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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Mary Nutter/Cathedral City Tournament

The 35-team Mary Nutter Classic (previously known as the Cathedral City Classsic) begins today in the Palm Springs area. As the tournament website states, "Five of the eight teams from the 2013 NCAA Women’s College World Series, including defending champion Oklahoma, will be at this years tournament. (Oklahoma, Tennessee, Washington, Texas, Nebraska)." The field includes additional top programs such as Arizona, UCLA, Stanford, Cal, and Oregon, from the Pac 12; Missouri, Texas A&M, and LSU from the SEC; and Northwestern from the Big 10.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Arizona Shuts Out No. 4 Alabama -- Twice!

The University of Arizona softball program has won eight NCAA championships, but has been down a little the last few seasons, not having made the Women's College World Series since 2010. It's still very early in the season, but the Wildcats may be back!

This weekend, the No. 24/22  Wildcats went 6-0 at home in the Hillenbrand Invitational, advancing to 9-0 overall. Particularly newsworthy is that Arizona recorded a pair of shutouts over No. 4/6 Alabama. U of A's first shutout over Alabama occurred yesterday, with the Wildcats winning 3-0 behind the pitching of Estela PiƱon and Kenzie Fowler. The Wildcats then blanked the Crimson Tide again today, this time in run-rule fashion (8-0 in five innings), with Shelby Babcock in the circle for Arizona. It appears that few, if any, schools will be able to match the Wildcats' pitching depth this season.

Wildcat shortstop Kellie Fox, a transfer from UCLA and younger sister of former U of A great Kristie Fox, hit four homers over the weekend. Look for the Wildcats to move up big when the next national polls are released.

Here is the NFCA summary of how all the nation's top teams did this weekend.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Littlewood Classic

Arizona State hosts this weekend's Littlewood Classic, which features Washington and Oklahoma, among other teams.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Sunday, February 09, 2014

How Leading Teams Did -- Week 1

The National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) has put out this document, showing how all of the nation's leading teams did in their games from February 3-9. Summaries are available for all teams in the USA Today/NFCA Top 25, plus all teams that received votes in the poll but didn't make the Top 25. I assume the NFCA will do this every week, so interested readers might want to check the NFCA website every Sunday night. Here are some noteworthy results from this weekend's play:

  • Defending NCAA champion and preseason No. 2 Oklahoma losing its first two games of the season, to Kentucky and Cal State Fullerton.
  • No. 4 Florida scoring a stunning come-from-behind victory over No. 5 Michigan. As shown in the play-by-play sheet (under the box score), the Gators were down to their final out in the top of the seventh, with one runner on base and trailing 4-0. However, Florida then put together three hits, a hit-batter, a walk, and another hit to tie the game 4-4. After the Wolverines failed to score in their half of the seventh, the teams went to extra innings, where UF scored five times in the top of the eighth. UM went quietly in the bottom half, giving the Gators a 9-4 win.
  • No. 8 Oregon losing to Cal Poly (San Luis Obispo)
  • No. 9 Nebraska and No. 15 Florida State splitting a pair.
  • No. 10 Texas losing to Northern Iowa and Purdue.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

2014 Season Gets Underway

The 2014 college softball season is now underway, with a variety of weekend tournaments going on.  Most years, the Kajikawa Classic at Arizona State is the premier opening-weekend event. However, this year's field looks weaker than those of earlier years. This weekend's marquee event, instead, is probably the Wilson-DeMarini tourney at the University of South Florida. This tournament includes a Saturday match-up of No. 3/4 Florida against No. 4/5 Michigan.