NCAA Softball Super Regionals: Three Things to Watch For

It’s time for the NCAA Softball Super Regionals as we get two games on Thursday night and the rest of the field picking up the action on Friday.

After a fantastic weekend of Regional games, we have some incredible matchups in the Super Regionals with eight spots in the Women’s College World Series on the line.

With several exciting games ahead of us this weekend, we chose three storylines for you to follow as a trio of Big 12 softball teams hope to secure bids to Oklahoma City this weekend.


Can Clemson Topple the Sooners in Norman?

There’s a reason why Oklahoma will host the Norman Super Regional as the tournament’s No. 1 seed. The pitching staff is the best in college softball. The offense is the best in college softball. The defense is the best in college softball. However, we’ve seen stories of juggernauts go down in sports against a team with just enough firepower to get the job done. The 2007 Patriots. The Miracle on Ice. Leicester City winning The Premier League in 2016. It’s happened.

So, how does Clemson get it done? There’s one answer: Valerie Cagle. The Tigers’ best player has to play the series of her life and keep Oklahoma’s offense off the board. What will make that such a difficult task is that she’s got to do it twice to advance. It’s not impossible, because being invincible in any sport isn’t attainable. That being said, the Sooners are going to be very tough to beat. This weekend marks the final series that will be played at Marita Hynes Field, with OU scheduled to move into Love’s Field for the 2024 season. Patty Gasso’s group will be determined to send the legendary field out the right way.

According to DraftKings, Oklahoma is -500 to win the 2023 Women’s College World Series. For reference, Tennessee has the second best odds at +1000. That is how heavily favored OU is. Valerie Cagle’s got to put the Tigers on her back and carry them to a win this weekend if Clemson is going to get it done. Otherwise, it will be Oklahoma who advances to their seventh straight WCWS.


Did Oklahoma State Really Turn Things Around Last Weekend?

Oklahoma State has been walking a tight rope for several weeks now, with 11 of its 14 losses coming since April 15. The bats went ice-cold for a stretch and a better-than-average pitching staff was unable to carry the team on its own over that period of time.

Then, last week, there was life. The Cowgirls pounded UMBC and then turned around and blanked Wichita State, 6-0, after going 0-2 against the Shockers in the regular season. However, Sunday’s game against Nebraska was what moved the needed in my eyes. OSU found itself in an oh-so-familiar situation: a one-run deficit heading into the seventh inning. It has been the story of so many of its frustrating losses.

But, this time, it was different. The Oklahoma State bats erupted for four runs in the top of the seventh, and Lexi Kilfoyl slammed the door in the bottom half of the inning to bring it all together. Now, can they sustain it? Oregon absolutely demolished the Fayetteville Regional and outscored Arkansas 24-8 over two games.

Can the Cowgirls match that kind of offense if this weekend becomes a shootout? They’re certainly capable of it, but it will be a very interesting series to watch. This series has a really good chance of going to three games, so buckle up folks.


Can Texas Overcome the Pressure on the Road?

Outside of Clemson, there might not be a road team with a tougher test than the Texas Longhorns this weekend. After dominating the Austin Regional, the Longhorns will hit the road for the rest of the tournament, and this weekend, they’re headed to Knoxville, Tennessee.

Sherri Parker Lee Stadium and 2,200 Lady Vols fans will await the young Longhorns, as they take on the No. 4 seed, Tennessee. There’s plenty to like about the Lady Vols this season. They’re 47-8 on the year and have one of the top pitchers in the country in Ashley Rogers (0.73 ERA, 165 Ks). Kiki Milloy (.427 BA) leads one of the best offenses in the country for Tennessee as well, and Milloy’s 25 home runs leads the nation.

And if that wasn’t enough pressure, Texas has struggled on the road in 2023. With a 7-6 away record for the year, the Longhorns’ youth has shown the tendency to tighten up in high pressure situtations. There’s no doubt that they’re good enough to hang with Tennessee, and I would even say I might pick them on a neutral site.

This isn’t a neutral site game though, and it’s going to pose a huge test for Mike White’s group. If Texas can stay level-headed and just play their game, they’ll be alright. That will be the challenge though, and will be a fun storyline to follow this weekend.

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