Saturday, May 31, 2014

2014 WCWS Survival Saturday

All games today will eliminate someone, so I've got my handy chart ready below...

Barring a major rally, Florida State will be the first team to be eliminated, as the Seminoles trail Baylor 7-2 in the bottom (FSU) half of the sixth. The Seminoles get runners on first and second with no outs, but rally fizzles... The 7-2 score holds up and FSU is out...

Oklahoma leads Louisiana-Lafayette 2-0 after two complete innnings... Sooners survive ULL bases-loaded threat in top of the third... Oklahoma has now sent ULL home, the result of a 3-1 Sooner victory.

In one of the great comebacks in NCAA softball history, Baylor overcame a 7-0 deficit to oust Kentucky, 8-7, in eight innings. As seen in this box score, Baylor came up in the bottom of the sixth, trailing 7-0. However, three runs in the sixth and four in the seventh (three of the runs coming with two out) tied the game, and the Bears scored once in the eighth to win. A tough way for Kentucky to exit, in the Wildcats' first WCWS appearance.

Oklahoma scores a run in the bottom of the fourth to cut Oregon's lead to 3-1. What looks like a failed squeeze play (in which an OU runner heading for home is thrown out retreating to third for the second out of the inning) helps short-circuit the Sooners' rally, as they score no more runs in the fourth... Homer in fifth by OU's Shelby Pendley cuts Sooner deficit to 3-2. Ducks coming to bat in top of sixth... Oregon adds insurance run in top of seventh, wins 4-2 to eliminate Sooners...

No LossesOne LossTwo Losses (Gone)
Florida

Alabama


Oregon

KentuckyKentucky

Baylor

Florida StateFlorida State

Lou.-LafayetteLou.-Lafayette

OklahomaOklahoma
HTML Tables

Friday, May 30, 2014

2014 WCWS Friday Observations

A solo shot by Bailey Castro in the top of the second inning has given Florida a 1-0 lead over Oregon... It's now 4-zip Florida, as the Ducks bat in the bottom of the third... That's how it ends: Florida 4, Oregon 0. The Gators have won seven games so far this postseason, and all of these wins are by shutout. (Florida did lose one game in the super-regionals to Washington.)

Alabama leads Kentucky 2-0 on a two-run shot by Leona Lafaele. The Tide is now up in the top of the third... The 2-0 score holds up for a Bama win, although not without some late-inning suspense.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

2014 WCWS Underway

In the opening game, Florida has taken a 4-0 lead over Baylor and Bears pitcher Whitney Canion, as the Gators bat in the bottom of the fourth... A one-out Florida double in the fourth chases Canion... Gators add another, making it 5-0 after four... Final score: Florida 11, Baylor 0.

Oregon
, aided by Cheridan Hawkins's one-hitter, blanks Florida State, 3-0.

Kentucky
, a 4-1 winner over Louisiana-Lafayette, and Alabama, a 6-2 winner over Oklahoma, complete a great first day for the SEC. Of the four teams that will be playing in Friday night's winners' bracket match-ups (Florida vs. Oregon; and Alabama vs. Kentucky), three are from the SEC.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Hays Previews 2014 WCWS

ESPN.com's Graham Hays previews Thursday's four opening-day match-ups of the Women's College World Series. The article is available here.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

2014 Super-Regionals Sunday Update

Here is where things stand today. Four teams (Alabama, Baylor, Louisiana-Lafayette, and Florida State) have clinched slots in the Women's College World Series. The other four slots are at stake today (see chart below).

Washington has evened up its series with Florida, with a 4-3 victory in Game 2. The deciding game is now underway, as is Game 3 between Tennessee and Oklahoma.

Oklahoma takes Game 3 over Tennessee, 8-2, to move on to the WCWS next week in nearby Oklahoma City. Oklahoma has just taken a 3-2 lead over Tennessee, as the Vols come up to bat in the top of the fifth.

Game 3 between Florida and Washington is in a lightning delay in the top of the fourth, with the Gators leading 1-0. Upon resumption, Florida ups its lead to 4-0 in the fourth, before the game is delayed again. Finally, Florida wins 8-0 in a five-inning run-ruled contest and takes the series.

Kentucky is making a strong bid to take UCLA to a decisive third-game, leading the Bruins 7-3 in the bottom of the fifth inning in Game 2. The lead holds up and UK forces a third game.

Kentucky leads UCLA 4-1 in Game 3, as the Bruins bat in the home half of the fourth. The Wildcats pull away to win 7-1 and get to the WCWS for the first time in school history.

Oregon has defeated Minnesota, 6-2, to sweep the series and advance to the WCWS. Oregon, looking to close out its series in Game 2, bats in the top of the seventh, leading Minnesota, 3-2.


TeamsGame 1Game 2Game 3
 Minnesota (16) at Oregon (1)***OregonOregon---
 Nebraska at Alabama  (2)*AlabamaAlabama---
 Kentucky (14) at UCLA (3)***UCLAKentuckyKentucky
Baylor (13) at Georgia (4)**BaylorBaylor----
 Washington (12) at Florida (5)***FloridaWashingtonFlorida
 Arizona (11) at Louisiana-Laf (6)**ULLULL---
Tennessee (10) at Oklahoma (7)**+OUTennesseeOU
 Michigan at Florida St. (8)*MichiganFSUFSU
*Game 1 Thursday, Games 2 and (if necessary) 3 on Friday.
**Game 1 Friday, Games 2 and (if necessary) 3 on Saturday. 
***Game 1 Saturday, Games 2 and (if necessary) 3 on Sunday.
+Delayed one day due to rain-out/rainy conditions.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

2014 Super-Regionals Saturday Update

As shown in the chart below, Baylor has become the third team to qualify for the Women's College World Series, sweeping Georgia.

Barring a major Arizona comeback, Louisiana-Lafayette will shortly be joining the WCWS field. The Ragin' Cajuns, who lead 1-0 in games, also lead 6-1 in Game 2, with the Wildcats coming up in the bottom of the fifth. ULL has finished off Arizona, 7-1, in Game 2.

Florida has taken a 1-0 series lead over Washington, hammering the Huskies 9-0 in a five-inning run-rule contest.

UCLA has defeated Kentucky, 6-4, to open their series. A noteworthy aspect of this game is that each team hit a grand-slam homer. I doubt that has happened too often in NCAA postseason action.

Tennessee, seeking to stay alive, has now defeated Oklahoma, 4-0, via an Ellen Renfroe shutout. leads Oklahoma 1-0 in the bottom of fifth (with the Vols as home team for this game). I would have thought Game 3 would be delayed until Sunday due to the lateness of the hour, but apparently Game 3 will be played Saturday night at around 11:00 pm Central time. Game 3 will indeed be played on Sunday.

Minnesota, the last hope for the B1G, now trails Oregon 8-1. is tied with Oregon 1-1 in the first inning of the teams' opening game. The Ducks go on to win, 10-2.

TeamsGame 1Game 2Game 3
 Minnesota (16) at Oregon (1)***Oregon

 Nebraska at Alabama  (2)*AlabamaAlabama
 Kentucky (14) at UCLA (3)***UCLA

Baylor (13) at Georgia (4)**BaylorBaylor
 Washington (12) at Florida (5)***Florida

 Arizona (11) at Louisiana-Laf (6)**ULLULL
Tennessee (10) at Oklahoma (7)**+OUTennessee
 Michigan at Florida St. (8)*MichiganFSUFSU
*Game 1 Thursday, Games 2 and (if necessary) 3 on Friday.
**Game 1 Friday, Games 2 and (if necessary) 3 on Saturday. 
***Game 1 Saturday, Games 2 and (if necessary) 3 on Sunday.
+Delayed one day due to rain-out/rainy conditions.

2014 Super-Regionals Friday Update

The chart below summarizes where things stand in all of the super-regional series after Friday's busy day.

Alabama notched its second straight one-run victory over Nebraska -- today by a score of 2-1 -- to advance to the Women's College World Series.

A day after putting 17 runs on the board to take Game 1 of its super-regional series with Florida State, Michigan experienced a dramatic reduction in its offensive output. The Wolverines lost Game 2 by a 6-0 score. FSU than took the decider, 4-2, on a walk-off homer in the bottom of the seventh. The Wolverines outhit the Seminoles in Game 3, 10-7, but Michigan's downfall was the 12 runners it left on base.

Baylor dominated Georgia in the teams' series opener, winning 9-1 in a run-ruled six-inning affair. Michigan's experience can serve as a lesson to the Bears that, no matter how convincingly you win Game 1, a win in the series is not guaranteed. One big difference, however, is that Michigan did not have a pitcher as overpowering as Baylor's Whitney Canion, who allowed only two hits to Georgia.

The same lesson goes for Oklahoma, which routed Tennessee 8-1 in a rain-delayed Game 1. This series, of course, presents a rematch of last year's WCWS championship round, which was captured by the Sooners.

TeamsGame 1Game 2Game 3
 Minnesota (16) at Oregon (1)***


 Nebraska at Alabama  (2)*AlabamaAlabama
 Kentucky (14) at UCLA (3)***


Baylor (13) at Georgia (4)**Baylor

 Washington (12) at Florida (5)***


 Arizona (11) at Louisiana-Laf (6)**ULL

Tennessee (10) at Oklahoma (7)**OU

 Michigan at Florida St. (8)*MichiganFSUFSU
*Game 1 Thursday, Games 2 and (if necessary) 3 on Friday.
**Game 1 Friday, Games 2 and (if necessary) 3 on Saturday. 
***Game 1 Saturday, Games 2 and (if necessary) 3 on Sunday.
+Delayed one day due to rain-out.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

2014 Super-Regionals Begin Tonight

The super-regionals get underway tonight, with the start of the Michigan-Florida State and Nebraska-Alabama series (see chart below). This year, 14 of the 16 seeded teams have made it to the "supers." Only No. 9 Arizona State (which lost in its region to Michigan) and No. 15 Missouri (which lost in its region to Nebraska) are absent. Only once before, in 2005 (the year the super-regional format began), have so few non-seeded teams crashed the party. That year, DePaul and Bethune-Cookman were the unseeded teams in the super-regionals.

ESPN.com's Graham Hays previews the super-regionals here. Once the games begin, I will be updating the following chart and commenting on interesting developments...

TeamsGame 1Game 2Game 3
 Minnesota (16) at Oregon (1)***


 Nebraska at Alabama  (2)*Alabama

 Kentucky (14) at UCLA (3)***


Baylor (13) at Georgia (4)**


 Washington (12) at Florida (5)***


 Arizona (11) at Louisiana-Laf (6)**


Tennessee (10) at Oklahoma (7)**


 Michigan at Florida St. (8)*Michigan
*Game 1 Thursday, Games 2 and (if necessary) 3 on Friday.
**Game 1 Friday, Games 2 and (if necessary) 3 on Saturday. 
***Game 1 Saturday, Games 2 and (if necessary) 3 on Sunday.
+Delayed one day due to rain-out.

Florida State held an early 3-1 lead over Michigan, but for whatever reason, the Seminoles collapsed both offensively and defensively. Wolverines win 17-3, run-ruled after 6 innings.

Nebraska squandered an early 4-0 lead, losing in 12 innings to Alabama, 6-5.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

2014 NCAA Regionals -- Who's Advanced, Who's Still Alive, Who's Been Eliminated

The following table shows the status of each regional. The "2-0" and "2-1" column headings reflect teams' records entering Sunday's play. Teams in bold (with game-article links if available) have advanced to the super-regionals.

Region2-02-1EliminatedEliminated
Eugene, OROregon (1)WisconsinAlbanyUtah Valley
Tuscaloosa, ALAlabama (2)So. AlabamaSC-UpstateSIU-Edwards.
Los Angeles CAUCLA (3)Notre DameLB St.Southern Utah
Athens, GANC StateGeorgia (4)UABChattanooga
Gainesville, FLFlorida (5)UCFStetsonFlorida A&M
Lafayette, LAULL (6)TexasMississ. St.TX Southern
Norman, OKOklahoma (7)Texas A&MHofstraBryant
Tallahassee, FLFla. St (8)S. FloridaS. CarolinaFordham
Tempe, AZAriz. St (9)Michigan*SanDiegoStDartmouth
Knoxville, TNTenn. (10)LipscombVA TechCharl Southern
Tucson, AZArizona (11)LSU*Boston U.Louisville
Seattle, WAWash. (12)N'westernBYUIona
Waco, TXBaylor (13)Tulsa*HoustonNW State
Lexington, KYKentucky (14)DePaul*J. MadisonOhio
Columbia, MOMizzou (15)Nebraska*KansasBradley
Minneapolis MNMinn. (16)Auburn*N Dak StWisc-GB

Winners of each region are highlighted in bold.
*2-1 team has won the first game against the 2-0 team on Sunday, setting up a decisive rematch.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Saturday (5/17/14) Regional Observations

Most of the seeded teams are doing well, but one has lost and two four others have squeaked by...

No. 4 Georgia has fallen to NC State, 5-4.

No. 6 Louisiana-Lafayette needed a pair of runs in the bottom of the seventh to edge Texas, 3-2.

No. 7 Oklahoma put across three in the bottom of the seventh to escape against Texas A&M, 9-8.

No. 8 Florida State took 11 innings to put away South Florida, 2-0.

No. 11 Arizona also won 9-8, as LSU's three-run rally in the top of the seventh came up just short.

No. 12 Washington, whose regional began a day earlier than the others, has advanced to the super-regionals via three straight run-rule shutouts.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Friday (5/16/14) Regional Observations

Arizona State Region

Michigan survives against San Diego State, 8-7 in nine innings, but its late-season pitching woes continue. Hayley Wagner, driven from the circle early, does better in seventh-inning re-entry for the Wolverines...

Monday, May 12, 2014

2014 NCAA Tournament Geospatial Map

Here is my annual geospatial map of NCAA tournament teams, based on the official bracket. As I did last year, I created two separate maps, one for what I call "relatively compact" regionals (i.e., in which all or most of the teams come from contiguous states or even a single state) and one for "scattered" regionals (i.e., in which geographically disparate teams are brought together). Within each map, groups of four teams with the same color scheme are in the same regional, hosted by the seeded team (seed numbers are in parentheses). For example, fifth-seeded Florida hosts Florida A&M (FAMU), Stetson, and Central Florida, these schools appearing in orange boxes with blue letters in honor of the Gators' school colors. You may click on the maps to enlarge them.



One thing that may have jumped out at you is the emptiness of the West Coast, especially in northern California. Cal (4-18) and Stanford (5-19) pulled up the rear in the Pac-12 standings, along with Oregon State (5-17). All three of these schools have appeared in the Women's College World Series in the 2000s, so their recent declines are surprising.

Also, as sometimes happens, the tournament seedings are out of whack with the national polls. Georgia, which was ranked No. 11 and 14 in the polls, is seeded all the way up at No. 4, and Alabama, ranked No. 5 and 6 in the polls, is seeded second. However, in what the NCAA softball website simply describes as "rankings" (perhaps from the RPI or other quantitative system), SEC schools Florida, Alabama, and Georgia comprise the top three in the nation.

One school that was bumped down relative to its poll ranking is Arizona State; the Sun Devils were ranked No. 3 in both major polls, but seeded ninth. Two other Pac-12 teams, Oregon (No. 1 seed) and UCLA (No. 3) held their own in the seedings.

The Missouri (No. 15 seed) region includes three schools that, before the major conference realignment of a few years ago, were all in the Big 12 conference. These three are Kansas, who remains in the Big 12; Nebraska, which moved to the Big 10; and Mizzou, which shifted to the SEC. Bradley is the fourth team in this region.