8 Not-So Surprising College Softball Moments From Last Weekend

8 Not-So Surprising College Softball Moments From Last Weekend

Michigan, Oklahoma, Florida, and Florida State win again. And Drake's Nicole Newman sets new NCAA record.

May 14, 2019 by Scott Schultz
8 Not-So Surprising College Softball Moments From Last Weekend

OKC had weird weather, Florida won the SEC tournament, Michigan won the Big Ten, Florida State won the ACC Tournament and we're ready for the NCAA tournament. 

Big 12 Tournament Washed Out

Due to rain and poor field conditions at USA Hall of Fame Stadium, the final day of the 2019 Phillips 66 Big 12 Softball Championship was canceled. 

Friday's game between Oklahoma and Kansas was suspended in the top of the fourth inning and did not meet the minimum five innings required to count as an official game. The game will not count toward either team's record or statistics. 

Because all pool play games were not finished, the Big 12 will not name a postseason champion this year and the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Softball Championship will go to the regular season champion, Oklahoma. 

The Sooners finished 2019 league play 18-0 to become the first Big 12 team to go undefeated in back-to-back seasons. OU clinched its eighth consecutive regular-season title in 2019. 

Michigan Holds off Minnesota for Big Ten Championship

In the 2016 Big Ten championship, Michigan fell to Minnesota in a dramatic walk-off play. The Wolverines (43-11) almost found themselves in the same situation during this season’s Big Ten championship, but this time, they avoided repeating history, beating the Golden Gophers 3-2 in the championship game of the Big Ten tournament.

In the bottom of the seventh inning, Michigan led by a narrow one-run margin, freshman right-hander Alex Storako stepped into the circle for her second inning of work. Storako gave up a leadoff walk, leaving the Wolverines vulnerable to a walk-off winner from the Gophers.

Minnesota (41-12) first baseman Hope Brandner game up after two outs, and roped a shot into left field, that looked like it would the fence at first but instead dropped into the warning track where freshman Lexie Blair was poised to make the game-ending catch.

With that, No. 1 seed Michigan edged out No. 3 seed Minnesota, giving the Wolverines and coach Carol Hutchins their 10th Big Ten tournament title in program history and first since 2015. 

The Wolverines clinched both the Big Ten regular and postseason titles for the first time since they accomplished the feat in 2015 when they advanced to the elimination round of the Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City, where they lost to Florida in three games.

Newman Breaks single-season record with 5th perfect game

After waiting out a five-hour delay due to heavy rain, Drake won its second-straight Missouri Valley Conference Tournament title with a 4-1 victory over UNI Saturday night at Peterson Field at the Louisville Slugger Complex. 

Drake (42-14) is the first-ever MVC team to sweep back-to-back MVC regular season and tournament titles. The Bulldogs' championship earned them the Valley's automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament as the program will be in the postseason in consecutive seasons for the first time ever.

Nicole Newman pitched another complete game with double-digit strikeouts. Newman, who improved to 28-6 on the season, allowed one UNI (28-23) run on one walk and two hits and struck out 13. She matched Laurie Bowden (1990) single-season victory total in her 24th game with 10 or more strikeouts.

In the MVC semifinal, Newman threw her fifth career perfect game to help send the Drake to its second-straight MVC title game with a 7-0 win over Bradley on Friday afternoon.

Newman, who improved to 27-6, equaled her career-high in strikeouts with 18 and threw 69 strikes out of 88 total pitches. Bradley (29-21) managed to put just three balls in play with two pop outs and one fly out in Newman's fifth career perfect game, all this season. She helped herself out at the plate as she was one of six Bulldogs to record two hits.

UCLA drops finale to Arizona

Despite co-clinching the conference title for the first time in a decade, the Bruins left Easton Stadium on Saturday with their first series loss of the season.

No. 2 UCLA (46-5, 20-4 Pac-12) fell to No. 6 Arizona (42-12, 19-5) 3-1 in its final regular season game of 2019. Saturday saw the Bruins match their conference performance last season of 20-4, and similarly finish with a single Pac-12 series loss.

UCLA wraps up the regular season with a 46-5 overall record and a 20-4 mark in Pac-12 play, sharing conference title honors with Washington.

The Bruins had seven hits from six different players, as senior Paige Halstead recorded two hits. Freshman Megan Faraimo struck out seven in 4 1/3 innings of shutout relief, giving up just one hit and one walk. Sophomore Holly Azevedo fanned two in 2 2/3 innings, allowing three runs and four hits.

All of Saturday's runs came via the homer, as Arizona hit solo and two-run shots in the third.

UCLA - Nickels on a 19-game hit streak

Junior Bubba Nickles extended her hitting streak to 19 games with a sixth-inning solo home run accounting for the only scoring for the Bruins on the day.

Florida State takes 6th straight ACC title

Earning the 17th ACC Championship in program history, No. 5 Florida State (51-8) ended the season at the top of the conference for the sixth year in a row as the Seminoles defeated North Carolina (35-18), 8-0 in six innings on Saturday at JoAnne Graf Field.

With the shutout over the Tar Heels, the Noles completed a shutout run through the tournament after posting a 7-0 victory over Georgia Tech on Thursday and a 2-0 win versus Notre Dame on Friday. FSU becomes the second team to accomplish the feat - Georgia Tech posted three shutouts en route to the 2005 ACC Championship.

Meghan King (29-5) pitched 4.0 innings of relief with three hits, zero walks, and two strikeouts to earn the win and the redshirt senior was named ACC Tournament MVP. King was joined on the ACC All-Tournament Team by Dani Morgan and Sydney Sherrill.

Cali Harrod led the Noles offensively with a 4-for-4 day at the plate, including a solo home run and two runs scored. Seven different players recorded a hit and six different Noles scored a run in the victory.

SEC Crown goes to Florida, again

With a 2-1 victory over No. 4 Alabama Saturday night at Davis Diamond, No. 9 Florida was crowned back-to-back Southeastern Conference Tournament Champions.

The Gators (44-15) picked up another superb outing in the circle from senior right-handed pitcher Kelly Barnhill (30-11). Barnhill held the Crimson Tide (52-7) to just two hits and a run in what resulted in the 72nd complete-game of her career.

The Orange & Blue fell behind 1-0 in the bottom of the fourth inning, but Alabama's lead didn't last long as the Gators rallied for its sixth come-from-behind victory of the season posting a pair of runs in the top of the sixth inning.

With two outs and no one on base, freshman pinch-hitter Cheyenne Lindsey entered the lineup for the Gators and took the first pitch from Alabama reliever Montana Fouts and sent a high chopper over the head of third baseman Maddie Morgan and down the line for a double.

Up next, sophomore Jordan Matthews drew a pinch-hit walk that put another runner on and turned the lineup over for senior Amanda Lorenz. With a full-count, Lorenz drove the seventh pitch from Fouts down the left field line to score the two deciding runs.

Barnhill earns career win #100

In the sixth, Alabama managed to put a pair of runners on the bases, but Barnhill shut down the rally and capped the inning with her fifth strikeout of the game. 

The Crimson Tide again threatened once more in the seventh with another runner reaching base, but the Gators and Barnhill again worked out of the jam and concluded the championship run with a strikeout marking her 100th career win as a Gator.