Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

2016 WCWS Championship Round -- Game 3

The deciding game for the national championship is underway...

Two Oklahoma singles, combined with two Auburn errors, put two runs across for Sooners in bottom of first... 2-0 OU...

Auburn leaves runners on first and second in top second, as Paige Parker's change-up fools Auburn batter for strikeout... OU can't build on a one-out single in the bottom half...

Tigers get first two runners on in top of third -- Parker drops soft pop-up to her, then Auburn bunt goes for base-hit...  Kasey Cooper flares a single to right-center, loading the bases for Emily Carosone, who hit last night's walk-off grand slam... Carosone strikes out on three pitches... Carlee Wallace up... Grounds into 6-4-3 double-play to end threat... Sooners don't score in bottom half, leaving runner on first...

Leadoff homer to left from Jade Rhodes cuts Tiger deficit to 2-1... Haley Fagan walks on full count... Nothing more for Auburn in top of fourth... Two-out walk for OU in bottom half... Ground-out on chopper to third (close play at first) ends inning...

Auburn down in order in top of fifth... Likewise Oklahoma in the bottom half... Not much to write about!

Same for Auburn in top of sixth... One-out single up the middle for Fale Aviu... After Nicole Pendley fly-out, Kady Self beats out dribbler to third... First and second with two outs... Grounder for force at second ends inning... Tiger pitcher Makayla Martin has now completed six innings with no earned-runs allowed...

Auburn coming up in top of seventh, trailing 2-1. Last chance for Tigers... Madi Gipson leads off... Strikes out swinging... Whitney Jordan next... Fly-out to center... Pinch-hitter Courtney Shea represents Tigers' final hope... Foul pop along right-field line just evades OU fielders. Count is 1-2... Now 3-2 count, a little drama... Shea keeps fouling off pitches... On tenth pitch, grounds out to second...

OU wins Game 3 by a 2-1 score, for the Sooners' third national championship in program history.

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

2016 WCWS Championship Round -- Game 2

A wide-open game so far, with Oklahoma leading Auburn 7-5 after two complete...

OU (the visitor tonight) led 7-0 after an inning and a half. After Auburn got its leadoff batter on base in the bottom of the second via HBP, the next two Tigers struck out. But a walk, homer, error, triple, and single have brought us to our present score...

Still 7-5 Sooners, as Tigers come up in bottom of fourth... Two-run shot by Kasey Cooper ties it 7-up... Next batter singles... OU frosh pitcher Jayden Chestnut (who replaced starter Kelsey Stevens) clearly struggling, with none out. Will Paige Parker come in to pitch at some point? Pair of baserunning outs (runner trying to advance from second to third on infield grounder, and failed attempt to steal second) put the kibosh on Auburn rally...

Sooners go quietly in top of fifth... As do Tigers in bottom half...

Auburn pitcher Rachael Walters has been very effective, after replacing starter Kaylee Carlson, who was charged with all seven OU runs...

Two-out single by Sooners' Caleigh Clifton in top sixth, bringing up Shay Knighten... Auburn LF Tiffany Howard reaches over wall to prevent two-run homer! I'll link to a Twitter video clip when one becomes available. Here's a still photo...

The very same Howard beats out infield chopper with one out in bottom sixth... Fly ball for second out... Emily Carosone also gets infield hit, as ball deflects of pitcher's glove... Carlee Wallace at the plate... Grounds out to end threat...

Sooners' last chance (in regulation) to score go-ahead run(s)... Makayla Martin in to pitch for Auburn... Sydney Romero leads off for Sooners... Chopper to third yields infield single... Shallow fly for first out... Ground-out on chopper advances Romero to second with two outs... Kady Self, who homered earlier, now up... Grounds out to end threat...

Chestnut still pitching for OU as Tigers bat in bottom of seventh in tie game... Fly-out to start... Ground-out for second out... Another ground-out sends game to extras...

Three ground-outs set down Oklahoma in top eighth... Ground-out festival continues with Auburn's leadoff hitter in bottom half... Victoria Draper with infield hit... Howard coming up... Shallow pop finds grass in right-center, putting runners on first and second... Cooper up... Walks to load bases with one out... Carosone up... Grand slam!!! Auburn wins 11-7 to force Game 3 tomorrow night...

Monday, June 06, 2016

2016 WCWS Championship Round -- Game 1

We're moments away from Game 1 of the two-out-of-three championship series between Auburn and Oklahoma. I'm going to pick the Sooners, based on steadiness of pitching in the latter part of the season. In early May, Auburn's pitching imploded for a time. Also, the way the Tigers gave up a game-tying three-run homer in the seventh yesterday to Florida State doesn't inspire confidence...

With Oklahoma as the home team for Game 1 and pitching stalwart Paige Parker in the circle, Auburn comes up to bat... A Tiger threat is extinguished on an unusual double-play, ending with a runner thrown out attempting to go from second to third...

Lexi Davis with the surprise pitching start for Auburn... OU gets a runner on in the first, but doesn't score...

Sydney Romero's three-run blast in the bottom of the third continues to hold up, as OU leads 3-0...

Auburn down to its final hacks in the top of the seventh... Leadoff walk... Jade Rhodes homers over the center-field wall, cutting the Tiger deficit to 3-2... Still no outs... Base-hit up the middle... K for first out... Parker airmails throw to first on soft grounder. Instead of being one out away from Game-1 victory, Sooners now face Tiger runners on second and third with one out... Wild play prevents tying run from scoring... Sooner first-baseperson Shay Knighten short-hops hard liner, immediately throws home for successful tag play on runner... Two down... Had Knighten tried to step over to first for out there, extra split-second almost certainly would have allowed runner from third to score... Weak infield pop gives opener to Oklahoma, 3-2.

Sunday, June 05, 2016

WCWS Day 4 (2016)

It will be Oklahoma vs. Auburn for the national title in a two-out-of-three series beginning Monday night. Below are my comments from the four games played Sunday (I caught more of some games than of others)...

LSU vs. OKLAHOMA -- OU 3-0, top third... After LSU ties it, Oklahoma pulls away again to win 7-3.

FLORIDA STATE vs. AUBURN -- Tied 3-3, with the Seminoles batting in the top of the third... FSU single drives in runner from third for 4-3 lead... Jade Rhodes socks three-run homer for Auburn, giving Tigers 6-4 lead in bottom of third... Kasey Cooper blasts a two-out solo shot in bottom of fourth, increasing Auburn lead to 7-4... Beautiful catch by Tigers' Victoria Draper, with FSU having runners on first and second with one out, top sixth. Saves one or two runs. The catch appears about a minute and a half into this highlight video... Walk loads bases for Seminoles, though, with two outs... Alex Powers fly-out to center ends threat... Top 7: Noles down to final hacks, trailing 7-4... Single and walk put two on with none out... Cali Harrod hits three-run homer to tie game! (distance marker)... FSU still up in tie game... Bases loaded (via two walks and HBP) with two out... Grounder to short ends threat... With one out, Auburn gets runner on first, as FSU shortstop can't snare liner... Next two retired... Going to extras... Leadoff walk top eighth for FSU... No score for Seminoles, Tigers coming up in bottom of eighth... Auburn's Madi Gipson standing on third with no outs, after single and Seminole error... Safe on close play at the plate on infield grounder... I thought runner was going to be out, but replay shows she got in safely... Auburn wins 8-7 to advance to finals, FSU done...

LSU vs. GEORGIA (ELIMINATION GAME) -- LSU leads Georgia 2-1, Tigers batting in the bottom of the fourth... Now 3-1 Tigers, as they bat in the bottom of the sixth... Now 4-1... Dawgs come up in top of seventh, needing at least three runs to keep their season alive... UGA goes quietly, LSU stays alive with 4-1 win.

MICHIGAN vs. FLORIDA STATE (ELIMINATION GAME) -- Scoreless game, but the Seminoles have runners on first and second with two outs in the bottom of the third... Walk loads bases... Run scores on wild-pitch... Walk reloads the bases... Weak foul pop to 3B side ends inning... Fast-forward to Top 6: UM's Abby Ramirez leads off with single to left, only Wolverines' second hit of day. The two Sierras coming up... Lawrence grounds to pitcher for out at first... Sierra Romero, in what may be her last collegiate at-bat, comes up with tying run at second... The suspense builds... Romero walks on five pitches, perhaps an "unintentional intentional walk." Kelly Christner up... Flies out to center, runners can't advance... Up to Kelsey Susalla... Grounds out to second to end half-inning... Still 1-0 FSU... Michigan comes up for final swings in top of the seventh. Score or go home... Tera Blanco leads off... Fouling pitches off at 0-2... Blanco works count to 3-2, then called out looking at borderline inside pitch... Aidan Falk up... Singles to right... Lindsay Montemarano up... Pop-up bunt for second out... (Comment as a Michigan fan: Why bunt???)... Amanda Vargas represents last hope for Michigan... Pop out to first... 1-0 FSU win, Wolverines' season over...

I'm pretty open about being a Michigan fan, as shown in this Twitter "tweet" from the eve of last year's WCWS championship round. With most of last year's national runner-up team returning, I was pretty optimistic about this year. With two-time defending champion Florida off to a hot start this season and seemingly difficult to dethrone, my motto for Michigan was "Championship Round or Bust." Once Florida got eliminated in the super-regionals, however, my motto changed to "National Title or Bust." Well, the season ends "Bust." Too bad for the two Sierras and the other seniors. It was good to get back to the WCWS, but I (and probably many other Wolverine fans) were looking for bigger things. Go Blue!  

Here is the loss chart, showing where all of the teams currently stand...

No LossesOne LossTwo Losses (Gone)
MichiganFlorida StateFlorida State
OklahomaUCLAUCLA
GeorgiaAlabamaAlabama
AuburnLSULSU

GeorgiaGeorgia

MichiganMichigan








Saturday, June 04, 2016

WCWS Day 3 (2016)

Under the usual Women's College World Series format, today would be "Survival Saturday." The remaining undefeated teams would be getting a day of rest, and all the teams playing on Saturday would have had a loss from Thursday or Friday, making them vulnerable under the double-elimination procedure. However, because of Thursday night's rain-outs, the schedule has been shifted around. Only some of today's games, therefore, are pitting one-loss teams against each other, with the loser going home and the winner surviving.

These elimination games feature Florida St. vs. UCLA, and LSU vs. Alabama. This evening's games, matching up teams who won their WCWS openers, include Georgia vs. Auburn, and Oklahoma vs. Michigan (the latter pitting the Romero sisters against each other).

To keep track of how many losses a given team has, see the chart at the bottom of this posting...

SUNDAY MATCH-UPS: Michigan vs. Florida State, and LSU vs. Georgia, in elimination games, to get things going...

OKLAHOMA vs. MICHIGAN (WINNERS' BRACKET) -- Fast start for OU, with HBP and single... Shay Knighten's single up the middle drives in two... Bunt single by Sydney Romero... Knighten steals third... Scores on OU steal of second... Now 3-0 Sooners... Bloop behind second caught by Sierra Romero for first out... Megan Betsa gets K for second out; catcher bobbles ball, so throws to first to be sure of recording out, letting Sooner runner take third... Another K (with follow-up throw to first) ends half-inning... Two Sierras (Lawrence and Romero) retired for Michigan, before Kelly Christner singles... Out attempting to steal second... Bottom 2: Kelsey Susalla singles and Tera Blanco walks to start things off... Aidan Falk bunt advances runners, now one out... Lindsay Montemarano's pop to center too shallow to bring home runner... Up to Amanda Vargas... Ground-out to second ends threat... Solo shot by Sydney Romero makes it 4-zip Sooners in top of third... Nice catch in bottom third by OU's Nicole Pendley in center on warning-track drive by Sierra Romero... Michigan gets one on, but no runs... Aidan Falk hits two-run homer in bottom of fourth, just over fair-pole, cuts deficit to 4-2... Vargas doubles with two out... Abby Ramirez walks, bringing up Sierra Lawrence... Line-shot off pitcher's mitt goes for infield single... Bases loaded for Sierra Romero... Can she match her sister's earlier homer? No homer, but she beats out slow infield roller (hit to her sister, as ESPN announcers point out!), making it 4-3 Sooners... Christner up... Strikes out to end threat... Pendley leadoff homer in top sixth gives OU some cushion, 5-3... Sooners in commanding position in top seventh, one run in on bases-loaded walk (making it 6-3), with only one out... Sara Driesenga replaces Betsa in circle for UM... Force at the plate for second out... Infield hit makes it 7-3... Force at third ends half-inning... Wolverines need at least four runs in the bottom of the second or it's off to the losers' bracket... Michigan barely hanging on with two on, two out... Can UM revive the Mizzou magic from the super-regionals? Falk singles in a run (7-4)... Lindsay Montemarano, only hitless Wolverine (per ESPN), comes to plate as tying run... No longer hitless, Montemarano makes it 7-5 on sharp single to left... Amanda Vargas potential winning run at the plate... HBP... Bases loaded for Ramirez, tying run in scoring position... 2-0 count to Ramirez... 3-0... 3-1... Full count... Grounder back to pitcher ends game... OU wins 7-5.

GEORGIA vs. AUBURN (WINNERS' BRACKET) -- Georgia leading 3-1, as Auburn comes up in the top of the sixth... Nothing doing for Tigers... Still 3-1 UGA, as Auburn comes up in top of the seventh... Leadoff single...  Booted grounder near second (potential double-play) gives Tigers runners at the corners with none out... Hard single to right for Kasey Cooper, cuts deficit to 3-2... Emily Carosone follows with another single, tie game! Still no outs, as Auburn has runners on corners... Pitching change for Georgia: Brittany Gray in for Chelsea Wilkinson... Pop to first, one out... Tigers take 4-3 lead on fielder's choice force at second (actually, runner from first called for running out of the basepath)... Another out ruled for Auburn firstthird-base coach touching incoming runner to guide her along, but only after run had scored. Got that?... These two tweets from Auburn capture the situation well:


Georgia now bats in bottom of seventh, trailing 4-3... First batter retired... K for second out... Bulldogs barely alive on 3-2 walk; had to consult base umpire for decision on whether or not swing took place... Element of surprise: Samantha LaZear beats out drag bunt to first... Fool me twice? No, Sydni Emanuel's bunt attempt fielded cleanly for final out... Auburn wins 4-3.

ALABAMA vs. LSU (ELIMINATION GAME) -- LSU's Sandra Simmons leads off the game with a homer, just inside the right-field fair-pole (or as some call it, "foul-pole")... Tigers leave the bases loaded, however, so Bama lucky to be trailing only 1-0... Haylie McCleney with leadoff two-bagger for Tide in bottom of first... Demi Turner's sac-fly to warning track in right advances runner to third... Grounder to short (with runner held) and strike-out end Bama threat... Top 3: On a seemingly routine LSU bunt of a runner (Bianka Bell) from first to second, Crimson Tide leaves third unattended, so Bell takes extra base (with one out)... Bell scores on ground-out to second, 2-0 Tigers... Top 3: Sydney Booker leads off with double to wall in right-center... Kallie Case drives ball to similar location, but Bailey Landry with nice catch for Tigers. Bama runner, with an aggressive jump, must rush back to second... McCleney walks... Turner with infield hit between first and second... Leona Lafaele single to left drives in one run... Marisa Runyon hits into double-play (Constance Quinn tags runner going to second, throws batter out at first)... Tigers take 2-1 lead into top of fourth... Amber Serrett singles with one out... Emily Griggs, with outfielders playing shallow, drives ball over their heads for double, Serrett to third... Madi Moore replaces Sydney Littlejohn in circle for Alabama... Sandra Simmons bloops single to shallow left, driving in run... Simmons takes second on throw to third... Wild-pitch scores another, making it 4-1 LSU; other runner advances to third... Landry walks, putting runners on corners for Bell... Great catch by Chandler Dare on bloop behind second for second out (runners hold)... Sahvanna Jaquish up, crushes double to wall in left, bringing home two. Tigers lead 6-1... Kellsi Kloss at the plate, flies out to right (Kloss doesn't literally fly, the ball does)... Tide facing big hole as it bats in bottom of fourth... ESPN graphic: Bama facing first (potential) two-and-done elimination since 2006 (although not in WCWS in 2007, 2010, and 2013)... Tide retired in bottom of fourth... Fast-forward to bottom of sixth: Alabama solo home-run (Lafaele), HBP, error, and two singles cut deficit to 6-3... Bases loaded with one out... Another error makes it 6-4, bases still loaded... McCleney up, taps to pitcher (Walljasper) for force at home... Two outs now for Turner... Ground-out ends threat... LSU goes quietly, bringing up Bama for final swings... K for first out... Runyon sharp single to right; according to ESPN announcer, Runyon's first hit in 22 AB... Grounder to pitcher leads to 1-6-3 double-play, ending the contest... LSU wins 6-4 to stay alive, Tide goes home...

FLORIDA ST. vs. UCLA (ELIMINATION GAME) -- In Saturday's first game, FSU leads 7-4, with UCLA batting in the bottom of the fifth... Same score, as the Seminoles bat in the top of the seventh... Bruins come up in the bottom half, now trailing 8-4... UCLA goes quickly in the bottom of the seventh and is eliminated...


No LossesOne LossTwo Losses (Gone)
MichiganFlorida State
OklahomaUCLAUCLA
GeorgiaAlabamaAlabama
AuburnLSU

Georgia

Michigan






HTML Tables

Friday, June 03, 2016

WCWS Day 2 (2016) -- Which Includes Completion of Two Day-1 Games

DAY-1 GAME 4 -- LSU vs. MICHIGAN (PLAYED ON DAY 2)

The Tigers and Wolverines are now underway, roughly 24 hours after they were supposed to play... Bailey Landry drives a one-out double to the left-field wall to get things going for LSU... Strike-out and infield pop-up end the threat... Sierra Lawrence on third for Michigan with two outs in the bottom of the first; she walked, then advanced a base at a time on two ground-outs... Fly-out to left ends the inning... Elyse Thornhill's infield single doesn't lead to anything for LSU in top second... Bottom 2: UM's Lindsay Montemarano bloops a two-out single to left, barely beyond the infield dirt... Nothing comes of it, though... Top 4: Bianka Bell leads off with an infield single for the Tigers (chopper over third-baseperson's head, retrieved by shortstop)... Two-out walk puts Tigers on first and second... K ends inning... One-out single for Michigan's Kelsey Susalla in bottom of fourth, followed by Tera Blanco base-hit (Susalla to second)... Fly-out to left brings up Montemarano with two out... Montemarano dribbler to second, out on close play at first to retire side... Top 5: Amber Serrett out on close play at first on spinning ball hit a short distance... Emily Griggs bloops one just over third for single... Sandra Simmons walks... Landry beats ball into ground; out when it bounces up and hits her outside the batter's box... Bell up with two outs... K to end half-inning... Wolverines go quietly in bottom half... Interesting stat from ESPN: In same number of innings (5), Michigan's Megan Betsa has thrown 91 pitches, to only 56 for LSU's Allie Walljasper... Top 6: Betsa retires Tigers in rare 1-2-3 inning... Sierra Romero leading off bottom half for the Wolverines, walks... Kelly Christner with 3-0 count; after two strikes, singles to right (Romero to second)... Susalla up, bunts foul for 0-2 count; now full count; pitch in dirt for Ball 4, loading bases with no outs... Tera Blanco up... Carley Hoover will try to vacuum up LSU's current mess, replacing Walljasper... Blanco doubles to right-field wall, driving in two... Hoover strikes out Aidan Falk for first UM out... Dribbler back to circle leads to runner from third being thrown out at plate (runner advances from second to third)... Wolverines send up Amanda Vargas to pinch-hit... Vargas keeps fouling pitches off (0-2 count)... Defensive indifference as UM runner "steals" second... Vargas still fouling 'em off (count now 2-2)... Strikes out swinging... LSU down to its final three outs, trailing 2-0... Quinn, Serrett, and Griggs due up... Ground-out on hard shot to third for first out... K for second out... Soft grounder back to circle for final out... Michigan wins 2-0...


DAY-1 GAME 3 -- ALABAMA vs. OKLAHOMA (PLAYED ON DAY 2)

Yesterday's Alabama-Oklahoma game, which was halted after an inning and a half due to rain, has resumed today. The Sooners came up for their swings in the bottom of the second, but went down uneventfully. Scoreless, with Bama batting in the top of the third... Sydney Booker pop-up finds the grass between OU right-fielder and second-baseperson; Booker on second with one out... Tide can't drive her in, however... Sooners down quietly in bottom of third... Pitchers Alexis Osorio (Alabama) and Paige Parker (Oklahoma) are having their way so far... And so it goes until the bottom of the eighth, when OU's Shay Knighten delivers three-run walk-off homer to win it for Sooners by 3-0 score...

Thursday, June 02, 2016

WCWS Day 1 (2016)

UPDATED SCHEDULE DUE TO THURSDAY-NIGHT RAIN-OUTS


GAME 3 -- ALABAMA vs. OKLAHOMA

Bama retired 1-2-3 in the top of the first... OU gets a runner via walk, but thrown out on steal attempt by wide margin to end first inning... Rain and wind picking up, but play continues into second inning... Crimson Tide goes 1-2-3 again in second, before tide of rain forces delay...


GAME 2 -- UCLA vs. AUBURN

Our next game will be a rematch of last year's extra-inning WCWS classic, won by Auburn 11-10 over UCLA (click here and then scroll down on the new page, for a summary)... Game underway... Round-the-horn ground-ball double-play retires UCLA in top of first... Auburn gets first batter aboard via HBP... Kasey Cooper doubles to right-center gap, leaving runners on second and third with none out... Weak infield pop-up, one down... Walk to load bases... Another HBP brings home game's first run... Paige McDuffee replacing Selina Ta'Amilo in circle for Bruins... Sac-fly to right makes it 2-0 Tigers... Another HBP loads bases and yet another one brings home run for 3-0 Auburn lead... Bad UCLA throw on routine grounder to 2B yields two more runs... Ground-out to third ends inning, 5-0 Auburn... After Auburn ups lead to 7-0 after three, Bruins show signs of life on three-run blast by Mysha Sataraka... Game over: 10-3 Auburn is your final...


GAME 1 -- GEORGIA vs. FLORIDA STATE

Joltin' Jessica Warren sends a blast to give Florida State a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first over Georgia... Pair of Seminole errors gives Bulldogs runners on first and second, none out, in top of second... Runners each advance a base on passed-ball... Back-to-back sac-flies tie the game, without Georgia getting a single hit... Ground-out ends half-inning... Top 3: Georgia again puts first two runners on, via a short bloop single and beating out a bunt... Meghan King replaces Jessica Burroughs in the circle for FSU... Pop-out on bunt attempt, one down... Hard single up the middle by Alyssa DiCarlo gives UGA 3-2 lead, runners on corners with one out... Another single up the middle, this time by Tina Iosefa, makes it 4-2... K for second out... Another K ends threat... Fast-forward to the bottom of the sixth: FSU's Alex Powers powers one over the left-field fence for a game-tying two-run homer... Seminoles with runners on first and second, two out, in bottom of sixth... Pop-up ends threat... Top 7: Airmailed throw to second on steal attempt puts Georgia runner on third... Scores on ground-out after throw to first (close play at plate)... 5-4 Dawgs... Noles coming up, down to final three outs... Nothing doing for FSU, as Georgia pulls it out (ESPN broadcast cut out before final out, but Game Tracker comes through)... Here's your key to the game:


Monday, May 30, 2016

Super-Regionals Aftermath (2016)

ESPN-W summarizes the key facts for the eight teams that will be playing in the Women's College World Series.

ESPN has a video feature on the Romero sisters, Michigan's Sierra and Oklahoma's Sydney. It has apparently been running on television for over a month, but I didn't catch it until yesterday. With the Wolverines and the Sooners both making the WCWS, the feature remains highly topical!

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Super-Regional Tracker -- Sunday (2016)

Game 3 of the UCLA-Oregon super-regional, the final game of a long day, is underway... Duck ace Cheridan Hawkins, who did not pitch Game 2, comes out rusty in the top of the first. A walk, a single, and an airmailed throw to third on the single give UCLA a 1-0 lead... Selina Ta'amilo, who pitched Game 2, goes again in Game 3 for the Bruins... Jenna Lilley leads off Oregon half with base-hit... UCLA can't handle Nikki Udria's bunt, putting runners on first and second... Another bunt (on which UCLA gets out at first) puts Ducks on second and third... Bruins make a quick pitching change, bringing in Paige McDuffee... K for second out... Janelle Lindvall at the plate, HBP to load bases ("Ducks on the Pond")... Lauren Lindvall up, flies out to right, ending threat... UCLA adds a run in the fourth, making it 2-0... Oregon gets a run in the bottom of the seventh and puts the tying run at second with two outs, but can't get the equalizer... UCLA wins 2-1 to advance to the WCWS!

Comments during UCLA-Oregon Game 2:

Game 2 between UCLA and Oregon now taking place in Eugene, with Ducks trying to close out series... Leadoff triple by Jenna Lilley, followed by sac-fly, gives Oregon 1-0 lead in top of first... Nothing but zeroes have been added to the scoreboard, now with UCLA batting in the bottom of the sixth... Bruins have a runner on first with two outs... Oregon SS Nikki Udria makes great inning-ending catch with her back to the infield to grab Brianna Tautalafua's blooper to left... UCLA down to its final three outs, trailing 1-0... Bruins' Gabrielle Maurice homers with one out to tie game in bottom of seventh... No further damage, so Bruins and Ducks going extras... Top 8: Lilley slugs two-out double... Ground-out ends Duck threat... Allexis Bennett leads off bottom half with single for UCLA... Bunt attempt popped up, one out... Fielder's choice at second leaves Bruins with runner on first, two out... Inning ends with UCLA runner being called out for leaving early on steal attempt... Top 9: UO gets first batter aboard on infield hit... Infield pop for first out... K for second out... And another K for third out... Bottom 9: Mysha Sataraka leads off with double... Tautalafua up, bunts potential winning run to third (with one out)... Madeline Jelenicki up... ESPN announcers suggest walking next two batters to set up force at home... Ducks opt against this strategy... Jelenicki singles home winning run, 2-1 Bruins... Game 3 coming up!

Auburn has come back from an opening-game loss to Arizona to win its super-regional (see table below)...

Comments during Arizona-Auburn Game 3:

Game 3 between Arizona and Auburn is underway... Auburn is the home team... Kaylee Carlson starts in the circle, after Makayla Martin had pitched in Game 2... Arizona goes down 1-2-3 in the first... O'Toole Time for Arizona in the circle... HBP to leadoff hitter Tiffany Howard... Wild-pitched to second... Kasey Cooper singles to left, driving in game's first run. Cooper to second on throw home and takes third on hard-to-handle pitch... Auburn leads 1-0... Emily Carosone up... Another HBP... Sac-fly to right by Carlee Wallace makes it 2-0... Carasone out for leaving early trying to steal second... Jade Rhodes to first on strike-out that gets away from catcher. Auburn will thus get four outs this at-bat... And that fourth out comes quickly on a grounder to third... Next couple of innings go uneventfully... ESPN graphic with two out in Arizona third: Auburn defense has recorded 35 of 50 outs this series via ground-out... Auburn with runners at second and third after Cooper single and Carsone double, one out, bottom three... Grounder to third, throw comes home, gets away, both runners score. Auburn leads 4-0, runner to second... Runner to third on ground-out... Nice play by Arizona 2B Ashleigh Hughes to short-hop line-drive and throw runner out at first... Mo Mercado with one-out double in top of fourth. Is Arizona in the market for some runs? Nope, side retired... Nancy Bowling in to pitch for Wildcats in bottom of fourth. Coach Mike Candrea tells ESPN interviewers, "We have some fresh pitchers" who can give Auburn hitters a different look... Haley Fagan solo shot in bottom of fifth makes it 5-0 Auburn... Top 6: Arizona strings together some singles for a run, two out... Hard grounder to first ends half-inning for Wildcats, as they trail 5-1... Auburn adds run in bottom of sixth to increase its lead to 6-1... Zona down to its final three outs... First two Wildcats hit singles, Tamara Statman to center and Dotson via the infield variety... Eva Watson makes it three straight singles (hers to outfield), loading bases... Mandie Perez at the plate, lines out to third, with Statman safely scampering back to the bag... Hughes lines out to second... Mercado hits grounder a short distance in front of home, catcher picks up ball, steps on plate and the game is over... Auburn wins game, 6-1, and series...

SEC will have four teams in Women's College World Series, but two of them had to come back from losing super-regional openers, LSU and Auburn. The other two SEC squads, Georgia and Alabama, swept their respective supers... We'll also have one team each from the B1G (Michigan), Big 12 (Oklahoma), ACC (Florida State), and Pac 12 (Oregon or UCLA).

Comments during Arizona-Auburn Game 2:

Arizona leads Auburn 1-0 in Game 2 of the teams' series, as the Wildcats seek to close things out... Auburn gets a leadoff double from Emily Carosone in the top of the fourth. Carosone was initially called out at second, but was given the bag due to obstruction by the first-baseperson who was ruled to be in the runner's way when the two made contact... Carlee Wallace then HBP... Jade Rhodes pops up bunt attempt for first out... Haley Fagan up, doubles over CF's head to the wall, two score, giving Tigers 2-1 lead... Madi Gipson up, flares a single to right, runners at the corners... Taylor McQuillin replacing Danielle O'Toole in the circle for Arizona (O'Toole's Game-2 difficulties reminiscent of second outing vs. Tennessee in regionals, but Zona hung on in that one)... Whitney Jordan up, HBP, loading bases... Jenna Abbott to pinch hit... Pop to shallow left doesn't advance runners... Tiffany Howard flares single to left-center, just beyond shortstop's glove, putting Auburn up 4-1. Howard takes second on throw in, leaving runners at second and third... Kasey Cooper up, pops to short to end half-inning... Katiyana Mauga leads off bottom of fourth for Arizona with deep fly to right that goes off fielder's mitt and rolls to wall. Mauga gets to second; would have been a tough catch, but ruled an error... Three straight ground-outs end Wildcat threat... Auburn loads bases in top of fifth with two outs for Jordan... Strikes out looking... Auburn pitcher Makayla Martin starts out cruising in bottom of fifth, retiring first two batters and getting 0-2 count on third... Martin then walks batter and hits next one, putting two on... Force at second ends inning... Bottom 6: One-out infield error followed by ground single to left gives Arizona runners on first and second... Ground-out to first advances runners to second and third with two out... Alexis Dotson, who doubled in Arizona's only run thus far, at the plate... Dotson grounds out, ending inning... Wildcats down to their final three outs in Game 2... Leadoff single, followed by fly-out to center... Force at second and infield line-out end game, with Tigers prevailing 4-1... Auburn and Arizona going to a decisive Game 3...

Michigan has swept its series from Missouri, winning 5-4 today. Trailing 4-1, the Wolverines scored four runs in the top of the seventh, then withstood a Tiger rally that put runners on first and third (here's the final out). Michigan's four-run rally included five hits -- two after two were out -- and a Mizzou wild pitch that allowed the go-ahead run to score.

TeamsGame 1Game 2Game 3
Georgia (16) at Florida (1)*GeorgiaGeorgia---
Missouri (15) at Michigan (2)***MichiganMichigan---
LA-Lafayette (14) at Oklahoma (3)*OklahomaOklahoma---
Arizona at Auburn (4)***ArizonaAuburnAuburn
UCLA (12) at Oregon (5)***OregonUCLAUCLA
Washington (11) at Alabama (6)**AlabamaAlabama---
LSU (10) at James Madison (7)**J. MadisonLSULSU
Utah at Florida State (8)**Florida St.Florida St.---
*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.


Here's a link to the bracket on the official NCAA website, for those who would like to follow the super-regionals that way.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Super-Regional Tracker -- Saturday (2016)

Once again, we have our super-regional board (below), documenting the winner of every game. Game articles are available by clicking on the highlighted school names...

Already on Saturday, LSU has evened its series with James Madison at a game apiece, by a 2-0 margin...

In the decisive Game 3, LSU leads JMU 1-0, as the Dukes bat in the bottom of the second... "Good" times for James Madison as Megan ties it up in bottom of fourth... LSU with a rally going in the top of the fifth -- one run in, bases loaded, one out. Megan Good replaces Jailyn Ford in the circle after three walks in inning... Sac-fly to deep center, all runners advance, making it 3-1 Tigers... Dukes' 2B Madyson Moran makes great catch running out to shallow center to snag blooper; saves a run or two! Moran leads of bottom of fifth with single to center... HBP with one out puts runners on first and second... Runners then advance on WP/PB (not sure which)... Ground out holds runners... Another grounder, but throw pulls first-baseperson off bag, allowing run to score. Now 3-2 LSU... Good receives intentional walk to load bases with two outs... Ford comes up, pops out, ending JMU threat... Still 3-2 LSU, as Tigers bat in top of seventh... LSU retired, JMU coming up with last chance to keep season alive... Niki Prince with leadoff walk... Hannah Hayes up... Amazing catch by LSU 2B Constance Quinn on high-liner; runner gets back to first safely... Erica Field strikes out... Morgan Tolle up, singles Prince to third (very close call, runner very well may have been out) and takes second on throw... Good again gets free pass to load bases... Ford up... Count reaches 2-0, walk would tie game... Next pitch a strike... Ford fouls pitch off, then swings and misses.... LSU moves on -- barely!

Michigan puts up three runs in the bottom of the first to lead Missouri 3-0... Mizzou's Chloe Rathburn burns Michigan for a two-run homer in the top of the third, cutting Wolverines' lead to 3-2... Michigan's Lindsay Montemarano drills two-out, two-run homer to left, upping lead to 5-2 in bottom of fifth... Top six: A whack by Kirsten Mack cuts Mizzou deficit to 5-3 (previous batter called out at first on infield grounder was probably safe; could have been two runs for Tigers)... Kolby Romaine walks for Mizzou with two out... Taylor Gadbois chops tough ball towards second; Sierra Romero's throw gets away, sending Romaine to third (Gadbois stays at first)... Fly-out to center ends threat... Michigan closes out Game 1, 5-3. Mizzou leadoff walk brought potential tying runs to plate, but three great defensive plays give Wolverines the win.

Florida State-Utah Game 2 underway... Noles strand runner at third in top of first... Jessica Warren goes opposite field, nailing two-run homer in top of third (distance measure), making it 2-0 FSU... Final is 3-0, as Seminoles advance to Women's College World Series.

Alabama, trying to close out Washington, leads 4-2 heading to the top (Bama) of the fifth... Now 5-2 Tide, heading into top of seventh... That's the final score, as Bama advances.

Arizona takes 1-0 lead at Auburn in the third... Tigers threatening in bottom half... and they take a 2-1 lead... No further scoring for Auburn (runner on third trying to score on grounder to pitcher thwarted for second out)... Top 5: Zona uses bunts, soft grounders to manufacture run, tie game 2-2... Top 6: Wildcats threatening on back-to-back singles (one to outfield, one high infield chopper), leaving runners  with one out... Rachael Walters replacing Kaylee Carlson  in circle for Auburn... Bunt single loads bases... Small-ball being played to perfection! HBP drives in go-ahead run for Arizona, 3-2... Wildcats take Game 1, 5-3.

Oregon dominates UCLA, 8-1.

TeamsGame 1Game 2Game 3
Georgia (16) at Florida (1)*GeorgiaGeorgia---
Missouri (15) at Michigan (2)***Michigan

LA-Lafayette (14) at Oklahoma (3)*OklahomaOklahoma---
Arizona at Auburn (4)***Arizona

UCLA (12) at Oregon (5)***Oregon

Washington (11) at Alabama (6)**AlabamaAlabama---
LSU (10) at James Madison (7)**J. MadisonLSULSU
Utah at Florida State (8)**Florida St.Florida St.---
*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.


Here's a link to the bracket on the official NCAA website, for those who would like to follow the super-regionals that way.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Super-Regional Tracker -- Friday (2016)

I'll be updating the following table all weekend, as results from the super-regionals come in...

Already, we have one shocker, as No. 16 Georgia shutout No. 1 Florida on Thursday night. The two-time defending national champion Gators now have no room for error, as they must sweep two games from the Bulldogs today.

James Madison gets a walk-off win over LSU in Game 1 of their series (video).

Florida in serious jeopardy of a stunning elimination, as the Gators trail Georgia 1-0 in Game 2, top (Florida) half of the fifth... Gators get runners on first and third with one out in top of fifth... HBP on an 0-2 pitch loads the bases... Another hit batter (on a 1-2 count) ties the game... Ground-out to first plates go-ahead Gator run... Grounder to short ends half-inning with 2-1 UF lead... UGA goes down scoreless in bottom of fifth... Nothing for Florida in the top of the sixth... Nothing for Georgia in the bottom half, either... Scoreless top of seventh for Gators... Last chance for Bulldogs... Fly-out to CF, 1 one out...  Maeve McGuire beats out high chopper to short, high throw draws first-baseperson off bag... Line-out to short brings UGA down to last out... Kaylee "Moose" Puailoa pinch-hitting... Hits dramatic two-run homer to center (video)... Florida done!!!

Florida State leads Utah 1-0 in the bottom (FSU) half of the fourth... Seminoles up their lead to 2-0, bottom fifth... Florida State wins 6-2.

Washington leads Alabama 1-0 after two complete... Game tied 1-1, but Huskies threatening with bases loaded and two outs in top of fifth... Fly-out to right ends threat... Bama threatening with runners at the corners, one out, bottom fifth... A rare 6-4-3 groundball double-play gets U-Dub out of the inning... Huskies with runners on first and second, one out, in top of sixth... Fly-out to left and strike-out end threat... Crimson Tide with runners on first and second, one out, in bottom of seventh... Ground-out advances runners to second and third... Washington pitching to Leona Fafaele, rather than issuing intentional walk... Foul-out by third base ends threat... Going to extras... Huskies threatening in top of eighth -- second and third with two outs... Strike-out ends threat... Leadoff walk, wild pitch, give Bama potential game-winning run on second with no outs... Walk puts runner on first (although her run wouldn't matter)... Bama bunt loads bases, as U-Dub tries unsuccessfully for force at third... Demi Turner lines a shot back to pitcher, who can't catch it in the air; run scores to give Alabama a 2-1 win.

Oklahoma leads Louisiana-Lafayette 2-0, with the Sooners still batting in the top of the second... Now 3-0... and that's how the top of the second ends... Sara Corbello solo shot ties the game at 3-3, bottom fourth... Sydney Romero homer puts Sooners back on top, 4-3, top fifth... Cajuns come up in bottom of fifth... OU looking to pad its lead, with runners on second and third, one out, in top of sixth... Infield bloop out fails to advance runners... Shay Knighten singles home two, increasing Sooners' edge to 6-3... ULL coming up in bottom of sixth... OU adds another run in top of seventh for 7-3 lead... Cajuns not going easily -- walk and double off the wall in right-center give them runners on second and third with no outs... Fly-out to center, runners hold... Fly-out to right-center, runners again hold... Kelsey Vincent pounds three-run homer to center, now 7-6 Sooners... Walk to Aleah Creighton puts tying run on base, winning run at the plate... Sooner pitcher Paige Parker looks like she's pitching on fumes... Infield bloop out sends OU to Women's College World Series.

Click on links in table for game articles...

TeamsGame 1Game 2Game 3
Georgia (16) at Florida (1)*GeorgiaGeorgia---
Missouri (15) at Michigan (2)***


LA-Lafayette (14) at Oklahoma (3)*OklahomaOklahoma---
Arizona at Auburn (4)***


UCLA (12) at Oregon (5)***


Washington (11) at Alabama (6)**Alabama

LSU (10) at James Madison (7)**J. Madison

Utah at Florida State (8)**Florida St.
*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.


Here's a link to the bracket on the official NCAA website, for those who would like to follow the super-regionals that way.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Super-Regional Info from Around the Internet (2016)

ESPN.com's Graham Hays previews the super-regionals.

Each super-regional series will be played over two days (a single game on Day 1, with a double-header on Day 2 if a decisive third game is needed). As detailed here, two series will be played on Thursday-Friday (Florida-Georgia, Oklahoma-Louisiana Lafayette); three will be played on Friday-Saturday (Alabama-Washington, James Madison-LSU, Florida State-Utah); and three on Saturday-Sunday (Michigan-Missouri, Auburn-Arizona, Oregon-UCLA).

For many of these teams, making the super-regionals is old-hat. The super-regional format is now in its twelfth year, having been introduced in 2005. Here are the teams with the longest continuous streaks of making the supers:

Alabama, made it all twelve years

Oklahoma, seven straight

Oregon, seven straight

Louisiana-Lafayette, five straight

Florida State, four straight

UCLA, three straight

LSU, two straight

Auburn, two straight

And some impressive near-continuous streaks:

Michigan, eleven out of twelve

Arizona, eleven out of twelve

Florida, nine of the last ten years

Missouri, eight of the last nine years

Georgia, eight of the last nine years

Washington, seven of the last eight years

Finally, James Madison and Utah will be making their first-ever appearances in the super-regionals.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

NCAA 2016 Regionals -- Sunday Status

The following table shows the status of each regional. The "2-0" and "2-1" column headings reflect teams' records entering Sunday's play (with the exception of the Columbia, Missouri regional, which started a day earlier). Under the double-elimination format, the "2-1" team had to beat the "2-0" team twice on Sunday to advance. Teams in bold (with game-article links) have advanced to the super-regionals.


Region2-02-1EliminatedEliminated
Gainesville, FLFlorida (1)C. FloridaFl. AtlanticAlabama St.
Ann Arbor, MIMichigan (2)Notre DameMiami (OH)Valparaiso
Norman, OKOklahoma (3)Ole MissWichita St.Tulsa
Auburn, ALAuburn (4)Jacksonville St.SC UpstateOregon St.
Eugene, OROregon (5)BaylorLong Beach St.Baylor
Tuscaloosa, ALAlabama (6)CalTexas St.Samford
Harrisonburg, VAJ. Madison (7)LongwoodN. CarolinaPrinceton
Tallahassee, FLFlorida St. (8)S. CarolinaS. FloridaFlorida A&M
Lexington, KYUtahKentucky* (9)IllinoisButler
Baton Rouge, LALSU (10)Arizona St.McNeese St.LIU-Brooklyn
Seattle, WAWashington (11)MinnesotaN. Dakota St.Weber St.
Los Angeles, CAUCLA (12)CS FullertonFresno St.CS Bakers.
Knoxville, TNArizonaTennessee (13)Ohio St.Marist
Lafayette, LAULL (14)Texas A&MTexasBoston U.
Columbia, MOMissouri (15)NebraskaBYULouisville
Athens, GAGeorgia (16)Oklahoma St.*NorthwesternMaine
*Beat the "2-0" team to set up a winner-take-all game.

Here are some comments I posted during the day: 

Tennessee has finally gotten to Arizona ace Danielle O'Toole, with Lexi Overstreet slugging a three-run homer in the top of the fourth to give the Vols a 3-1 lead... Tennessee leaves the bases loaded in the fourth, however, so things aren't as bad for U of A as they could have been... Bottom fifth: A Tennessee fielding error (a grounder to short with a runner on first, which gets through) helps Arizona tie the game 3-3... Wildcats bring O'Toole back, with Vols having runners on first and third with no outs in the top of the seventh. Still 3-3... Tennessee hits into two infield outs, lead runner still at third... Third straight infield out ends threat... U of A can advance to super-regionals with a run in the bottom of the seventh... Zona goes quietly, Tennessee batting in the top of the eighth... Nothing doing for Vols... Wildcats scratch out a run (error puts runner on first, bunted to second, singled home) to win 4-3 and advance...

Cal State Fullerton is out fast against UCLA... However, a three-run homer and a solo shot now have the Bruins in the lead, 5-3...

Also off to an early lead is Washington over Minnesota. Currently 4-1 U-Dub...

Georgia leads Oklahoma State 2-0 in a winner-take-all contest...

Louisiana-Lafayette off to a 1-0 lead over Texas A&M on a homer by senior Lexie Elkins. Elkins, the first overall pick in last month's National Pro Fastpitch draft, played her frosh season at Texas Tech (home of your humble blogger).

Saturday, May 21, 2016

NCAA 2016 Regionals -- Saturday Updates

Only two of the 16 seeded teams have stumbled thus far in the NCAA tournament. Thirteen seeded teams are undefeated and on pace to win their respective regionals. No. 15 Missouri has already won its region, which started a day earlier than the other ones.

No. 9 Kentucky fell to Utah by a 3-0 score. The Utes (2-0) face a rematch with the Wildcats, who rebounded with a win over Illinois Butler in the losers' bracket. Utah needs but a single win to advance to the super-regionals, whereas Kentucky would have to beat Utah twice.

In Knoxville, it was O'Toole Time* as Arizona's Danielle O'Toole nearly pitched a perfect game in the Wildcats' 4-0 win over No. 13 Tennessee. The Vols will play Ohio State at noon (Eastern) Sunday, with the winner getting a crack at Arizona. The Wildcats will need just one win to advance, whereas whichever team ends up being U of A's opponent will need to win twice.

An NCAA bracket that updates after each game is available here.

---
*The "O'Toole Time" phrasing is a reference to the popular 1990s TV series "Home Improvement," in which Tim Allen starred as host of the fictitious show "Tool Time."

Sunday, May 15, 2016

2016 Geospatial Map of NCAA Tournament

The 64-team field and 16 regional hosts for this year's NCAA tournament were announced tonight (link). The No. 1 and 2 seedings of Florida and Michigan, respectively, were no surprise, even with each losing in its respective conference tournament (SEC, B1G). Oklahoma at No. 3 caught me a little off-guard. The Sooners had been ranked fifth and tied for fourth in the most recent national polls, did not compile a particularly stunning nonconference resume (notwithstanding a single win over Alabama), and played in a conference, the Big 12, which was down this year.

Anyway, below is my annual plotting of where teams are headed in the NCAA tourney. Each map depicts five or six of the regions, for optimal visibility. I have used a new method to create my maps this year, thanks to the free plotting website BatchGeo.

First is a map of the Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, James Madison, Kentucky, and LSU regional sites, each with its own color code (see bottom of map). Teams in the Alabama region, for example, are depicted in red (Alabama, Samford, Texas State, and Cal). You can place your cursor over any "balloon" to see the identity of the team.


View 2016 NCAA Softball Regions 1 in a full screen map

The next map shows the Michigan, Missouri (Mizzou), Oregon, Oklahoma (OU), and Tennessee regional sites. The Oregon region (green) may take the cake for the greatest geographical dispersion (Oregon, Long Beach State, Baylor, and the Bronx, New York-based Fordham).


View 2016 NCAA Softball Regions 2 in a full screen map

Finally, we have a map of the UCLA, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana-Lafayette, and Washington regional sites. The UCLA regional (red) has teams entirely from southern and central California (UCLA, Cal State Fullerton, Cal State Bakersfield, and Fresno State), so there is considerable overlap in the balloons. The Florida region (blue) is also pretty compact, but not as much UCLA's.


View 2016 NCAA Softball Regions 3 in a full screen map

Friday, May 13, 2016

No. 1 Florida Ousted by Auburn in SEC Semifinal

Auburn's pitching has struggled lately, to say the least. In the Tigers' final two regular-season SEC series, against Tennessee and Texas A&M, Auburn gave up an average of 9 runs per game! Kaylee Carlson was certainly not the only Auburn pitcher having difficulties, but her performance April 30 at Tennessee vividly illustrates the Tigers' pitching woes. In that game, Carlson lasted only two-thirds of an inning, allowing 6 walks, 3 hits, and 8 earned runs.

Fast forward to today. In Auburn's SEC semifinal match-up with national No. 1 Florida, Carlson didn't give up an earned run as the Tigers upset the Gators 2-1. Earlier in the day, Auburn beat Alabama 6-4.

LSU, a 3-1 winner over Tennessee in the other semifinal, will play Auburn in Saturday's final.

Sunday, May 08, 2016

SEC Regular-Season Wrap-Up; Pac 12 News

Auburn righted its ship a bit, edging Texas A&M, 5-4, to end the Tigers' four-game SEC losing streak. Elsewhere in the conference, Georgia salvaged one win in its three-game series with Alabama, beating the Tide 9-5 today. The SEC will play a conference tournament, beginning on Wednesday; the bracket is available here.

The Pac 12, which doesn't have a conference tourney, will close out its regular season next weekend. With nine schools fielding softball squads, one team always gets a bye from conference play. Next week, it will be UCLA (16-5-1), which is done for the regular season. Barring some unlikely developments, the Bruins will finish second in the conference to Oregon (17-3). The Ducks host Utah for three games next weekend and, should UO get swept, its winning percentage (.739) would fall slightly below UCLA's (.750, counting a tie as half a win). Both the Ducks and Bruins have been very hot of late. Before losing to Cal yesterday, Oregon had won 10 straight conference games. UCLA, meanwhile, concluded Pac 12 play winning nine of its last 10 conference games.

Saturday, May 07, 2016

Busy Weekend to End Regular-Season Play in Some Conferences

Lots of televised softball this weekend, as the SEC and B1G conclude their respective conference seasons and head into conference tournaments next weekend...

No. 6 Auburn, which lost a pair of games a week ago to Tennessee by 10-2 and 12-1 scores, and then lost last night's series-opener to Texas A&M, 6-5 in 8 innings, continues to struggle. Today, the Aggies have bolted out to a 4-0 lead in the top of the first... A&M's Erica Russell homers to lead off the top of the second, making it 5-0... Tigers battle back for four in bottom half; leave bases loaded. Emily Carosone gets Auburn-record 262nd career hit during this inning... Auburn scores two in bottom of third to lead 6-5... A&M threatening in top of fourth, with runners on first and second, one out... Wild pitch and infield hit tie game 6-6... Three-run homer by Samantha Show gives Aggies 9-6 lead... Cali Lanphear goes deep, back-to-back, now 10-6... The final score is 13-6 Aggies.

No. 4 Alabama, which had trailed Georgia 7-1 heading into the bottom of the sixth, has put up five runs to make it 7-6 and is threatening for more... A bases-loaded walk ties it up and Bama gets the go-ahead run on a fielder's choice... Reagan Dykes singles with two outs to make it 9-7 Crimson Tide... Bulldogs go quietly in top of seventh, giving Bama the win.

No. 2 Michigan has finished off Rutgers, 11-1. With the win, the Wolverines have now won nine consecutive B1G regular-season titles (outright or tied).

No. 9/10 Tennessee, which seemed to be surging, suffered a 3-0 shutout today at Mississippi. The teams' series is now tied at a game apiece.

Monday, May 02, 2016

Tennessee Destroys Auburn in Sunday Doubleheader

Auburn will probably drop from its current No. 3 national ranking in both polls, following a pair of run-rule losses to Tennessee on Sunday. Knoxville rainstorms played havoc with what was supposed to be a three-game series, delaying games and ultimately forcing the cancellation of Monday's Game 3.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Mississippi State at Florida

No. 1 Florida and unranked Mississippi State are going to extra innings on Sunday, tied at a run apiece. The game is being televised on the SEC Network. The Bulldogs are trying to salvage a game in the series, the Gators having taken the first two.

UPDATES: No scoring in the eighth; MSU up in the top of the ninth... Amanda Lorenz hits a two-out, two-run homer for Florida in the bottom of the tenth, for a 3-1 Gator win.

No. 2 Michigan easily swept Maryland, as the Wolverines extended their winning streak to 10 games.

No. 3 Auburn rebounded from a mid-week doubleheader split with No. 8 Florida State to sweep Georgia.

After dropping its series opener to Kentucky, No. 4 Alabama took games two and three to win the series.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Florida and Michigan Keep Rolling

No. 5 Louisiana (Lafayette) fell flat in its attempt to join the nation's most elite teams, getting swept in a three-game non-conference series at No. 1 Florida. The Gators won by scores of 5-1, 14-1, and 3-0 this weekend.

No. 2 Michigan* likewise scored a sweep, topping Ohio State by scores of 8-0, 5-1, and 5-3. Though the Buckeyes were not nationally ranked, they brought a 9-1-1 conference record into Ann Arbor. In Sunday's game, televised on the Big Ten Network, Ohio State center-fielder Taylor White did all she could to keep her team in the game. White hit an inside-the-park homer and made two spectacular catches (one running toward left on a deep fly and the other charging in to snag a blooper). OSU led 3-2 in the fifth inning, but UM's Tera Blanco came up with two runners on and drilled a shot to the one place White couldn't track it down -- over the fence.

No. 3 Auburn annihilated Arkansas with three straight run-rule shutouts: 21-0, 23-0, and 10-0.

No. 4 Alabama took two of three from Texas A&M, but did get walloped 14-1 in the finale.

Oklahoma, ranked No. 9 and 12 in the two national polls, continues to run away with the Big 12 race, raising its conference mark to 9-1 with a sweep of Texas.

No. 6  Oregon, which was off this weekend, is setting the pace in the Pac 12 at 10-2.

---
*Michigan and Auburn were tied at No. 2 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll; Michigan was No. 2 and Auburn No. 3 in the USA Today/NFCA poll.

Friday, April 15, 2016

No. 1 Florida Hosts No. 5 Louisiana (Lafayette) in Weekend Series

This weekend's top series is a non-conference match-up, as Florida hosts Louisiana (Lafayette). A series preview is available here.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

No. 1 Michigan Takes Tight Series at Nebraska

Sierra Lawrence, who hit a two-run homer in the top of the seventh Saturday for insurance runs in No. 1 Michigan's 4-1 win over Nebraska, crushed a two-run, seventh-inning home run again on Sunday (video via Twitter) to give the Wolverines an 8-6 lead, which held up. Michigan thus took the series two games to one, after Nebraska had taken Friday's opener.

As fervent a Michigan fan as I am, even I don't think the Wolverines are the No. 1 team in the nation. It's going to take more than the one series loss Florida suffered last week to Alabama for me to believe the Gators should be dethroned.