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Thursday, May 31, 2012

The 2012 NCAA Women's College World Series is underway. Currently, No. 4 seed Oklahoma is playing South Florida, and the Sooners lead 2-1 with the Bulls batting in the top of the fifth. OU has won, 5-1.

The second game of the afternoon session featured No. 1 seed Cal against LSU. The Golden Bears took this one, 5-3.

Both of today's evening match-ups are of the intra-conference variety. No. 2 Alabama takes on SEC rival Tennessee, the No. 7 seed, and No. 3 Arizona State takes on Pac 12 rival Oregon.(No. 11).

Tennessee is trying to rally in the top of the seventh against Alabama. The Tide led 5-2 entering the inning, but the Vols have scored a run and have two on base with two outs. It's final: Bama 5, Tennessee 3.

In the nightcap, ASU has beaten Oregon, 3-1.

Friday's play, entirely in the winners' bracket, will pit Cal vs. Oklahoma, and Arizona State vs. Alabama.

I'll be blogging throughout the tournament, as the opportunity permits.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Tennessee and Georgia went down to the wire, with the Bulldogs taking Game 2 by a 1-0 score to even the series, and the Volunteers coming back to win Game 3 by a 2-1 margin and advance to the Women's College World Series.

LSU and Missouri are tied 1-1 after 8 innings in Game 2 of their series. This game doesn't get settled until the 12th inning, with Mizzou scoring four runs in the top half (thanks, in part, to an errant LSU throw) and LSU going down quietly in the bottom half. Mizzou's 5-1 win sends the series to a deciding third game which should start a little before 7:00 pm Central.

LSU takes Game 3 by a 3-1 score over Missouri.

Washington and Cal are scoreless in Game 2, heading into the bottom of the second. The Huskies loaded the bases in the bottom of the first, but couldn't score. Cal has beaten Washington 2-0 in Game 2, thus sweeping the series without allowing the Huskies a run.

Please see my super-regional chart in Thursday's posting (below), which gives the game-by-game results of all the series at a glance.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

For the second straight day, Oklahoma has routed Arizona (7-1), sending the Sooners to the Women's College World Series. As I discuss elsewhere, the hot hitting of OU outfielder Brianna Turang has been key to the Sooners' success.

South Florida has just edged Hofstra, 2-1, to even up the series. Both games thus far have gone to extra innings. Game 3 will be held later today.

In Game 3, South Florida and Hofstra are tied 1-1, as the Pride comes up in the bottom of the fourth. USF had threatened in the top half of the inning. South Florida pulls out Game 3 (yet again by a 2-1 score) and advances to the WCWS.

Oregon has an early 3-1 lead over Texas, as the Ducks try to even up the series. The Longhorns have taken a 4-3 lead, entering the Oregon (bottom) half of the third inning. Game tied at 4-all heading into the sixth. Oregon takes Game 2, by a 5-4 score, forcing a decisive third game.

In the Oregon-Texas Game 3, the Ducks took a 6-0 lead, but Texas has rallied for 3 runs in the top of the fourth. Any Longhorn momentum in Game 3 has been doused, as Oregon has increased its lead to 10-3. The Ducks hang on to win 10-6, sending UO to its first Women's College World Series since 1989.

LSU leads Missouri 5-1 (and is threatening to do more) in the teams' opening game. LSU takes the opener, 6-1.

Cal has been leading Washington 3-0 for a pretty long time.The Golden Bears take Game 1 over the Huskies, 5-0.

I am continuously updating the super-regional chart I posted on Thursday (see below).

Friday, May 25, 2012

Alabama has become the first team to earn its place in the Women's College World Series, eliminating Michigan. Arizona State is the second team to do so, with two wins Friday night to knock out Louisiana-Lafayette in three games. I am continuously updating the super-regional chart I created in yesterday's posting (immediately below).

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Here are the match-ups for the super-regionals, which begin tonight. I will list the winners of each game, as the results come in (bold indicates the clinching of a series; links are to game articles).

Teams Game 1 Game 2 Game 3
Washington (16) at Cal (1)*** Cal Cal ---
Michigan at Alabama (2)* Alabama Alabama ---
Louisiana-Laf. at Arizona St. (3)* Lou-Laf Arizona St. Arizona St.
Arizona (13) at Oklahoma (4)** Oklahoma Oklahoma ---
Hofstra at South Florida** Hofstra So. Florida So. Florida
Oregon (11) at Texas (6)** Texas Oregon Oregon
Georgia (10) at Tennessee (7)*** Tennessee Georgia Tennessee
LSU at Missouri (9)*** LSU Missouri LSU
Series begins: *Thursday; **Friday; ***Saturday

Monday, May 21, 2012's Graham Hays looks back at this past weekend's regionals and forward to the super-regionals.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The table below tells the story heading into today's play -- who needs just one win to advance to the super-regionals, and who needs two. Numbers in parentheses refer to teams' seedings. If a team needing two wins gets its first win, I will put an asterisk (*) by that team. I am also adding links to articles about teams winning their regionals, in the far right column. Oregon's regional started a day earlier than the rest and the Ducks wrapped up their bid to the super-regionals Saturday.

Regional Needs 1 win Needs 2 wins Champion
Berkeley, CA Arkansas Cal (1)* Cal
Tuscaloosa, AL Alabama (2) South Alabama Alabama
Tempe, AZ Arizona St. (3) Syracuse* Arizona St.
Norman, OK Oklahoma (4) Oregon St. Oklahoma
Gainesville, FL South Florida Florida (5) South Florida
Austin, TX Northwestern Texas (6)* Texas
Knoxville, TN Virginia Tech Tennessee (7)* Tennessee
College Station, TX LSU Texas A&M (8) LSU
Columbia, MO Missouri (9) Illinois St. Missouri
Athens, GA Georgia (10) North Carolina Georgia
Eugene, OR N/A N/A Oregon
Los Angeles, CA Hofstra San Diego St. Hofstra
Tucson, AZ Arizona (13) Notre Dame Arizona
Lafayette, LA Louisiana-Laf. (14) Stanford Louisiana-Laf.
Louisville, KY Michigan Louisville (15) Michigan
Seattle, WA Washington (16) Harvard Washington

Friday, May 18, 2012

LATE-NIGHT UPDATE:  I don't recall as many seeded teams losing their opening games as happened today:

No. 5 Florida coming up short, 2-1, to Florida Gulf Coast.(It also turns out that three Gator starters were dismissed from the team before the game.)

No. 6 Texas losing, 2-0, to Northwestern.

No. 7 Tennessee falling, 1-0, to Miami of Ohio.

No. 12 UCLA getting pounded, 7-2, by Hofstra.

The regionals round, like all others, is double-elimination. Therefore, today's upset victims still have a chance to advance to the next round.


Play is now underway in the NCAA softball Division I regionals. Here is a link to the NCAA softball page, which includes a scoreboard of all games, brackets, and other information. Select games will be shown on the ESPN family of networks. Because there are so many games, I will typically write only about upsets.

Monday, May 14, 2012

2012 Geospatial Map of NCAA Tournament

Here is my annual geospatial map of the NCAA regional assignments. The official NCAA bracket is listed here.

Each of the 16 regional sites has its own color code. For example, the geographically compact University of Florida region, hosted by the No. 5 seed Gators and also featuring Central Florida, South Florida, and Florida Gulf Coast, depicts the teams in blue boxes with orange letters. Two of the most spread-out regions are:
  •  The one hosted by top-seed Cal, whose visitors include Arkansas, Iona (NY), and Boston University. These teams are shown in dark-blue boxes with yellow lettering.
  • The University of Washington (No. 16 seed) region, whose participants (depicted in purple boxes with yellow letters) include Texas Tech, Maryland, and Harvard.
Overall, the seedings are about what I had expected them to be (other years have presented greater surprises). Conference highlights (and lowlights) include:
  • Of the nine Pac 12 schools that field softball teams, eight got in the tournament (six with top-16 seedings).
  • Of the 11 SEC schools with softball, nine got in. This includes an Arkansas squad that went 7-21 in conference play (27-26 overall). Four of the SEC teams are seeded.
  • Of the nine Big 12 schools with softball, six got in. Four are seeded.
  • The only two seeds from outside the three power conferences were Louisiana-Lafayette (14) and Louisville (15).
  • The Big 10 had a very lean year, getting only two teams in. One was conference champion Michigan (18-5, 39-15). The other was a big surprise, to me at least, namely the co-fourth-place Northwestern (14-10, 27-27). Apparently, the Wildcats' strength of schedule vaulted them over the teams that finished higher in the league standings.
Play gets underway this coming Friday.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Cal defeated Arizona State today, for the second straight time, to give the Golden Bears the Pac 12 championship.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Cal (19-2 in Pac 12 play) hosts Arizona State (17-2, with two games lost to rain-outs) in a three-game series beginning today for the conference title.

*** reports on Michigan's pursuit of a fifth straight Big 10 title this weekend. The following paragraphs from the article provide a concise summary of the Wolverines' season thus far:

Michigan is 15-5 in conference play, the most Big Ten losses it's had since 2003.

As one of the coach Carol Hutchins' younger teams, this year’s Wolverines have seen some ups-and-downs during the season. After winning nine of its first 10 games, the team currently sits at 36-15 on the year.

With only four seniors and four juniors on the roster, [senior Bree] Evans is still confident the leadership will help with any pressure the underclassmen could be feeling.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Oklahoma State's three-game series at Texas Tech had an unusual Saturday-Sunday-Monday format, but it allowed your humble correspondent to catch the finale this afternoon. After some high scoring in the first two games -- a 5-0 Cowgirl win on Saturday, and an 8-4 Red Raider win on Sunday -- today's contest was a pitcher's duel as Texas Tech's Cara Custer (above, left) bested OSU's Kat Espinosa.

The Raiders scored a run each in the first and second innings, and never really threatened again. As shown below, the Cowgirls threatened in the third inning, but didn't score. OSU got a run in the fifth inning, but that was all the scoring. An article on the game can be found here.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Alabama has jumped out to a 5-0 lead over Florida after two innings in the rubber game of the series (currently airing on ESPN-U). The Gators took the opener, 4-1, whereas the Crimson Tide rebounded in the second game, 9-1 in a run-ruled six innings.

UPDATE: The Tide holds on for a 5-3 win. A three-run fourth inning, in which the Gators hit back-to-back home runs, was the highlight for Florida.

Friday, May 04, 2012

This weekend's top series has No. 6 Florida visiting No. 3 Alabama to battle for the SEC regular-season championship (the conference also has a postseason tournament). Saturday and Sunday's games will air on the ESPN family of networks.