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Michella Chester | NCAA.com | May 25, 2022

The 2022 NCAA softball super regionals, previewed

The 2022 college softball super regionals, previewed

The 2022 NCAA softball super regionals are here. After starting the tournament with 64 teams, we're now down to just 16 competing for a spot in the Women's College World Series. Five unseeded teams — Mississippi State, Arizona, Texas, Oregon State and Stanford — pulled off big-time upsets to advance to the supers. No. 2 Florida State, No. 6 Alabama, No, 13 Washington, No. 11 Tennessee and No. 15 Missouri have been eliminated from the tournament. 

Here is everything you need to know about the upcoming super regional matchups: 

Oklahoma Super Regional — May 27-29 at Norman, Oklahoma

The teams: No. 1 Oklahoma and No. 16 UCF

  • Game 1: UCF vs. Oklahoma, 4:30 p.m. ET Friday on ESPN2
  • Game 2 : UCF vs. Oklahoma, 2 p.m. ET Saturday on ESPN
  • Game 3: Sunday, May 29, if necessary

What to watch for: No. 1 Oklahoma is hosting UCF in its first-ever super regional appearance. The Sooners have, as we know, the strongest offense in the nation and also one of the best pitching staffs with an NCAA-leading ERA. They did, however, feel the pressure in the regionals with just a 3-2 win over Texas A&M. A score like that seemed so uncharacteristic that of course they followed it up with a 20-0 run-rule win in the regional final — marking an NCAA record for largest win in tournament history. Jocelyn Alo went 3 for 3 and smashed her 115th homer, and they did this all without their ace Jordy Bahl. 

They’ll have UCF, who took down Michigan twice in the regionals in two impressive wins, including an 11-inning thriller where we saw a hero emerge. Maddie Bejarano hit the game-tying run and the walk off to win it. Kama Woodall pitched a full 11 innings and held the Michigan bats scoreless for six innings. Will the Knights, however, be able to contain this Sooner offense, and will anyone be able to beat them twice? That continues to be the question. 

OU players to watch: Will Jordy Bahl be back in the supers? Then of course, Jocelyn Alo, Tiare Jennings, Grace Lyons, the list goes on and on. Hope Trautwein and Nicole May will be especially vital if Bahl is out. 

UCF players to watch: Kama Woodall in the circle, Jada Cody. 

Arizona State Super Regional — May 27-29 in Tempe, Arizona

The teams: No. 8 Arizona State and No. 9 Northwestern

  • Game 1: Northwestern vs. Arizona State 8 p.m. Friday on ESPNU
  • Game 2: Northwestern vs. Arizona State, 11 p.m. Saturday on ESPN2
  • Game 3: Sunday, May 29, if necessary

What to watch for: An Arizona State-Northwestern super regional means we get to see Danielle Williams against ASU’s lineup. ASU certainly had the tougher road to get here, with LSU, San Diego State and Cal State Fullerton in its regional. Yannira Acuna and Jazmine Hill were hot at the plate as the Sun Devils pulled off two wins over San Diego State. Cydney Sanders went yard for her 21st homer for ASU, a single-season program record. Northwestern had two run-rule wins over McNeese. Williams picked up her 300th strikeout of the season for Northwestern. But Williams is not the only player to watch, with the Wildcats having Rachel Lewis at the plate. She ranks in the top 10 in the NCAA in homers. 

ASU players to watch: Cydney Sanders

Northwestern players to watch: Danielle Williams, Rachel Lewis

UCLA Super Regional — May 27-29, in Los Angeles, California

The teams: No. 5 UCLA and No. 12 Duke

  • Game 1: Duke vs. UCLA at 11 p.m. Friday on ESPN2
  • Game 2: Duke vs. UCLA at 8:30 p.m. Saturday on ESPN2
  • Game 3: Sunday, May 29, if necessary

What to watch for: The Blue Devils are in their first Super appearance in just their fifth season in existence. The Bruin offense came alive in the regionals, scoring 28 runs. This was a good sign for UCLA’s offense that has put the pitching staff in some tight spots this season. Megan Faraimo and Holly Azevedo have led in the circle all season for UCLA — Azevedo ranks in the top 10 in the NCAA with a 1.11 ERA. We could have a slight pitching duel in the making, though. The Blue Devils have Peyton St. George, who tossed two shutouts in the regional. They came back from a 5-1 deficit to run-rule Georgia 13-5 and advance. 

UCLA players to watch: Aside from the key pieces in the circle, watch out for Danielle Wisz, Briana Perez and Savannah Pola. Besides Pola, the Bruins have an experienced lineup that has played in the WCWS before and won a national title. 

Duke players to watch: Peyton St. George, Jameson Kavel and Kristina Foreman

Arkansas Super Regional — May 26-28 in Fayetteville, Arkansas

The teams: No. 4 Arkansas and Texas

  • Game 1: Texas vs. Arkansas at 7 p.m. Thursday on ESPN2
  • Game 2: Texas vs. Arkansas at 4 p.m. Friday on ESPN
  • Game 3: Saturday, May 28, if necessary

What to watch for: Arkansas will host Texas in Fayetteville in its first-ever super regional as they continue to make history this season. The Razorbacks are looking like a tough team to beat. They did have some games that felt close in the regional but the lineup always pulls through with players like KB Sides and Danielle Gibson. They’re set well in the circle too with Chenise Delce and Mary Haff. But the Longhorns are a familiar with upsets, it seems, and they have Hailey Dolcini. Dolcini got past Gabbie Plain and Washington to make it to the supers. If you remember, it was Dolcini beating Oklahoma Sooners as well. So really, anything can happen.

Arkansas players to watch: Chenise Delce, KB Sides, Danielle Gibson, Linnie Malkin

Texas players to watch: Hailey Dolcini of course, but offensively keep an eye out for Janae Jefferson

Virginia Tech Super Regional — May 27-29 in Blacksburg, Virginia

The teams: No. 3 Virginia Tech and No. 14 Florida

  • Game 1: Florida vs. Virginia Tech at 2 p.m. Friday on ESPN2
  • Game 2: Florida vs. Virginia Tech at noon Saturday on ESPN
  • Game 3: Sunday, May 29, if necessary

What to watch for: The Hokies will host the Gators in Blacksburg. Virginia Tech’s Keely Rochard and Emma Lemley will face off against a Florida offense that exploded in the regional final. The Gators have been looking good since the return of Hannah Adams, but the Hokies strength has been in the circle all season. Virginia Tech had some close calls in the regional, but they pulled through and made it to the supers out of the elimination bracket. Rochard had to handle Kentucky’s strong hitters in the regionals, and got some redemption in the regional final out of the bullpen. She and Lemley will have to deal with some hot Florida bats. Hannah Adams went 4 for 4 in the regional final and Kendra Falby has been a spark all season for the Gators. I am interested to see this matchup. 

Virginia Tech players to watch: Keely Rochard, of course, and Emma Ritter offensively

Florida players to watch: Hannah Adams, Kendra Falby and Skylar Wallace. 

Stanford Super Regional — May 27-29 in Stanford, California

The teams: Oregon State and Stanford

  • Game 1: Oregon St. vs. Stanford at 10:30 p.m. Friday on ESPNU
  • Game 2: Oregon St. vs. Stanford at 6 p.m. Saturday on ESPNU
  • Game 3: Sunday, May 29, if necessary

What to watch for: We have our first of two super regionals with two unseeded teams. Stanford will host Oregon State after the two teams pulled off stunning upsets over Alabama and Tennessee, respectively. The Cardinal pitching staff shut out Alabama twice in the regionals with two dominant performances from Alana Vawter. She has been such a key piece for Stanford, and her performance will be so important in the supers. The Beavers are looking good after a tough stretch to end the regular season, Mariah Mazon has had a few lights out performances in the circle and at the plate and freshman Kiki Escobar has been a big performer as well. These two teams have played before this season, though. Oregon State won two out of three against Stanford in the regular season, but they were all close, low-scoring games. In the one game Stanford won, Vawter again had a clutch performance, so she will be key for the Cardinal. 

Stanford players to watch: Alana Vawter, Taylor Gindlesperger

 Oregon State players to watch: Mariah Mazon, Frankie Hammoude and Kiki Escobar 

Oklahoma State Super Regional— May 26-28 in Stillwater, Oklahoma

The teams: No. 7 Oklahoma State vs. No. 10 Clemson

  • Game 1: Clemson vs. Oklahoma State at 9:30 p.m. Thursday on ESPN2
  • Game 2: Clemson vs. Oklahoma State at 6 p.m. Friday on ESPN2
  • Game 3: Saturday, May 28, if necessary

What to watch for: Both of these teams are incredibly dangerous in the circle. Oklahoma State has Kelly Maxwell leading the way and Clemson has Valerie Cagle. The Tigers are in their first super regional in program history but didn’t give up a single run in the regionals. It was against tough competition too — they took down Auburn 1-0 and Louisiana 8-0. Oklahoma State has an experienced lineup led by Syndey Pennington at the plate. She has been consistent all season. Hayley Busby has had an off year in terms of production at the plate compared to years past, but she came up clutch a few times in the regional and has experience in the postseason. The question is, which offense will pull through? 

Oklahoma State players to watch: Kelly Maxwell, Sydney Pennington, Miranda Elish

Clemson players to watch: Valerie Cagle, McKenzie Clark

Mississippi State Super Regional — May 27-29 in Starkville, Mississippi

The teams: Arizona and Mississippi State

  • Game 1: Arizona vs. Mississippi State at noon Friday on ESPNU
  • Game 2: Arizona vs. Mississippi State at 4 p.m. Saturday on ESPNU
  • Game 3: Sunday, May 29, if necessary

What to watch for: Finally, we have another set of unseeded teams. Mississippi State vs. Arizona in Starkville. The Wildcats were a bubble team ahead of selections but took down No. 15 Missouri in two low-scoring games to advance. They will, however, need more offensive production against a Bulldog team that took down one of the strongest teams all season, Florida State, twice in the regionals. 

Mississippi State players to watch: Mia Davidson and Chloe Malau'ulu  

Arizona players to watch: Jasmine Perezchica, Allie Skaggs

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