very well so that Paige Parker and Paige Lowary can be fresh for the postseason.
The Sooners do have a tricky road trip this week playing Oregon and Oregon State, which should get their RPI a nice boost back towards the number top three spots. Michigan and Florida State have put the pieces together in the Big Ten and ACC and they look to be in firm control of their destiny in the quest for once again hosting Regionals. One other big overriding theme so far within the college softball season is just how critical execution is going to be for these teams as there is not a ton of difference between the top six to ten teams if you put them on a neutral field. Bottom line, college softball fans are going to be in for a wild ride down the stretch of the regular season so sit back buckle up and enjoy the ride.
ACC: Florida State, Notre Dame
American: Tulsa, South Florida, Wichita State
Big East: DePaul
Big 12: Baylor, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas
Big Ten: Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio State, Nebraska, Northwestern
Pac-12: Arizona, Arizona State, California, Oregon, Oregon State, UCLA, Washington
SEC: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Missouri, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas A&M
A-10: Massachusetts
America East: Umass-Lowell
A-Sun: Kennesaw State, Florida Gulf Coast
Big Sky: North Dakota
Big South: Liberty
Big West: Long Beach State
CAA: Hofstra, James Madison
C-USA: Louisiana Tech
Horizon: Northern Kentucky
Ivy: Harvard
MAAC: Monmouth
MAC: Toledo
MEAC: Florida A&M
MVC: Drake
MWC: San Jose State
NEC: St. Francis
OVC: Eastern Illinois
Patriot: Bucknell
Southern: UNC Greensboro
Southland: McNeese State
Summit: Western Illinois
Sun Belt: Louisiana, Texas State
SWAC: Texas Southern
WAC: New Mexico State