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Saturday, May 05, 2007

UPDATE: Due to heavy rain in Knoxville, there will be no game today between national No. 1 Alabama and No. 2 Tennessee. Initially, this afternoon's doubleheader was shifted to a single game tonight, but even that was unworkable, due to accumulated water on the field. The teams will try to play two tomorrow. See this announcement from the Tennessee athletics website for further detail.

Meanwhile, the headline on the Ohio State athletics website proclaims "One Win Away," as the Buckeye softballers have defeated Penn State in today's opener of the teams' two-game series and need to do so again tomorrow to claim the regular-season Big 10 title and, with it, the hosting honors for the conference tourney.

LATER UPDATE: Baylor has defeated Texas A&M 5-4 in 10 innings, clinching at least a share of the Big 12 title for the Bears. According to this game article:

The Lady Bears could win the conference championship outright with a Missouri loss to Nebraska on Sunday. No matter the outcome of Sunday's game, Baylor will claim the top seed in next weekend's Big 12 Softball Championships in Oklahoma City, Okla., holding the tiebreaker over the Lady Tigers.

The ending of the game, which as the home team, Baylor won in the bottom of the tenth, was hastened by the Big 12's use of a tie-breaking procedure that (I believe) kicks in when a game goes to 10 innnings, where each team begins its at-bats with a runner on second:

[Chelsi] Lake (Keller, Texas) began the tenth frame on second base due to international tie-breaker rules but could not advance as Alex Colyer (Houston, Texas) struck out to lead off the inning. Lake then advanced to third on a passed ball by Beverly Rowan. After Tiffany Wesley (Baton Rouge, La.) also went down on strikes, Lake came home on the second passed ball of the inning.

Just recently, Arizona's game at Stanford had to be halted and declared a tie after 12 innings so the Wildcats could catch their flight home. The international tie-breaker was not used in that game, although I found some old articles indicating that the Pac 10 formerly used it (such as this one). Perhaps it's time for the conference to go back to it.