Washington 3, Seattle 1
Washington 1, Stanford 0
Stanford 6, Washington 0
Washington 10, Stanford 2
G1: Stanford’s Carolyn Lee matched Taran Alvelo for the first six innings, even giving up fewer baserunners through 6, but a leadoff home run by junior Kirstyn Thomas on the first pitch of B7 helped UW escape with a 1-0 win (Note: I really should have caught this ball. It was hit directly to me in center field, just to the right field side of the Husky band. Not only did I fail to catch it, but it bounced back on to the field after hitting off of the bleachers. Sad face.)
G2: Stanford won the middle game in remarkably routine fashion. Samantha Manti was hit pretty hard by the Cardinal lineup, and Stanford pitcher Kiana Pancino carried a perfect game into the fifth inning before Taylor Van Zee smacked a 1-out double for the Huskies only hit of the game.
G3: After putting up just 1 run in the first 13 innings of the series, a 5-run first inning in game three, sparked by a Morganne Flores 2-run double and a Taylor Van Zee 3-run homer, gave Taran Alvelo a big early lead she would not relinquish. Continued offense allowed UW to run-rule the Card when Flores hit a walk-off two-run single in the fifth, giving her a game-high 5 RBI.
Congratulations to Ali Aguilar (below, at left) and Casey Stangel (right), the two seniors for the UW softball team honored after their final regular season home game on Sunday. It will not be the last time they play at home, though. More on that later.
Thank you, seniors! pic.twitter.com/KCBBaPNnNr— UW Softball (@UWSoftball) May 7, 2017
Standings, with new rankings
- #5 Arizona (48-7, 18-6 Pac-12) Note: UA clinched the #Pac12SB title with win at UCLA and Utah losing two out of three in Corvallis
- #3 Oregon (44-6, 14-6)
- #13 Utah (33-11, 13-6)
- #8 Washington (40-11, 13-8)
- #10 UCLA (39-13, 13-8)
- #22 Arizona State (30-17, 9-12)
- Oregon State (27-23, 8-13)
- (RV) California (28-21, 4-16)
- Stanford (19-29, 2-19)
Another selection committee update!
With the NCAA softball selection show coming up (Sunday at 7 PM Pacific on ESPN2), the selection committee has released its second (and final) update of where things stand at this point (albeit, with “this point” being games played through Wednesday, May 3rd). Here are the rankings, with team records current as of Monday, May 8th:
- Florida (50-5, 20-3 SEC)
- Florida State (48-6-1, 24-0 ACC)
- Arizona (48-7, 18-6 Pac-12)
- Washington (40-11, 13-8 Pac-12)
- Auburn (45-9, 17-7 SEC)
- Oregon (44-6, 14-6 Pac-12)
- Minnesota (51-3, 22-1 Big Ten)
- Tennessee (44-9, 16-7 SEC)
- Texas A&M (42-9, 16-7 SEC)
- UCLA (39-13, 13-8 Pac-12)
Some observations about these rankings:
A) Huskies are fourth! Now, this was as of Wednesday’s games, and the Huskies had a surprisingly difficult weekend against last-place Stanford, losing the middle game and only scoring 1 run in the first two games combined. But even taking that into account, as well as the positive results of #5 Auburn and #6 Oregon, the committee has made it clear that the amazingly strong SOS of Washington will continue to carry them as long as they keep winning series. The Huskies have played 12 games against the rest of these 10 teams, going 6-6 in those games, and also beat an Oklahoma team that is almost surely #11.
B) I mentioned it last time, but it happened again, so I’ll mention it again: the lack of Oklahoma on this list is a tremendous sign for the Pac-12 in general, particularly UCLA and Washington. The Sooners have a pretty strong resume (47-8, 17-1 Big 12), but the vast majority of their losses came early in the year to strong Pac-12 and SEC opponents. Nothing embarrassing about that at all, but with the Big 12 being a pretty mediocre conference for softball, OU missed out on most of their chances to really impress the committee.
C) The top 16 teams in the country host the regional round, a mini double-elimination tournament with 4 teams in each regional. The 16 teams that advance through that round are paired up and play a best-of-three series at the higher-seeded team for a spot in the WCWS. Being in the top eight national seeds allows a team to play at home for the maximum amount of time (nobody plays the WCWS at home). Looking at the top eight as of the committee’s release, what’s happened since then, and each team’s remaining schedule, here’s my best guess of what that team has to do to hold a spot in the top eight:
- Florida: clinched. The Gators could lose their first game in the SEC tournament and they would probably even keep the #1 overall seed, but worst case scenario, they might fall to 2 or 3.
- Florida State: needs to at least make the final of the ACC tourney. The Noles were 2nd in the committee’s release, but then they got swept by a good Oregon squad in Eugene. That’s not a horrific set of losses by any means, but it cost them some breathing room.
- Arizona: clinched. Despite losing 2 of 3 at UCLA, the Wildcats clinched the Pac-12 title by winning the finale. Arizona’s regular season is over, so there are no opportunities left that could hurt their resume.
- Washington: win the series at Utah. Given the results of the weekend, the Huskies are most likely in sixth at this point, rather than fourth, but they’re still in good shape. Winning one game, as long as the losses are competitive, might be enough as long as Texas A&M/UCLA don’t have a great final week, but two wins puts the nail in the coffin.
- Auburn: don’t suffer an upset loss in SEC tourney. The Tigers play the winner of South Carolina and Kentucky on Thursday after a first-round bye. Win that game, and Auburn is in.
- Oregon: win the Stanford series. The Ducks picked up a huge statement sweep of the Seminoles this past weekend, so they don’t need to do anything special. Avoid a major disaster at Stanford and Oregon is safe.
- Minnesota: win the Big Ten tournament. This seems kind of harsh for a team with a 51-3 record, and it may not be absolutely necessary. A loss to Michigan in the championship game might be okay if at least one team behind them also slips. But with Texas A&M and UCLA both lurking, a B1G tournament championship is the only thing that 100% keeps the Gophers in the top 8.
- Tennessee: make it to the finals of the SEC tournament. Like with the Gophers, this may not be necessary, based on results behind them. Avoiding an upset may be enough. But if the Vols make it to the SEC title game, that would almost surely require a win against at least 1 top-25 opponent (LSU, Auburn, or Kentucky) and that should seal them in.
This week’s schedule:
The Huskies have their final week of the regular season, making the trip to Salt Lake City to take on the 13th-ranked Utah Utes.
Thursday, 6 PM (P12 WA/Mtn)
Friday, 5 PM (P12 WA/Mtn)
Saturday, noon (P12 WA/Mtn)
Find out who the Huskies are hosting in the postseason! The NCAA softball championship selection show will be shown on Sunday night at 7 PM Pacific on ESPN2.