The Waco Regional presents softball fans with a few very exciting possible matchups, with Louisiana facing off against Baylor in a first day of play. The Cajuns are back in a regional after an appearance and a sixth place finish in the 2008 World Series. Baylor is coming off a third place finish in the Big Twelve Conference and an appearance in the 2007 World Series. The winner of that game could face the #1 seed Northwestern on the second day of regional play. Northwestern could face Baylor in a rematch of a ‘07 World Series tussle in which NU pounded the Bears. Texas State was eliminated in their last regional in 2004 and could be a very tough opponent as well. With all the possible scenarios, college softball fans are assured of some very exciting games in Waco this weekend.
Northwestern 31-13 #1 seed(No. 12 national seed)
Northwestern is among the best offenses in the country. The Wildcats are second in Division I with 79 home runs. Five players have at least 10 this season. As a team, the Wildcats are averaging nearly seven runs per game. Northwestern finished third in the Big Ten and went 5-5 in its final 10 games during the regular season.
Players to watch
INF Tammy Williams, the two-time Big Ten Player of the Year, hit .445 with 15 home runs and 36 RBIs. The batting average ranks fourth nationally. ... INF Adrienne Monka was selected as the league's freshman of the year after leading the Wildcats with 19 homers and 52 RBIs and second in batting average at .403. ... C Erin Dyer also provides some offensive punch with 15 homers and 45 RBIs. ... RHP Laura Delaney is the staff ace, going 29-10 with a 2.55 ERA and 306 strikeouts. If you add up Delaney's walks, hit batters, and wild pitches, they nearly equal her strikeouts.
Baylor 37-20 #2 seed(at-large bid)
The Bears don't hit nearly the amount of HRs that the Wildcats do, but they'll drain you to death with hitting. Seven players — count them, seven — hit .297 or better and the team as a whole boasts a .308 clip. Baylor also runs the bases extremely well, stealing 102 baese,in 115 chances.
Players to Watch
LHP Whitney Canion, the Big 12's pitcher and freshman of the year, went 24-16 with a 1.76 ERA and 10 shutouts this season. Her school single-season record 376 strikeouts rank third in the nation. ... INF Brette Reagan hit .359 with a team-high eight home runs. Reagan missed 21 games after tearing her ACL on March 6. ... OF Kayce Walker (.413) and INF Alex Colyer (.368) lead the team in hitting. ... Baylor finished third in the Big 12.
Louisiana 43-11 #3 seed(automatic bid)
No. 25 UL went 19-1 to end the season, clinching its ninth Sun Belt title in 10 years. This is the 19th NCAA Tournament appearance in programs history, including the 11th in a row. The Cajuns also have a dynamic lineup, with seven batters hitting over .292 and slugging 49 home runs on the season. The Cajuns excel in pitching, boasting a team era of .95, with 461 strike outs.
Players to Watch
The Ragin' Cajuns own the nation's second-best team ERA at 0.95 behind a trio of tough pitchers - righthanders Donna Bourgeois (29-8, 1.10), Ashley Brignac (7-2, 0.20) and Brittany Cuevas (7-1, 1.33). ... CF Karli Hubbard hit a team-leading .429 and OF Katiie Smith was second at .402. ... 1B Gabrielle Bridges (16) and UTL Christi Orgeron (10) combined for 26 home runs. 3B Melissa Verde leads the team in RBIs with 58, hitting at a .331 clip on the season.
Texas State 39-16 #4 seed (automatic bid)
The Bobcats won the Southland regular-season and postseason tournament titles to secure the fourth NCAA Tournament appearance in school history and first since 2004.Texas State posted the Southland's best record at the 2003 NCAA Regional in Austin, where they finished 3-2. One of the wins came against Northwestern, where Texas State walked away with a 3-1 victory. The Bobcats hold a 1-0 all-time series record versus the Wildcats.Freshman pitcher Chandler Hall and senior shortstop Alex Newton were both named to the Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division I All-Region teams announced today by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA).
Players to watch
SS Alex Newton, the Southland Conference Player of the Year, was second in hits (59) and third in total bases (92). Her .330 batting average ranked third. Chandler Hall became only the second player in SLC history to capture pitcher and freshman of the year in the same season. Hall led the league in wins (24), earned run average (1.03), opponents' batting average (.167) and was fourth in strikeouts (196).
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