Big 12 Previews

NCAA Softball Tournament 2024 Preview, Prediction, Schedule: Austin Regional

Texas Softball. Mia Scott. Mike White
Big 12 Conference

After the dust settled on Selection Sunday, there were five Big 12 teams in the 2024 NCAA Softball Tournament, with three of them ranked among the top five seeds nationally.

The top overall seed in the tournament belongs to the Texas Longhorns, who won the Big 12 regular season title and appeared in the Big 12 Tournament Final on Saturday.

Texas will have the chance to host all the way through Super Regionals if they can win their way through the first weekend of action and will face the winner of the Bryan-College Station Regional, hosted by No. 16 Texas A&M.


Let’s take a look at the teams in the Austin Regional and predict how things should play out after the first weekend of action.

Tale of the Tape

(1) No. 1 Texas (47-7)

RPI: 1 | Record vs. Top 25: 16-6 | Scoring: 8.26 (2nd) | ERA: 1.80 (7th) | Fielding %: .964 (128th)

Texas is the top overall seed in the 2024 NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history and appears to have its best team, perhaps ever, entering the first weekend of action. The Longhorns pace the country in batting average (.383) and rank second in on-base percentage (.461) and scoring (8.26) as well. What makes this Texas team scary is the 1.80 team ERA, which ranks seventh nationally. If there’s a weakness for this squad, it’s fielding, which has been problematic at times. The Longhorns have 55 errors on the year and rank 128th in fielding percentage (.964), which ranks last among the 16 national seeds.

No. 2 Northwestern (33-11)

RPI: 29 | Record vs. Top 25: 13-7 | Scoring: 5.61 (44th) | ERA: 2.26 (23rd) | Fielding %: .970 (43rd)

Northwestern was the No. 1 seed in the Big Ten Tournament but fell in their first game against No. 8 seed Indiana, who went all the way to the Big Ten Championship game. The Wildcats are led by Big Ten Pitcher of the Year Ashley Miller (1.33 ERA), and First Team All-Big Ten selections Kelsey Nader and Kansas Robinson. Northwestern is a well-rounded team that doesn’t blow you away in the stat category but is good enough to hang around and let the other team make a mistake.


No. 3 Saint Francis (40-12)

RPI: 66 | Record vs. Top 25: 0-0 | Scoring: 5.82 (37th) | ERA: 1.69 (6th) | Fielding %: .963 (143rd)

The Saint Francis Red Flash earned an auto-bid in the tournament after winning the NEC Championship with a 12-0 (F/5) win over Central Connecticut. Grace Vesco is the name to know for SFU, as the NEC Pitcher of the Year ranks fifth nationally with a 1.14 ERA in 28 appearances. The Red Flash’s offense led the NEC with just short of six runs per game and is led by Ashley Orischak, who leads them with a .392 batting average and .545 on-base percentage.

No. 4 Siena (33-20)

RPI: 219 | Record vs. Top 25: 0-0 | Scoring: 4.48 (123rd) | ERA: 2.98 (76th) | Fielding %: .973 (32nd)

Siena is headed to its first-ever NCAA Tournament after capturing the program’s first MAAC Championship with an 8-4 victory over Canisius. Pitcher Alissa Eimont is coming off an incredible week where she earned 2024 MAAC Championship MVP honors. Siena gets it done on the defensive side of the ball, where they rank 32nd nationally with a .973 fielding percentage and just 41 errors on the year.



Friday, May 17

Game 1: (1) Texas 5, Siena 0

Game 2: Northwestern 7, Saint Francis 2

Saturday, May 18

Game 3: (1) Texas 14, Northwestern 2 (F/5)

Game 4: Saint Francis 1, Siena 0

Game 5: Northwestern 5, Saint Francis 1

Sunday, May 19

Game 6: (1) Texas vs. Northwestern | 12:00 p.m. | LHN

Game 7 (if necessary): Winner Game 6 vs. Loser Game 6, TBD

Prediction: Texas Goes 3-0

I don’t see a team in this field that can challenge Texas run-for-run. Northwestern has the best chance to challenge the Longhorns, but they won’t find the run support to keep up with UT’s dominant offense and deep pitching staff. There will be run-rules, and Texas will be on the right side of them before moving on to host the winner of the Texas A&M Regional.

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