Tuesday, June 06, 2017

WCWS Finals Game 2 (2017)

Getting ready for Game 2 between Florida and Oklahoma... Last night, OU played the wild-card with its starting pitcher, opting for usual closer Paige Lowary... Tonight, Florida's making an even bolder move, starting Aleshia Ocasio, who has pitched only five innings (herehere, and here) since April 30 (I misheard what the ESPN announcers initially said, leading me to think Ocasio had pitched very few innings all season; my apologies). In her first two years at UF (2015 and 2016), Ocasio pitched 136 and 146.1 innings, with ERA's of 2.01 and 0.77, respectively. However, with the emergence of Kelly Barnhill and Delanie Gourley in the circle for Florida, Ocasio has been playing mostly at third base this season...  The Sooners are the home team tonight...

TOP 1 -- Lead-off walk to Amanda Lorenz... Bunted to second... Pop-up for second out... Another walk... Soft liner to first, Shay Knighten fields on a bounce and steps on bag for third out...

BOTTOM 1 -- Nicole Mendes with lead-off homer off of Ocasio... 1-0 Sooners... Hard single to right... Force at second, and ground-out, give Sooners runner at second with two out... Infield interference by OU runner for third out...

TOP 2 -- Sophia Reynoso goes deep to tie game for Florida, 1-1... After two retired, Justine McLean doubles on flare just beyond third base... Lorenz up... ...and she walks... Nicole DeWitt singles to load bases... Ocasio coming up... With 3-2 count, Ocasio nails hard single to right, just eluding Knighten's mitt; 2-1 Florida, bases still loaded... OU takes out starting pitcher Paige Parker and, like Florida, brings in a fresh arm in Mariah Lopez... HBP to Kayli Kvistad, 3-1 Gators... Janell Wheaton with long foul-out down left-field line, to end inning...

BOTTOM 2 -- One-out single for Macey Hatfield... Followed by walk... Kelsey Arnold coming up for OU... Chopper in front of home loads bases, as Gators can't do anything with it... Mendes coming up... Gourley replacing Ocasio in the circle (Ocasio moves over to third base)... K for second out... Caleigh Clifton walks on 3-2 count, cutting Florida lead to 3-2... Knighten doubles to wall in right-center, clearing bases and making it 5-3 Sooners... Fale Aviu with infield single to third, which Ocasio can barely get glove on... Runners on the corners... With Pendley at bat, Aviu takes second as Gators not paying close attention on throw from catcher back to pitcher... Pendley flies out to right, ending inning...

TOP 3 -- Chelsea Herndon with two-out solo shot to center to cut Sooners' lead to 5-4... Nothing further for Gators...

BOTTOM 3 -- Sooners go quietly...

TOP 4 -- Deep fly-outs for first two Gator outs... K to close out the half-inning...

BOTTOM 4 -- Two-out single on flare to right by Caleigh Clifton... Knighten coming up... Knighten is human, after all, as she strikes out...

TOP 5 -- Another pitching shocker: Mendes, with only 17.2 innings pitched on the season, takes the circle for OU... Pop-up for first out... Grounder to third for second out... And grounder to third to end half-inning...

BOTTOM 5 -- One-out single to left by Pendley for OU... Kvistad snares low liner in the air at first, steps on bag for double play to end inning...

TOP 6 -- Line single to left by Florida's Jordan Roberts leads things off... OU goes to Paige Lowary to pitch... Ground-out on ball between first and second allows runner to get to second... Lowary still maintaining  mph velocities in the low 70s, despite heavy pitching in Game 1 (10.1 innings, 139 pitches)... Flare to left caught, as outfielder playing very shallow... Lorenz up with two outs... Big K for Lowary...

BOTTOM 6 -- An error puts one on, and she steals second, but no scoring...

TOP 7 -- Florida goes quietly (K, K, ground-out) and OU wins the Women's College World Series...

With nine runs scored in first two-and-one-half innings tonight (in the form of a 5-4 Sooner lead) and with a bunch of tired pitching arms from last night's 17-inning marathon, one might have expected the scoring to continue. But there were no runs scored in the final four innings tonight... OU now has won three of the last five WCWS titles (2013, 2016, and 2017), with Florida capturing the other two (2014 and 2015)...

Thanks for reading the College Softball Blog!

Monday, June 05, 2017

WCWS Finals Game 1 (2017)

Game 1 between Florida and Oklahoma will be starting momentarily. As we noted yesterday, we are guaranteed that, for the fifth year in a row, the champion will be either Florida (2014 and 2015 champions) or Oklahoma (2013 and 2016 champions). Florida will be the home team in tonight's opener...

TOP 1 -- Florida's Kelly Barnhill easily retires the Sooners, including two strikeouts.

BOTTOM 1 -- Paige Lowary, OU's fireball-throwing closer (approaching 75 mph on her pitches), is the surprise starter... Gators down in order...

TOP 2 -- Uneventful again...

BOTTOM 2 -- Interesting explanation by ESPN announcers of Sooners' defensive shift when Gators send up certain right-handed hitters. Basically, OU goes without a left-fielder, bringing her into the infield. Three infielders play to the right of second base and two play to the left of it... UF retired on three grounders...

TOP 3 -- Still no baserunners...

BOTTOM 3 -- With two outs, we have our first baserunner, as the Gators' Justine McLean beats out a short chopper... Nothing comes of it, as OU shortstop Kelsey Arnold makes nice grab of foul pop-up near grandstand...

TOP 4 -- Barnhill strikes out the side, raising her number of K's tonight to 7...

BOTTOM 4 -- Nicole DeWitt doubles off the wall in right-center for Florida with one out... A strikeout, Lowary's first of the evening, for the second out... Aleshia Ocasio with hard single up the middle, driving in DeWitt for 1-0 Gator lead. Ocasio to second on throw home... Another K...

TOP 5 -- Nicole Pendley with one-out double to wall in right-center, for Sooners' first hit... Sydney Romero singles to center to tie the game, 1-1... Popped bunt and strikeout end the half-inning...

BOTTOM 5 -- Three up, three down...

TOP 6 -- Nicole Mendes drives ball into right-field stands for 2-1 OU lead, with one out... No further scoring...

BOTTOM 6 -- Paige Parker out to pitch for Sooners... K on check-swing that was ruled a swing... Another K, swinging... DeWitt pops to 2B-person in shallow right...

TOP 7 -- Fale Aviu with lead-off single to left for OU... Nothing comes of it...

BOTTOM 7 -- Gators down to final three outs... Lead-off walk for Florida on 3-2 count... Force at second for first out... Pop to short for second out... Sophia Reynoso, also on 3-2 pitch, lofts shallow fly to left-center; outfielders, playing deep, can't quite get to it, bringing in tying run (2-2). Reynoso on second... Inning over, going to extras...

TOP 8 -- Delanie Gourley out to pitch for UF... Two grounders to short and a strikeout to end the half-inning...

BOTTOM 8 -- With one out, Amanda Lorenz drives ball deep to right for hit, but thrown out trying to stretch single into double. Two outs... Walk... K to end inning...

TOP 9 -- Lead-off hitter grounds out; throw was a little away from bag, but caught by 1B-person, who gets tangled with batter, and ump rules tag was applied... Next two batters also retired...

BOTTOM 9 -- Nothing doing...

TOP 10 -- Nothing doing...

BOTTOM 10 -- Two-out single for Gators... Pop-up ends inning...

TOP 11 -- With one out, OU's Arnold gets to first on dropped third-strike... Nothing comes of it...

BOTTOM 11 -- With one out, DeWitt's hard grounder ricochets off OU 1B-person for error... K looking at 3-2 pitch for second out... Fly to center ends inning...

TOP 12 -- Shay Knighten with lead-off double down left-field line... Aviu with two-run blast to right, 4-2 Sooners... Nothing further...

BOTTOM 12 -- Florida gets lead-off walk... Reynoso launches flare to right, just eluding OU 2B-person's glove... First and second with none out... Popped bunt for first out... K for second out... The dangerous Lorenz coming up... Lowary, the starting pitcher, coming back in... Lorenz doubles to wall in left-center, driving home two. Tied 4-4... Lorenz to third on throw home... Ground-out to third ends inning... We keep going!

TOP 13 -- Nothing going on...

BOTTOM 14 -- Zilch...

TOP 14 -- Bupkis...

BOTTOM 14 -- Nada...

TOP 15 -- Romero with a one-out single for OU... Two-out HBP gives Sooners runners on first and second. Per ESPN announcers, this is first free base (walk or HBP) allowed by Florida... Gourley has pitch slip out of hand, advancing runners a base each (at-bat ends up in a walk, anyway)... Bases loaded for Mendes... Force at third on grounder ends threat...

BOTTOM 15 -- Lead-off walk for Gators... Lorenz up... Hits perfect double-play ball, grounder to SS who steps on second and then throws to first... K to end inning...

TOP 16 -- Caleigh Clifton lines a double to the wall in left-center for OU... With a 2-0 count on Knighten, Gators bring back starting pitcher Barnhill... Knighten walks... Aviu gives another ball a good ride, but caught in right-center. Both runners tag-up and advance to second and third... Pendley draws what Jessica Mendoza calls an "unintentional, intentional walk"... Up comes Romero with bases loaded... Force at home on grounder to first, for second out... PH Kylie Lundberg at the plate... Strikeout... Sooners have no hits tonight with two outs...

BOTTOM 16 -- Janell Wheaton flares a one-out single to right for Gators... Traditional 6-4-3 double-play ends inning...

TOP 17 -- Two-out single, Sooners' first hit of any kind with two outs... HBP to next batter... "Knight-en Shining Armor" with three-run blast to left-field stands... 7-4 Sooners... Ground-out to end half-inning...

BOTTOM 17 -- Lead-off batter aboard on dribbler toward first that Lowary bobbles. Ruled a hit... Grounder to right finds it way through to outfield. Gators will runners on first and second, none out... Chelsea Herndon at the plate... Fielder's choice at second, but Herndon beats throw to first to avoid yet another double-play... McLean coming up (with Lorenz on-deck)... McLean beats out chopper to short... Lorenz up with bases loaded and one out... 0-2 on Lorenz... Lorenz sac-fly to center scores one (7-5 Sooners)... OU makes smart decision to throw to third, not home, keeping other runners on first and second... Kayli Kvistad up... 1-2 count... Strikeout swinging... The game that wouldn't end, ends! Good night folks!

Sunday, June 04, 2017

WCWS Day 4 (2017)

Florida is on to the championship round, having eliminated Washington by a 5-2 score.

Oregon and Oklahoma are now playing, with the Sooners needing to beat the Ducks just once to advance, whereas Oregon would need to defeat Oklahoma twice... Even though Oklahoma is well-known as "OU" and Oregon as "UO," I'll refrain from using these abbreviations to avoid confusion... Game is scoreless, bottom 2, but the Sooners are threatening with runners at the corners and two outs... Grounder near second base leads to easy force-out to retire Oklahoma... Lauren Lindvall leads off top of third with double for Ducks, but popped-up bunt, fly-out, and short bloop caught by pitcher Paige Parker quickly ends half-inning... Single and stolen base give Ducks runner on second with one out, top 4... Infield pop for second out... Fly-out ends half-inning... Top 5: Danica Mercado drills two-run homer to right, making it 2-0 Ducks... Oklahoma lead-off batter in bottom half bunts, ends up on second after errant throw to first. Ball looked like it probably was foul, rolling back behind first-base foul-line... Single puts runners at the corners, none out... Runner on first "steals" second on "defensive indifference"... Grounder to short, ill-advised throw home to try to get runner from third. Not close, and runner gets to first... 2-1 Ducks... Runners bunted to second and third, one out... Shay Knighten bloop single to right scores both runners, 3-2 Sooners... Knighten steals second on very close play... Infield pop for second out... Nicole Pendley belts double to the wall in right, scoring Knighten, now 4-2 Oklahoma... Miranda Elish (rhymes with relish) replacing Megan Kleist in the circle for Oregon... Ground-out ends Oklahoma rally... Ducks go down without a quack in top 6... Nothing for Sooners in bottom half, either... Oregon coming up for last stand in top of seventh... Sooners bring in reliever Paige Lowary, she of the fastball approaching 75 mph, to start off seventh... Grounder to short for first out... Grounder to second for second out... Fly to center ends it, 4-2 Oklahoma...

Sooners advance to championship round vs. Florida, a two-out-of-three series beginning Monday night... We are guaranteed that for fifth straight year, the national champion will be either Oklahoma (which won it in 2013 and 2016) or Florida (which won it in 2014 and 2015)... Short day today, as neither Washington nor Oregon could force an extra game against their respective opponents...

Saturday, June 03, 2017

WCWS Day 3 (2017)

"Survival Saturday" it's called, and the concept is simple: You lose today and you're done for the season. The first two games (Texas A&M-UCLA and Oregon-Baylor) involve teams who lost their opening WCWS games on Thursday. Each survivor of an early Saturday game will play again later today, against one of the Friday losers (LSU or Washington). To help follow the action, I have the following chart. Commentary on each of today's games will appear below the chart.

No LossesOne LossTwo Losses (Gone)
FloridaTexas A&MTexas A&M
OklahomaUCLAUCLA

Oregon

BaylorBaylor

LSULSU

Washington






HTML Tables

Texas A&M is the first team going home, after its 8-2 loss to UCLA. The Bruins will face Washington sometime later today...

Oregon leads Baylor 2-0 in today's second game, which is currently in a rain delay , with Baylor scheduled to be batting in the bottom of the second. The Ducks seem to be coping OK... It's now 3:45 pm Central and the game is set to resume in about five minutes... Oregon adds two runs in top of third, Baylor scoreless in bottom half, so it's 4-0 Ducks... ESPN graphic shows that Baylor's 3-4-5 hitters (Ari Hawkins, Shelby Friudenberg, and Shelby McGlaun) were collectively 0-12 in the WCWS, prior to last inning (now 0-13)... Baylor batting in bottom of the fifth, now trailing 5-0... HBP and bobbled grounder put Bears on first and second with none out (ruled an infield hit)... Oregon fielding follies continue -- throw to third on infield grounder, attempting to get force on leader runner, goes awry. Baylor scores (cutting Oregon lead to 5-1) and ends up with runners on second and third... Grounder retires batter for first out, but runners advance, scoring second Baylor run (5-2 Oregon) and bringing runner to third... Single makes it 5-3... Hawkins bunts (apparently trying for base hit); thrown out at first, but advances runner to second...  Friudenberg gets first hit for "big three" in line-up, with sharp single to center. Runner scores from second, making it 5-4 Ducks... McGlaun strike-out ends inning... Two-out triple for Jenna Lilley, top 6, as Ducks seek insurance run... Oregon retired without scoring... Same for Baylor in sixth inning... Top 7: Ducks' lead-off batter reaches first on throwing error, bunted to second, singled to third... HBP loads bases with one out... Mia Camuso doubles to wall in left-center, bringing in two, to give Oregon 7-4 lead. Ducks with runners on second and third, just one out... K for second out... Short pop-up ends half-inning... Baylor coming up in bottom of seventh... Walk, single, and single load bases for Baylor, with no outs... Hawkins coming up. Tying run on base, winning run at the plate. Oregon pitching change: Maggie Balint out, Megan Kleist in... Hawkins down on called third strike (may have been a little low)... Friudenberg up with one out... Strikes out swinging, for second out... McGlaun is Baylor's last stand... Grounds out to pitcher... Final score: Oregon 7, Baylor 4... Bears eliminated... Ducks to play LSU late tonight...

UCLA and Washington underway, with Huskies batting in top of second, scoreless. U-Dub got lead-off runner on, bunted to second (one out)... Chopper to short, runner tagged out in rundown between second and third. Batter gets to first on fielder's choice, two down... K ends half-inning... More good D: Huskies' LF makes running catch in bottom of second... Bruin SS Delaney Spaulding makes another big defensive play, top 3. Lead-off single and passed-ball give U-Dub runner on second. Spaulding snares hard chopper, throws runner out at third. Huskies go quietly to end half-inning... Bruins go quietly in bottom of third, still scoreless... Top 4: Washington again gets lead-off hitter on first, but thrown out stealing... Bottom 4: UCLA gets lead-off walk, bunted to second (one out)... Runner to third on wild-pitch/passed-ball... K for second out... Rachel Garcia intentionally walked... Gabrielle Maurice, involved in controversial home-plate collision earlier today vs. Texas A&M, now trying to drive in run(s) for UCLA... Nice catch by Husky 3B-person on hard liner to end Bruin threat... U-Dub down quietly in top of fifth... In bottom half, UCLA gets two-out double to wall in right-center by Zoe Shaw... Spaulding strikes out (third time in this game) to end threat... Ali Aguilar leads off top of sixth for Washington with deep homer to right-field, not merely over outfield fence, but (apparently) over back fence of stadium... 1-0 Huskies... Bruins coming up, bottom 6, needing a run to tie the game... Two-out walk keeps UCLA at-bats going... Ground-out ends inning... Going to the seventh... Nothing doing for Washington, UCLA needs at least a run to stick around... Ground-out to deep short for first out... Nice catch out in right-center of UCLA flare, two out... Fly-out to deep center ends it... 1-0 Washington... Bruins eliminated...

Oregon's Gwen Svekis goes deep to give the Ducks a 2-0 lead over LSU, bottom 1... Shannon Rhodes adds a two-out double down the left-field line for Oregon... But K ends threat... LSU's Shemiah Sanchez goes solo to cut Ducks' lead in half, 2-1, top 2... Ducks add a run in the bottom of the third to make it 3-1, but leave the bases loaded with two outs... In the fourth, LSU failed to score on a first-and-third situation with one out, and Oregon did likewise with a runner on third with one out... Still 3-1 Oregon... Bottom 5: Two-out single, just eluding LSU 3B-person's glove, drives in Oregon run to increase lead to 4-1. Batter to second on throw home... Grounder to short; SS holds runner on second, but doesn't have time to throw to first, now two on... Ground-out ends Duck threat... Oregon wins 4-1, as last couple of innings go uneventfully... LSU eliminated...

On Sunday, Washington will be matched up with Florida. The Gators only need one win to advance to the championship round, whereas the Huskies must beat UF twice... Oregon is matched up with Oklahoma, with the Sooners needing only one win and the Ducks, two...

Friday, June 02, 2017

WCWS Day 2 (2017)

Two games today, both winners' bracket match-ups.

In the opener, Florida and LSU are scoreless, with the Tigers batting in the bottom of the third... A walk, HBP, and double give the Gators a 2-0 lead, top 4... With two out, LSU botches play at first after grounder to pitcher. Batter safe, but when UF runner from second tries to score, she's thrown out at plate, ending half-inning. Replay suggests runner's hand might have gotten to plate before tag, but there are no replay appeals... Not much drama the rest of the way, as Florida wins 7-0...

Oklahoma and Washington just underway, with the Huskies the home team... Top 2: Oklahoma scores runner from third on two-out bunt, giving Sooners 1-0 lead. Sure looks to me like OU runner went out of the baseline to get around catcher... Infield hit loads bases for Oklahoma... Force out at second ends Sooner threat... OU adds two singles to a U-Dub error in the top of the fifth, making it 2-0 Sooners... Teams trade solo homers in the sixth --  Sydney Romero for OU in the top half, Ali Aguilar for UW in the bottom half -- yielding a 3-1 Sooner lead heading to the seventh... Huskies get a runner on in bottom half, but OU "turns the Paige" (from Parker to Lowary) to stymie UW. Lowary, hitting 74 mph on some of her pitches, gets final two outs of 3-1 OU victory.

Thursday, June 01, 2017

WCWS Day 1 (2017)

Today features four opening-round games of the Women's College World Series. In three of these games, the teams are from the same conference: Florida vs. Texas A&M (both from the SEC), Oregon vs. Washington (both Pac 12), and Oklahoma vs. Baylor (both Big 12). The exception to all the intraconference play is the match-up of UCLA (Pac 12) and LSU (SEC).

Florida is threatening to blow out Texas A&M, as the Gators lead 5-0 in the bottom of the fourth, and have runners at first and second with one out... Aleshia Ocasio promptly homers, making it 8-0... That score is the final, as Florida wins in run-rule fashion...

LSU has edged UCLA, 2-1, in the second game of the day...

Washington bests Oregon, 3-1...

And in the final game of the day, Oklahoma leads Baylor, 4-1, with the Sooners batting in the bottom of the second... Sooners close it out, 6-3. Was 6-1 OU entering Baylor (top) half of seventh and shaky Sooner infield defense helped Bears score a couple of runs.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Super-Regional Tracker -- Sunday (2017)

Today, barring any weather-related issues, the super-regional tracking board will be completed and we'll have our field for the Women's College World Series. There are four decisive Game 3's today. Comments on the games are shown below the table.

TeamsGame 1Game 2Game 3
Alabama (16) at Florida (1)*AlabamaFloridaFlorida
Baylor (15) at Arizona (2)**ArizonaBaylorBaylor
Kentucky (14) at Oregon (3)**OregonOregon---
LSU (13) at Florida State (4)**FSULSULSU
Mississippi (12) at UCLA (5)*UCLAUCLA---
Utah (11) at Washington (6)**WashingtonUtahWashington
Oklahoma (10) at Auburn (7)**OklahomaOklahoma---
Texas A&M (9) at Tennessee (8)**TennesseeA&MA&M
*Thursday, Friday, and Saturday (if necessary)
**Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (if necessary). 

LSU has come back from an opening-game loss on Friday to win its super-regional, with a 6-4 decision today over Florida State. LSU's win ensures that the SEC will have three teams in the WCWS (Florida is already in, and Texas A&M and Tennessee, who are facing each other, are both from the SEC).

Talking about Texas A&M and Tennessee, the Aggies lead 4-3 after three, but the tarps are out in Knoxville during a rain delay. According to the Tennessee Twitter feed, the delay is not expected to be long... Aggies add one more run and win 5-3 to advance...

Baylor comes up with one in the top of the first at Arizona, failing to score more with runners on second and third with one out. 1-0 Baylor... After one-out intentional walk to Katiyana Mauga, Mo Mercado doubles to wall in left-center, giving Wildcats runners at second and third... Wild-pitch brings Mauga home, but Mercado rounds third too aggressively and thrown out in run-down... Two-out single keeps inning alive... But, fly-out to right ends inning for U of A... Shelby Friudenberg socks two-run homer to left to give Bears a 3-1 lead, one out, top 3; Friudenberg had RBI double in first... Shelby McGlaun doubles deep to center... K for second out... Grounder to first retires Baylor... Key at-bat for Mercado and Arizona, trailing 3-1, with two outs, bases loaded, bottom 5... High infield chopper, allowing no play for Baylor, scores run and leaves bases loaded. 3-2 Baylor... Jessie Harper singles up the middle, but only one run scores. Tied 3-3... Fly to left ends inning... Bears with a two-out threat, top 6, on back-to-back singles... Third straight single, by Kyla Walker, appears to give Baylor 4-3 lead; however, as replay clearly confirms, Baylor runner never stepped on third base en route to home plate. Inning is over and run taken off the board... Lead-off triple for Wildcats' Dejah Mulipola, as pop to shallow right eludes diving fielder ... Flare single to left gives U of A 4-3 lead... Another single gives Wildcats first and second, none out, bottom 6... Gia Rodoni in to pitch for Bears, replacing Kelsee Selman... Bunt advances runners to second and third, one out... Bunt single loads bases... Baylor's consistently been walking Mauga, but can't now, with bases loaded... Mauga flies out to center, not deep enough for runner to tag, two outs... Walk makes it 5-3 Zona... K ends inning... Baylor needs two (or more) runs or its season is over... Interesting move by Arizona, as Danille O'Toole pulled before start of seventh, replaced by Taylor McQuillin... Lead-off double to CF wall by Ari Hawkins gets Bears off to good start, top 7... The dangerous Friudenberg gets intentional pass... McGlaun homers to center, giving Baylor 6-5... Infield single for Bears; even if 2B-person fielded it cleanly, it would have been hard to get batter at first; bunted pop-up for first out... K for second out... Fly to right ends inning... Now, Arizona faces a score-or-stay-home situation... Walk, but out stealing on wild-pitch/passed-ball, leaves U of A with one down... Another walk... After Ball 1 to next batter, Baylor brings back Selman... Two outs, runners on first and second in Wildcats' last stand... Grounder to second sends Bears to WCWS...

Utah and Washington underway in their traditional late-night slot... Huskies score a run in first inning to lead 1-0, but leave runners at first and second... Washington prevails 2-1, to advance... Quite a turnaround from the 17 runs these two teams combined for in Saturday's game!