May 23, 2017
The University of Mississippi softball team didn’t show any signs of nerves despite hosting its first regional in program history. Playing at home in Oxford, the Rebels didn’t have any problems dispatching the other three teams in the tournament.
The Rebels opened the regional with an 8-0 win over the University of Southern Illinois. UM used its eight hits to score five runs in the second inning and three more runs in the fifth inning to close the game out.
Arizona State University tried to upset the Rebels, as the Sun Devils were able to keep UM off the scoreboard through five innings. In the bottom of the sixth inning, however, the Rebels hit two runs that proved to be the difference in their 2-0 win.
In the regional final, the University of North Carolina jumped out to a 2-0 lead after two innings but didn’t score again. UM tied the game with two runs in the top of the fourth inning and scored two more runs in the top of sixth inning. The Rebels added more insurance with another three runs in the top of the seventh inning, but the Tar Heels couldn’t answer. UM pounded out 14 hits in its 7-2 win and advanced to the Super Regionals, which take place Thursday, May 25, through Sunday, May 28.
Next, UM will face the University of California, Los Angeles in a best-of-three series beginning May 25 and ending May 27, with the winner moving on to the NCAA Women’s College World Series.
After the weekend, only 16 of the 64 teams that made the Super Regionals will be left standing. The path to the Women’s College World Series has basically become the SEC-Pac-12 invitational, with those two conferences holding 13 of the final 16 spots.
The SEC put all 13 of its teams in the Super Regionals, and eight of those teams are still standing. Mississippi State University, the University of Missouri, the University of Arkansas, the University of Georgia and the University of South Carolina are the five teams eliminated from the tournament.
There were eight teams from the Pac-12, but the Oregon State University, Arizona State and the University of California, Berkeley have been eliminated. The only crashers at the SEC-Pac-12 party are the University of Oklahoma, Baylor University and Florida State University.
Two of the Super Regional matchups feature SEC teams against Pac-12 teams, as the University of Oregon hosts the University of Kentucky and the above-mentioned UCLA hosts UM. Two of the matchups feature two SEC teams going head to head, as the University of Florida hosts the University of Alabama, and the University of Tennessee hosts Texas A&M University. FSU will host Louisiana State University, and Auburn University will host Oklahoma to round out the rest of the SEC teams.
The Pac-12 will have two of its conference teams facing off, with the University of Washington hosting the University of Utah. The last PAC-12 team, the University of Arizona, will host Baylor.
The eight winners of the Super Regionals will advance to the NCAA Women’s College World Series.