2013 Softball World Series Norman Regional Breakdown

2013 Softball World Series Norman Regional Breakdown

#1 Oklahoma, Arkansas, Fordham, Marist

Oklahoma, ranked #1 (47-4, 15-2 Big 12), fresh from sweeping a three-game series from archrival Oklahoma State, will host one of the NCAA Softball Regionals the weekend of May 17-19, and will play Marist (30-24,10-6 MAAC), an automatic qualifier from the MAAC. This will be the first time OU and Marist have met in softball with the game scheduled 7:30 Friday night at Marita Hynes Field at the OU Softball Complex.

Besides the Sooners and Marist, the other two teams competed  in the Norman Regional are Fordham (35-21, 15-7 A-10) playing  Arkansas (34-18, 12-10 SEC), which will be played Friday at 5 p.m. Friday’s winners will square off in Saturday’s first of three games while Friday’s two losers will face off in an elimination game later that night. The winner of Saturday’s final game will take on the winner of the day’s first game on Sunday with an if necessary game scheduled for later on Sunday.

Oklahoma has made the NCAA Tournament in each of head coach Patty Gasso’s 19 seasons. Last season, the Sooners swept through the both the Regional and Super Regionals to reach the Women’s College World Series for the seventh time in school history. The team ended up reaching the finals, losing in a three-game series to Alabama. After winning a three-game series against archrival OSU over the weekend, Gasso told the OU fans. “We plan to be back here for a regional and host it. We’re going to be here for a Super Regional, we’re going to win that. We’re going to the College World Series, take it one game at a time … and we’re going to win that.”

Arkansas is the No. 2 seed in the Norman Regional and will make their second tournament appearance in as many years. Fordham is the No. 3 seed and Marist is the No. 4 seed in the region. "Last year we were nervous about getting in," Arkansas head coach Mike Larabee said. "The players are excited to be back in the tournament. We have a lot of players from Oklahoma in our program and they are excited to play close to home." The team heads to Norman as winners of eight of their last ten games. The Razorbacks finished the regular season with a 34-18 record and a 12-10 mark in the SEC. Arkansas fell in the second round of the SEC Tournament to No. 7 Missouri, 8-0, on Friday.

"We have our work cut out for us," Larabee said. "We are a lot deeper this year and we are a better team. Playing in the SEC tested us. We have played some of the best competition in the country. I am confident in our girls, they will be ready to play." Last season, Arkansas advanced to its first NCAA Regional Final in program history. The Razorbacks defeated the Boston Terriers and the No. 1 overall seed California Golden Bears to advance to the final. Both wins were by a score of 3-2. The Hogs then went on to drop its final two games against Cal in Berkeley, Calif.

This will be the second time Marist has competed in the NCAA Softball Regional and the Red Foxes are coming off an exciting week of MAAC Tournament action in Poughkeepsie where they won three games to clinch its 2013 conference title. The Red Foxes defeated Fairfield, 3-1, Niagara, 2-0 and Fairfield, 4-1. Marist is led into the NCAA Tournament by a quartet of All-MAAC postseason award winners, including the MAAC Tournament Most Outstanding Player Emily Osterhaus who dominated her competition at the championship with a 3-0 record, 0.67 ERA and 14 strikeouts in 21 innings pitched. As a team, Marist is batting .286 with five hitters registering averages of .321 or better. The Red Foxes have a team ERA of 2.92 with 10 shutouts in 54 games. Marist first played in the NCAA Regional in 2006.

This will be the third appearance for Fordham in the NCAA Tournament and it has faced Arkansas in the past. In 2009, the Rams and Razorbacks played a nine-inning game and Arkansas won 7-3. Fordham and Marist have faced each other 17 times in the past with the Rams holding a 13-4 advantage.

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