Thursday, February 23, 2017

2017 Mary Nutter (Cathedral City) Classic

The second (more extensive) weekend of play gets underway today in the annual Mary Nutter Classic. The tournament is played in Cathedral City, California, near Palm Springs.

Nearly half of the 35 teams playing this weekend are ranked nationally, including consensus No. 1 Florida State and No. 4/5 Oklahoma. Eight of the nine softball-fielding schools in the Pac 12 are playing this weekend in Cathedral City (the exception is Oregon, which was part of the Nutter's first weekend).

Monday, February 13, 2017

Weekend Round-Up (February 9-12, 2017)

No one could run the table at the Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, tournament.

Auburn, which won the opener over Oklahoma, lost to Washington, 2-1, in 10 innings later that same day.

Washington also beat Oklahoma, 1-0, giving the Sooners a 2-2 record in the event.

However, Washington lost, 4-2 to BYU, depriving the Huskies of a perfect record in Puerto Vallarta.

Over in Tampa, the University of Florida swept its five games in the USF-Wilson DeMarini tournament. The Gators' weekend included a 10-inning, 2-1, win over Michigan. The Wolverines also fell to host South Florida, 6-4, in the tourney.

It's obviously very early in the season, but it looks like the top teams are going to be very competitive with each other.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Auburn Defeats Oklahoma in 2017 Season Opener

No. 2 Auburn beat No. 1 Oklahoma, 3-2, in the season-opening Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, tournament. The Tigers were in control most of the game, with the Sooners' two runs coming in the bottom of the seventh.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

2017 Preseason Polls

Welcome to the College Softball Blog for the 2017 season, which begins this weekend. The blog, now in its 12th season, has a new look, which I hope you like!

Three preseason polls are out, the longstanding ones from ESPN/USA Softball and USA Today/NFCA, plus one from a newcomer, Flo Softball (see links in the right-hand column). I have compiled the rankings and averaged them to get an overall impression. You may click on the following graphic to enlarge it.


Defending NCAA champion Oklahoma is ranked No. 1 in all three polls. Last year's runner-up Auburn is ranked No. 2 in the average of the three polls, followed by Florida State, Florida, and LSU.

Oklahoma and Auburn get right back on the diamond against each other, opening the season tomorrow in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico at 1:00 Central (televised on ESPN U).

Another match-up of top teams will occur Saturday morning, as Florida and Michigan face off in the University of South Florida tournament.

A season preview by Graham Hays of ESPN-W is available here.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

2016 WCWS Championship Round -- Game 3

The deciding game for the national championship is underway...

Two Oklahoma singles, combined with two Auburn errors, put two runs across for Sooners in bottom of first... 2-0 OU...

Auburn leaves runners on first and second in top second, as Paige Parker's change-up fools Auburn batter for strikeout... OU can't build on a one-out single in the bottom half...

Tigers get first two runners on in top of third -- Parker drops soft pop-up to her, then Auburn bunt goes for base-hit...  Kasey Cooper flares a single to right-center, loading the bases for Emily Carosone, who hit last night's walk-off grand slam... Carosone strikes out on three pitches... Carlee Wallace up... Grounds into 6-4-3 double-play to end threat... Sooners don't score in bottom half, leaving runner on first...

Leadoff homer to left from Jade Rhodes cuts Tiger deficit to 2-1... Haley Fagan walks on full count... Nothing more for Auburn in top of fourth... Two-out walk for OU in bottom half... Ground-out on chopper to third (close play at first) ends inning...

Auburn down in order in top of fifth... Likewise Oklahoma in the bottom half... Not much to write about!

Same for Auburn in top of sixth... One-out single up the middle for Fale Aviu... After Nicole Pendley fly-out, Kady Self beats out dribbler to third... First and second with two outs... Grounder for force at second ends inning... Tiger pitcher Makayla Martin has now completed six innings with no earned-runs allowed...

Auburn coming up in top of seventh, trailing 2-1. Last chance for Tigers... Madi Gipson leads off... Strikes out swinging... Whitney Jordan next... Fly-out to center... Pinch-hitter Courtney Shea represents Tigers' final hope... Foul pop along right-field line just evades OU fielders. Count is 1-2... Now 3-2 count, a little drama... Shea keeps fouling off pitches... On tenth pitch, grounds out to second...

OU wins Game 3 by a 2-1 score, for the Sooners' third national championship in program history.

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

2016 WCWS Championship Round -- Game 2

A wide-open game so far, with Oklahoma leading Auburn 7-5 after two complete...

OU (the visitor tonight) led 7-0 after an inning and a half. After Auburn got its leadoff batter on base in the bottom of the second via HBP, the next two Tigers struck out. But a walk, homer, error, triple, and single have brought us to our present score...

Still 7-5 Sooners, as Tigers come up in bottom of fourth... Two-run shot by Kasey Cooper ties it 7-up... Next batter singles... OU frosh pitcher Jayden Chestnut (who replaced starter Kelsey Stevens) clearly struggling, with none out. Will Paige Parker come in to pitch at some point? Pair of baserunning outs (runner trying to advance from second to third on infield grounder, and failed attempt to steal second) put the kibosh on Auburn rally...

Sooners go quietly in top of fifth... As do Tigers in bottom half...

Auburn pitcher Rachael Walters has been very effective, after replacing starter Kaylee Carlson, who was charged with all seven OU runs...

Two-out single by Sooners' Caleigh Clifton in top sixth, bringing up Shay Knighten... Auburn LF Tiffany Howard reaches over wall to prevent two-run homer! I'll link to a Twitter video clip when one becomes available. Here's a still photo...

The very same Howard beats out infield chopper with one out in bottom sixth... Fly ball for second out... Emily Carosone also gets infield hit, as ball deflects of pitcher's glove... Carlee Wallace at the plate... Grounds out to end threat...

Sooners' last chance (in regulation) to score go-ahead run(s)... Makayla Martin in to pitch for Auburn... Sydney Romero leads off for Sooners... Chopper to third yields infield single... Shallow fly for first out... Ground-out on chopper advances Romero to second with two outs... Kady Self, who homered earlier, now up... Grounds out to end threat...

Chestnut still pitching for OU as Tigers bat in bottom of seventh in tie game... Fly-out to start... Ground-out for second out... Another ground-out sends game to extras...

Three ground-outs set down Oklahoma in top eighth... Ground-out festival continues with Auburn's leadoff hitter in bottom half... Victoria Draper with infield hit... Howard coming up... Shallow pop finds grass in right-center, putting runners on first and second... Cooper up... Walks to load bases with one out... Carosone up... Grand slam!!! Auburn wins 11-7 to force Game 3 tomorrow night...