Saturday, May 20, 2006

5:50 pm Central: There have been several interesting developments in NCAA regional softball action thus far today.

We have our first qualifier for next weekend's super-regionals, the Washington Huskies.

In the only other regional on a Thursday-Saturday schedule, Arizona is seeking to join its fellow Pac 10 school in the "supers." The Wildcats just need to beat Auburn once, out of two opportunities, to win the regional. The Tigers have a loss (to Ohio State, which Auburn avenged, sending the Buckeyes home), so Auburn would need to beat the Wildcats twice to win the regional. Arizona-Auburn is currently on ESPN2, and the Wildcats seem comfortably ahead.

Jennie Ritter continues to carry defending NCAA champion Michigan, now the only undefeated team in the Ann Arbor regional and one win away (Sunday) from making the super-regionals. The Wolverines' win today wasn't easy, as they needed nine innings (two beyond the regulation seven) to edge Oklahoma, 1-0. According to the UM game story, Ritter:

...extend[ed] her postseason shutout streak to 42.0 innings, stretching back to the 2005 Women's College World Series.

Stanford, seeded No. 12 nationally, but forced to play at unseeded Fresno State, dropped a game to the host Bulldogs, 3-0.

Finally, Northwestern looked to be in fine form, routing Notre Dame 9-0 in a game that was terminated after five innings due to the "run rule" (also known as a "mercy rule"). More on Northwestern in the days to follow...

Late-Night Update (10:30 pm Central): ESPN.com's scoreboard for all of the softball regionals is the best I've seen. It's well-organized and appears to get updated in a timely fashion.

Arizona held off an Auburn comeback to win 4-2, and advance to the super-regionals.

Most of the regionals appear to be going according to the seedings. However, No. 13 national seed Texas A&M and No. 16 Florida -- both of whom lost yesterday -- lost again today, meaning that each is eliminated from its respective regional.