Softball Games of the Week (2/21 - 2/24)

California College Softball

Softball Games of the Week (2/21 - 2/24)


Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic

#1 Oklahoma vs. #13 Georgia, Thursday 2/21  1 pm PT, Cathedral City

The Sooners continue to look and play like the best team in the country.  At 10-0, they have pitched six shutouts, allowing more than two runs only twice.  Surprise, Michelle Gascoigne leads the team with five wins in the circle.  Keilani Ricketts does have four.  OU is batting .312 as a team, which is fifth in the Big 12, but they have hit 17 home runs; the most in the league.  The proper context for some of those numbers is, they have played four top 25 teams and soundly beat them all, allowing zero runs in each of those contests.  Georgia is 6-2, starting now to get going, as their large freshman class led by Geri Ann Glasco, finds its way.  The Bulldogs power is down so far with just three players hitting long balls against less than top competition.  In the circle they are adequate but not dominant.  Against the Sooners, that is a formula for disaster.  Look for the experience and big bats of OU to school the young ones from Athens.


#1 Oklahoma vs. #17 Arizona, Thursday 2/21  3:30 pm PT, Cathedral City

The good news for OU, since they play back-to-back, is that they have two very good pitchers and both Gascoigne and Keilani Ricketts can handle the load against Arizona.  The Wildcats’ (8-2) pitching has not controlled the Sooner bats in recent tilts and the addition of Estela Pinon and Nancy Bowling will not likely change that.  To this point in the season, no bat in the Wildcat lineup is particularly scary.  The Wildcats will look to get their first win this season over a top team.  It will be a tall order.


#5 Florida vs. #11 Missouri, Friday 2/22  12:30 PT, Cathedral City

This will be a great SEC non-conference matchup.  These two teams do not play this year in conference, so it is a good deal for the fans to get to see this contest.  The Gators are 12-0 and have beaten Arizona, Cal and Oregon.  Freshman Kelsey Stewart leads off for Coach Walton’s team and is setting the pace.  She’s hitting .488 with nine extra base hits, and three home runs.  Hannah Rogers and Lauren Haeger have been excellent in the circle, leading a staff that has hurled shutouts in half their games.  Missouri comes into the weekend 5-0.  The Tigers are solid as ever and with Chelsea Thomas in the circle have the ability to win against any opponent.  The offense averaged close to nine runs a game last weekend, led by this week’s SEC Player of the Week senior Nicole Hudson and sophomore Corrin Genovese.  Hudson is hitting .583 with five bombs.  Genovese hit .636 in four games.  Expect a low scoring affair unless, like in the past, Walton’s crew gets on Thomas’ changeup early.  This should be a fantastic game.


#4 Tennessee vs. #16 UCLA, Friday 2/22  1 pm PT, Cathedral City

The Vols are 10-0.  So far they have beaten up on unranked opponents, pitching five shutouts, winning four by run-rule.  This matchup will be their toughest so far this season.  Tennessee is clearly one of the most talented teams in the country with Ellen and Ivy Renfroe leading the way in the circle and a bevy of super athletic hitters including, Lauren Gibson, Cheyanne Tarango, Hannah Akamine, Raven Chavanne and Madison Shippman.  UCLA may have returned to their more usual form, an opening week loss to a talented Texas A&M squad, notwithstanding. The 8-1 Bruins are scoring loads of runs, as usual, really dialing it up in Vegas last weekend, notching 48 runs in five games.  Senior OF B.B. Bates is off to an unbelievable start and had one of the best five game stretches in memory.  She mashed nine homers in five games, delivering 20 RBI.  They are batting .350 as a team.  It will be interesting to see who UCLA throws against the Vols’ high energy offense.  This will certainly be a fun and semi-high scoring contest.


#13 Georgia vs. #15 Stanford, Friday 2/22  1 pm PT, Cathedral City

The Bulldogs’ arms will be challenged to keep the 10-2 Cardinal under control.  Stanford is averaging well over six runs per game.  Kelsey Stevens and Teagan Gerhart will make it tough on the inexperienced Georgia hitters.


#20 Florida State vs. #21 Washington, Friday 2/22  3 pm PT, Cathedral City

Florida State is 7-2 with two losses to Tulsa last weekend.  The offense is up over last year, led by Tiffani Brown’s .469 batting average.  Brianna Hamilton has three home runs.  The Seminoles real strength is in the circle.  Lacey Waldrop is 3-0 with a 0.39 ERA.  UW (6-5) is coming off a tough weekend that saw them lose to Kentucky, Oklahoma and then Cal Poly.  Look for Coach Tarr’s bunch to bounce back in Palm Springs. 


#7 California vs. Georgia Tech, Friday 2/22  3:30 PT, Cathedral City

Cal is 7-2 and rebounded last weekend with four wins, two shutouts and one run-rule.  Lindsey Ziegenhirt has hit five long balls so far and is batting .357.  The Golden Bears will count on Jolene Henderson’s arm to quiet the Yellow Jacket bats.  Georgia Tech stumbled at home last weekend, losing twice to Indiana.  Make no mistake, Tech goes as Hope Rush goes.  She is their best pitcher, but is a little bit up and down.  Offensively, Rush leads her squad with five homers, a .429 average and 19 RBI.  Cal should get the best of this matchup.


#1 Oklahoma vs. #20 Florida State, Saturday 2/23 9:30 am PT, Cathedral City

Florida State’s quality pitching staff will be tested here.  They will need to be at their best.  The Seminole hitters will be tested by whichever OU pitcher they face.


#5 Florida vs. Georgia Tech, Saturday 2/23  9:30 am PT, Cathedral City

If Georgia Tech does not come back with Hope Rush in this game, it is not likely to be much of a contest.  The Gators feast on non-elite pitching.


#13 Georgia vs. #21 Washington, Saturday 2/23  10 am PT, Cathedral City

This game will be a great measuring stick for two programs working to find themselves.  Both squads will gather some quality experience in this game.


#8 LSU vs. #17 Arizona, Saturday 2/23  5 pm  PT, Cathedral City

LSU is 10-1.  The only loss was a close one to a quality North Carolina team.  Offensively, the Tigers are a new look squad, averaging 5.5 runs per game, up from 3.2 in 2012.  Leading the way are Bianka Bell and Allison Falcon.  Bell is hitting .407 with two home runs.  Falcon has six extra base hits, five double and a homer.  She’s hitting .375.  Rachael Fico continues to be one of the nation’s best at 6-0 with a 0.38 ERA.  She has 51 K’s in 36.2 innings.  Watch for the Tigers to out duel the Wildcats if Fico gets the ball.


#8 LSU vs. #16 UCLA, Sunday 2/24 9 am PT, Cathedral City

This will be an excellent contest if Fico throws against the Bruins.  The Tigers have the chance to beat Arizona and UCLA in back-to-back days, but without their best in the circle for both, it could be tough.


#20 Florida State vs. #15 Stanford, Sunday 2/24  11:30 am PT, Cathedral City


Lead off Classic Clearwater Florida

#12 Louisiana vs. #19 Michigan, Thursday 2/22  1 pm EST, Clearwater, FL

The 7-1 Ragin Cajuns won this game last year 10-7.  Jordan Wallace is coming off an excellent rookie campaign where she went 27-2. Currently at 5-0, with a 0.50 ERA, she leads the Louisiana staff.  Four Cajun hitters are above .400 led by Sarah Draheim (.500, 3 HR’s), Brianna Cherry (.455, 2 HR’s), Sara Corbello (.450) and Shelli Landry (.423, 2 HR’s).  Michigan is 6-2 with a one-run losses to USF and LIU Brooklyn, a surprising result for the Wolverines, for sure, but will certainly help Coach Hutchins get her team’s attention.  Sara Driesenga is handling 80 percent of the innings for the Wolverines and is 5-1 with a 0.85 ERA, striking out 34 in 41 frames.  They will need her against the Cajuns.  She is also carrying the load at the plate, hitting .421 with a team leading 11 RBI.


#12 Louisiana vs. #18 South Florida, Thursday 2/22  5 pm EST, Clearwater, FL

South Florida went 3-2 last weekend, losing big to Tennessee with their star Sara Nevins in the circle and splitting with NC State.  South Florida is 6-3 and hard pressed to score runs, averaging just three per contest.  They are slugging .358 as a team with just one home run.  USF needs to pitch their best to keep this a close game.