Softball Super Regionals Breakdown

Super Regionals Breakdown

Berkeley Super Regional – California vs. Washington

Pac-12 rivals University of Washington and California will slug it out for a spot to the final eight of the Women’s College World Series. The Huskies went undefeated (3-0) in the opening round of regionals shutting out Harvard 4-0 to make it to the Super Regionals, which will be in Berkeley. After a shocking loss in their second game of regionals to the Arkansas Razorbacks, the Bears beat Iona and Boston University to climb into the finals to again face the Razorbacks. Cal solidified their spot in Super Regionals topping Arkansas 10-2 and forcing a game two where they shutout the Razorbacks in a decisive 7-0 victory. 

Earlier this season, Cal swept Washington in the three game set, helping in their rise to the top of the national rankings. However, the Huskies played the Bears tough in each game and did not lose by more than two runs in any game. On paper, Cal is the clear favorite with dominating pitching from junior Jolene Henderson and the offensive prowess of senior Valerie Arioto, but do not count out the Huskies. They could surprise the number one seed.  


Columbia Super Regional – Missouri vs. LSU

The battle of the Tigers should be a very interesting one. Missouri took care of business in the Regionals, knocking off Illinois State twice and DePaul. In those three games they only allowed one run. That is what happens when Chelsea Thomas is on top of her game. The junior pitched 22 innings over the three days and struck out 28 batters. She was virtually unhittable.  LSU will find it difficult to get many runs against Thomas as well. Like their Tiger counterparts, LSU made it through the Regional Round without losing a game. That is a pretty impressive feat considering LSU had to travel to seeded Texas A&M.

Yet, just like Missouri, LSU won with their pitching. In the three games they allowed just one run, but they only scored five. This will be a great battle between Missouri’s Thomas and LSU’s Rachele Fico and Brittany Mack. Pitching will dominate the series, but whoever can find a way to score a couple runs will advance to the Women’s College World Series.


Tampa Super Regional – South Florida vs. Hofstra

Few expected the Bulls to meet the Pride with a trip to the College World Series on the line. But here we are. South Florida is making their second ever appearance in a Super Regional after knocking off Florida 1-0 in the final. The Bulls finished the weekend with victories over Florida, UCF and Florida Gulf Coast. Pitcher Sara Nevins led the Bulls to victory over the Gators and picked up wins in the other two games as well. Her dominating pitching was even too much for a very talented, albeit shorthanded, Florida squad. Pitching was the name of the game in the Los Angeles Regional as well, but Hofstra got off to a great start thanks to their big bats in a 7-2 win over UCLA. After that they shut out San Diego State to reach the finals and beat the Aztecs again, this time 2-1, to reach the Super Regionals.

Hofstra’s Olivia Galati pitched three great games and all the Pride had to do was put a run or two on the board. With Galati going up against Nevins, the story will be the same for USF. Whichever team can generate some runs, whether it be from one big swing, a well-timed base hit or a mistake from the opposition, will find themselves as the unlikely squad making a trip to Oklahoma City.


Norman Super Regional – Oklahoma vs. Arizona

In a Super Regional rematch from 2011, the number 13 seed University of Arizona will meet the number 4 seed University of Oklahoma in the first game of the Norman Super Regional. The Wildcats offense exploded outscoring their opponents 26-5 in three games going undefeated in the Tucson Regional. Arizona defeated North Dakota State and Notre Dame twice to make it into the Super Regional. In the Norman Regional the Sooners devastated Lehigh, Tulsa and Oregon State outscoring their opposition 32-4.

Last year, Oklahoma traveled to Arizona where the Sooners swept the Wildcats to make the final eight. Oklahoma junior pitcher Kelani Ricketts blanked the Wildcats striking out 13 in game one. In game two, Ricketts gave up two earned runs and added 7 more strikeouts to total 20 in two games. In order to reach the final eight and go for their 9th NCAA Women’s College World Series Championship, the Wildcats will have to solve the riddle that is Kelani Ricketts. This will be the first meeting between these two powerhouses this season. 


Tempe Super Regional – Arizona State vs. Louisiana

The number 3 seed and defending NCAA Champions, Arizona State Sun Devils will be hosting the number 14 seed University of Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns in the Tempe Super Regional. The Sun Devils were cruising through their regional until they were upset by Syracuse in a 1-0 loss in their final. After the Orange forced a game two, Arizona State blanked Syracuse 4-0 to reach the Super Regionals. The Cajuns went undefeated, going 3-0 in the Lafayette Regional. Louisiana opened with the 8-0 victory in six innings over Mississippi Valley State in the first round and then went on to take two from Arizona State’s Pac-12 rival, Stanford.

Arizona State and Louisiana met up earlier this season at the Judi Garman Classic where the Cajuns defeated the defending champs 9-2. Louisiana’s potent offense is led by power hitting Christi Orgeron, who has collected 22 homeruns and 94 RBIs, and Nerissa Meyers, who slammed 13 homeruns and tallied 79 RBIs. The Sun Devils will have to discover how to keep the Cajuns off the bases if they want to continue their repeat bid.


Austin Super Regional –Texas vs. Oregon

The Longhorns got off to a slow start during regional play. They lost their opener to Northwestern by a score of 2-0. To advance to the Super Regional, they would have to win four games in two days. Outscoring the opposition by a score of 26-2, Coach Connie Clark certainly had her squad ready to make a run. And now the run will continue in Austin as Oregon comes to town with a trip to Oklahoma City on the line. The Ducks had a little easier time at home beating Portland State and BYU twice. Pitcher Jessica Moore again performed very well and there was enough power in the bats of players like Samantha Pappas and Christie Nieto to allow the Ducks to take control of the group.

The questions surrounding Texas were about their pitching and the inconsistencies of Blaire Luna. When Texas had to win two games last Sunday, Luna shutout the Wildcats on both occasions. And that was not a Northwestern team that is light at the plate. But those consistency concerns will rear their ugly head yet again. If Luna pitches like she did during the first weekend of the tournament, Texas will survive to make it to the last weekend. Oregon has enough weapons in the circle and at the plate to make Luna and the Longhorns pay for any mistakes and they would like to make their third time at a Super Regional the charm.


Knoxville Super-Regional – Georgia vs. Tennessee

A pair of top 15 teams and SEC rivals will face off in Knoxville for the right to move on to Oklahoma City. The big thing here, of course, is these teams have already seen each other in a doubleheader and this series could be a dandy. Georgia won the first game of the doubleheader, 3-1, in 11 innings, thanks in part to RBI singles by Paige Wilson and Ashley Razey in the top of the 11th inning. Erin Arevalo allowed one run on one hit for the win. Tennessee took the second game, 2-1, even though Georgia pitcher Morgan Montemayor pitched a complete game with six strikeouts and just four hits. Madison Shipman’s two-run single in the third inning provided the big power for the Volunteers. Georgia (44-15) has Krysten Sandberg (.364-19-51), and Wilson (.343-9-45) isn’t too far behind. Although Razey’s .183 batting average ranks at the bottom of the starting lineup, she does have 10 homers and 32 RBIs so there is some pop in that bat. Stolen-base power comes from Tess Sito (23), Niaja Griffin (22) and Anna Swafford (19). Sito also carries a pretty big bat (.313-8-35) so Georgia can come at you from all directions. Arevalo carries a 26-7 record with 256 strikeouts and a 1.37 ERA.

Tennessee (50-11) has a dual threat in the Renfroe sisters, Ellen (27-3, 1.21, 273 strikeouts and 15 shutouts) and Ivy (23-8, 1.74, 181 strikeouts, nine shutouts). When you consider nearly half of Tennessee’s victories were shutouts at the hands of a Renfroe, that’s pretty scary. Raven Chavanne has a .439 batting average with little pop in her bat (14 RBIs), but she makes up for it with 75 hits, 32 steals and 43 runs scored. Shipman (19), Lauren Gibson (16) and Kat Dotson (13) also have speed on the basepaths. Gibson (.320-13-46) and Shipman (.327-10-63) are the home run hitters.


Tuscaloosa Super-Regional – Alabama vs. Michigan

The Southeastern Conference meets the Big Ten as two prominent softball programs meet up in Tuscaloosa for the right to move on to Oklahoma City and the College Softball World Series. Alabama carries a 53-7 record into the super-regional round, having beaten Tennessee-Martin 5-1 and swept South Alabama 5-2 and 6-0 to win the championship. The Crimson Tide have not faced Michigan (42-15) this year, nor have they seen any Big Ten teams on their non-conference schedule.

Alabama has not lost since May 7, when it dropped an 8-5 decision to Fordham in the final game of the regular season, just before the SEC tournament started. In SEC play Alabama beat Mississippi State, Georgia and Florida and qualified for the NCAA tournament. Senior outfielder Jennifer Fenton has a .381 batting average with 61 runs, 64 hits, four home runs and 38 runs batted in; Fenton also has 43 stolen bases in 45 attempts. Junior outfielder Kayla Braud has 39 steals and is poised to take over the team lead in speed when Fenton graduates. Plenty of power exists in the lineup. Kaila Hunt (.319-19-70) and Amanda Locke (.322-17-51) are the top home run hitters, and Jackie Traina and Cassie Reilly-Boccia each have nine homers. Traina is also the top pitcher on the team with a 35-2 record, 1.68 earned run average and 301 strikeouts.

Michigan has experience with SEC squads, having scored a 3-0 win over Kentucky, a 3-1 win over Mississippi State, a 4-0 shutout of Auburn. The Wolverines don’t have a lot of speed, as Bree Evans and Lyndsay Doyle lead the team with six stolen bases. Ashley Lane (.273-11-39) is the team’s top home run threat, and Amanda Chidester (.351-9-45) has both high average and power. A potential explosive threat for the Wolverines is Sara Driesenga, a freshman pitcher and first baseman who had 35 hits, six homers and 21 RBIs in just 98 at-bats. Driesenga had a walk-off hit in the first game against Kentucky.