Sunday, May 30, 2010

This year's super-regionals are now on the books. Here is the final Big Board (on which you can click to enlarge). Note also the little tributes I did to each victorious team using their respective school colors!


In the day's most dramatic moment, Hawai'i's Jenna Rodriguez hit a two-out, two-run walk-off homer, her second long ball of the day, to give the Rainbow Wahine a shocking 5-4 win over national No. 1 seed Alabama in the decisive game of the Tuscaloosa super-regional.

Joining Hawai'i in the Women's College World Series will be:

Missouri, who closed out Oregon today;

Florida, who finished off Arizona State, 5-2; and

UCLA, who eliminated Louisiana-Lafayette via two straight run-rule victories.

The Women's College World Series begins Thursday.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Here's the Big Board (which you may click on to enlarge) at the end of Saturday's play...


Florida (over Arizona State) and UCLA (over Louisiana-Lafayette) each won its opening game in shortened, run-rule fashion.

Alabama and Hawai'i have split the first two games of their series, setting up a decisive Game 3 on Sunday.

Georgia has finished off Cal to make the Women's College World Series.

Arizona has defeated BYU, 10-2, sending the Wildcats back to yet another World Series.

Missouri has taken the first game from Oregon in their series.

Friday, May 28, 2010

It's been a long day of softball, and here's what the Big Board looks like at the conclusion of Friday's play (you may click on the graphic to enlarge). Washington has just closed out Oklahoma, 4-0 in Game 3, after the Huskies took a 3-0 decision in Game 2. Thus, Washington will be returning to the Women's College World Series to try to defend its NCAA title from last year. Note also that the Alabama-Hawaii opener was rained out, with the teams scheduled to play two on Saturday and once on Sunday, if necessary.


Tennessee was the first team to qualify for the Women's College World Series, holding off a late charge from Michigan to win Game 2 of the teams' super-regional series, 4-3.

It's been a good showing thus far for the SEC, as Georgia routed Cal 7-0 in the teams' super-regional opener earlier today.

The Pac 10 isn't doing too badly either, with Arizona edging BYU, 2-1, to take the lead in their series.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

THURSDAY NIGHT UPDATE: The NCAA super-regionals (two-out-of-three series to determine the eight participants in the Women's College World Series) began tonight, with two match-ups. Below is what our annual College Softball Blog "Big Board" looks like at the end of the day (you can click on the board to enlarge it).


Tonight's two games had remarkably similar story lines, with two of the highest seeded teams -- No. 2 Michigan and No. 3 Washington -- losing, to Tennessee and Oklahoma, respectively.

Both Michigan and Washington lost by five runs, the Wolverines by 5-0 and the Huskies by 6-1.

Michigan and Washington each got two hits. The pitching gems were turned in by Ivy Renfroe for Tennessee and Keilani Ricketts for Oklahoma (the younger sister of former Sooner Samantha Ricketts).

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From Thursday morning:

Articles on the Michigan-Tennessee series are available from the Detroit Free Press and The Tennessean. The Seattle Times has an article on the Washington-Oklahoma match-up.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

All spots in next week's super-regionals are set. The super-regional bracket is available here. Following is a compilation of game articles on the teams' clinching of their respective regional titles.

Alabama

Arizona

Arizona State

BYU

California

Florida

Georgia

Hawai'i

Louisiana-Lafayette

Michigan

Missouri

Oklahoma

Oregon

Tennessee

UCLA

Washington

Saturday, May 22, 2010

BYU is the first team to reach next week's super-regionals, after knocking off East Carolina earlier today to win the Austin, Texas regional. Tomorrow will be a busy day, with the other 15 regionals being concluded to fill out next week's super-regionals.

In the 15 remaining regionals, each of the nationally seeded teams (one per region) are still alive, except LSU, in the Baton Rouge region. Here, Louisiana-Lafayette and Texas A&M remain. ULL just needs to win once over the Aggies to advance, whereas A&M must beat the Ragin' Cajuns twice.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Late Evening Updates

Because there are so many games, I will be focusing at this stage on upsets. Thus, if you're a fan of a nationally seeded team (one per regional), then it's a no-news-is-good-news situation.

One team for whom the news isn't good is Texas, the one national seed (No. 7) in its region (edited to correct Texas's seed number). The Longhorns have already been eliminated from this year's tournament, falling first to BYU and then to East Carolina.

Morning Notes

More articles on the NCAA tournament from around the U.S. (and beyond), with the bulk of the regional action starting today...

Lubbock Avalanche Journal (on Texas Tech)

UCLA Daily Bruin (on UCLA)

Mobile Press Register (on Alabama)

Canadian Press (on University of Washington pitcher Danielle Lawrie)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Austin, Texas regional begins tonight, with Texas hosting Iona, East Carolina, and BYU. The Austin American-Statesman has a preview. The 15 other regional sites begin play on Friday.

In anticipation of the Michigan regional, AnnArbor.com has a feature on Wolverine slugger Dorian Shaw.

Finally, ESPN.com's Graham Hays previews the overall tournament.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Here is my annual geo-spatial diagram of regional assignments for the 2010 NCAA women's softball tournament, with state shapes modified to reflect population (the conventional style bracket is available here). On my map, numbers represent seedings and host schools are underlined. To avoid excessive criss-crossing of arrows, I've made notes around the perimeter to indicate teams traveling a long distance. I haven't done a rigorous comparison to other years, but it really seems as though the NCAA kept a large number of regions geographically compact, perhaps to save travel money in the present economic climate. You can click on the map to enlarge it.


The seedings that jumped out at me were Alabama's rise to No. 1, Washington's placement at No. 3, and Arizona's plummet to No. 10. Regarding the latter, someone on the Ultimate College Softball discussion board suggested that the Wildcats' top two pitchers are not at full strength, hence the team's demotion.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

ESPN.com's Graham Hays has an article about the rising fortunes of the University of Texas program and Longhorns' freshman pitcher Blaire Luna.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Here's how things look in the major conferences, with two weekends of play left until the NCAA regionals take place May 21-23.

BIG 10

Top 3 in current standings (remaining opponents)

Michigan 14-1 (Mich. St., Iowa)
Ohio State 12-2 (Penn State, Northwestern)
Illinois 10-2 (Iowa, Purdue, Minnesota)

No conference tournament; regular-season games until May 15.

BIG 12

Top 3 (remaining opponents)

Texas 13-2 (Baylor)
Oklahoma 13-3
Oklahoma State 12-4 (Texas A&M)

Conference tournament: May 14-16, Oklahoma City

PAC 10

Top 3 (remaining opponents):

Washington 12-3 (Stanford, ASU)
Arizona 10-5 (Oregon, UCLA)
UCLA 10-5 (Cal, Arizona)

No conference tournament; regular-season games until May 15.

SEC

Leading teams in each division (remaining opponents):

EAST: Florida 17-4 (S. Carolina), Georgia 18-8, Tennessee 15-7 (LSU)
WEST: Alabama 20-4 (Miss. St.), LSU 19-6 (Tennessee)

Conference tournament: May 13-15, Fayetteville, Arkansas

Note: Only remaining conference opponents are shown.