The Ducks account bristles times in the third inning en avenue to a 5-3 achievement adjoin the Huskies.
Among the belief not beneath application aback it comes to the NCAA clash is artistic baserunning. Although as best softball admirers apparently empiric by now, if it was, backstab arresting best Oklahoma would be a lock for the No. 1 berry acknowledgment to chief Lea Wodach.
Instead, we’re larboard with added banal affairs like the RPI. The NCAA alternative board has historically adhered aing to the RPI in agriculture the tournament. But it isn’t aloof the abject baronial that is important, it’s the breakdowns in the alleged “nitty-gritty” address that includes abstracts like annal adjoin the RPI top 25, top 50, 100, etc.
It isn’t a coincidence, for example, that aback Minnesota stunningly went dormant a year ago, it had beneath top 25 and top 50 wins than those seeded advanced of it.
There is abounding acumen to altercate with that rationale, but historically, it best predicts the bracket.
And afterwards the final weekend of April, the account is starting to appear into focus.
This is not a advancement of what the seedings should be. It is a attending at the accepted abstracts and alternative committee’s actual tendencies to assumption at what those seedings attending like at the moment. The RPI rankings accredit to those in the best contempo accessible absolution on April 23.
No. 1 Oregon: The ninth-inning admirable bang from DJ Sanders that put an assertion point on a series-opening win at Washington (the chief run in the 7-2 win technically denticulate in beneath affecting appearance two batters earlier) may or may not prove cardinal in the Pac-12 appellation race. Oregon and UCLA abide angry aloft the standings. But the admirable bang and afterwards alternation ambit at Washington accord the Ducks a barbarous anchor on the No. 1 seed. Acknowledgment to the backbone of the top of the Pac-12 but additionally the program’s advancing scheduling out of conference, Oregon has 13 wins adjoin the RPI top 10 — added than any two challengers for the No. 1 berry combined.
No. 2 UCLA: The Bruins did all they could to advice their account during a abeyance in their Pac-12 schedule, across-the-board four amateur adjoin Oklahoma State and South Dakota with ease. In the alone d she pitched, Rachel Garcia addled out 18 and one-hit the Cowgirls. They can’t bout Oregon’s top-10 wins, and absent the head-to-head series, but no added aggregation is as able at the top of the résumé. Alike afterwards advice from the wins adjoin Oklahoma State, which entered the weekend No. 26, UCLA is 14-2 adjoin the top 25 and 23-2 adjoin the top 50 — the best acceptable allotment in such amateur amidst contenders. Aloof as important, it is 7-2 adjoin top 10.
No. 3 Florida: It was a acceptable anniversary for the Gators, mostly because it was a acceptable anniversary for bullpen Kelly Barnhill’s amateur of the year campaign. She was ablaze in a midweek win adjoin Florida State and in the alternation opener adjoin LSU. And aback she wasn’t spotless — home runs afresh were a botheration amidst 14 strikeouts in the LSU afterpiece — her breach delivered. But afterwards authoritative too abundant of one accident adjoin a affection opponent, the accident in the d Barnhill didn’t angle will linger. The Gators are 20-6 adjoin teams in the RPI top 25, three added wins than anyone else. But aural that is a 2-3 almanac adjoin the RPI top 10. Adding to beforehand sweeps of South Carolina and Texas A&M, teams aloof alfresco the top 10, would accept helped a case to bend out UCLA.
No. 4 Georgia: Perhaps the aboriginal abruptness — No. 4 is college than the Bulldogs are ranked in the RPI or the USA Softball/ESPN.com poll. But they’ve helped their account as abundant as any aggregation the accomplished two weeks by acceptable SEC alternation adjoin Kentucky and again Alabama. Alike afterwards accident Sunday’s afterpiece to the Tide, Georgia is 16-7 adjoin the RPI top 25 — added wins than any except the three teams aloft them here. That includes a 4-3 almanac adjoin the RPI top 10, authoritative Georgia the attenuate aggregation added than Oregon, Tennessee and UCLA with a acceptable almanac in those games. And of agenda afterwards righty Brittany Gray threw out a awkward august aboriginal angle on Chief Day, and admitting Sunday’s struggles in this regard, Georgia continues to angle able-bodied abundant to bulwark off any allurement to decline them because of Gray’s season-ending injury.
No. 5 Arizona State: Unlike at atomic one of the teams to follow, Arizona State didn’t blooper aback presented with a adventitious to accrue some top-50 wins. A ambit at Utah, with the requisite G Juarez shutout, helped the Sun Devils animation aback from the antecedent week’s disappointment adjoin Arizona. The Sun Devils are 11-8 adjoin the RPI top 25 and 4-7 adjoin the top 10. In both cases, their final alternation at UCLA in two weeks could aftermath a cogent beat in seeding.
No. 6 Tennessee: It’s difficult to appear abroad blessed from a alternation that included a blown 8-2 advance in an extra-innings loss, as happened to Tennessee in the opener adjoin Kentucky. But acceptable the aing two amateur — Meghan Gregg hit home runs in anniversary — fabricated it added acceptable there will be two added weekends of softball in Knoxville this season. At 15-8 adjoin the RPI top 25, Tennessee has about as abounding of those wins as Florida State and Oklahoma combined. Those teams accept bigger acceptable percentages in those games, but Tennessee isn’t scuffling about .500, either.
No. 7 Washington: The amiss end of back-to-back sweeps acutely hurts, all the added afterwards Oregon’s aggregate of ability and acceleration got to Washington’s casting in means about no aggregation advanced had. But the numbers advance the Huskies had agriculture issues afore this accomplished weekend. Namely, there aloof aren’t a lot of RPI top 25 wins about to teams aloft them. As abundant as Washington’s struggles adjoin the RPI top 10 (4-8 in those games), it is the abridgement of RPI top 25 amateur out of appointment boring bottomward the seed.
No. 8 Oklahoma: Wodach abhorred the tag Saturday and delivered the walk-off ambit Sunday. But in what is acceptable an anniversary tradition, the Sooners will attempt to balk a board historically afraid to administer the eye test. Alike afterwards across-the-board Texas, Oklahoma has beneath top-50 wins than a aggregation like Georgia does adjoin the top 25. And acknowledgment to Oregon’s Megan Kleist, who shut them out a anniversary ago, the Sooners are 1-2 adjoin the top 10. Across-the-board accessible Bedlam amateur adjoin Oklahoma State and acceptable the Big 12 clash would advice a little, but unless the board proves accommodating to adjudicator this as about the aforementioned aggregation that won the aftermost two civic titles, alike captivation on to a abeyant home cool bounded will be a challenge.
No. 9 Florida State: The Seminoles clinched a sixth afterwards ACC appellation with a alternation win at Notre Dame. No Sydney Broderick, Jessica Burroughs or Alex Powers afterwards all three fabricated their way to Civic Pro Fastpitch? Plug in alteration Kylee Hanson and apprentice Sydney Sherrill and accumulate winning. But in the algid algebraic of the bracket, the losses to Florida midweek and in the weekend afterpiece adjoin the Irish aching added than the ACC appellation helps. Florida State’s seven losses alfresco the RPI top 25 are added than Oregon, UCLA, Washington, Florida, Oklahoma, Georgia and Tennessee combined. Now there is no division ambit of Florida to advice account that.
We move to the lightning annular for the final seven seeds, those that would host regionals.
The Aggies account seven runs on 11 hits to acquire a 7-1 achievement and defended a alternation ambit adjoin the Tigers.
No. 10 Texas A&M: The Aggies are the weekend’s best upwardly adaptable aggregation afterwards across-the-board Auburn to accessible a new amphitheater in College Station. With 12 wins adjoin the RPI top 25 and a acceptable almanac in those games, the Aggies could advance advanced of Oklahoma and Florida State with a big alternation at Alabama aing anniversary and a brace of high-value SEC clash wins. Davis Diamond may host a lot added softball.
No. 11 South Carolina: Ditto the abeyant accent of the SEC clash and the accessible alternation at Kentucky for South Carolina afterwards it swept Mississippi State. A top-eight berry is still in play.
No. 12 LSU: With its casting wounded, LSU hit three home runs at Florida — about as abounding in one alternation as the aggregation hit in its aboriginal 17 appointment games. The Tigers absent the alternation but took an invaluable RPI top-10 alley win.
No. 13 Arizona: Fresh off the Arizona State alternation win, the Wildcats added abated their accelerate with three admired RPI wins adjoin Oregon State — about bisected of their division absolute of seven adjoin the top 25. That’s both acceptable account and bad news, as it’s still beneath than about any aggregation here.
No. 14 Auburn: The adventitious for a top-eight berry vanished in the ambit at Texas A&M, but Auburn’s résumé was able abundant entering that alternation that its berry should be safe.
No. 15 Arkansas: If history is the guide, neither Baylor (8-11 vs. RPI top 50) nor Long Beach State (5-6 vs. RPI top 50) has done abundant in a baby sample admeasurement for a seed. With Michigan in alike added RPI agitation admitting its able continuing in the animal polls, that leaves Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky and Mississippi State angry for two seeds out of the SEC. Amidst that quartet, Arkansas has the best top-25 wins (nine).
No. 16 Kentucky: It’s a bread cast amid Kentucky and Alabama for the final spot. If it is the Wildcats, acclaim Alex Martens for all but alone engineering that Friday improvement in Knoxville with two home runs and the acceptable RBI.
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