Recapping Arizona Softball’s Regional Championship and a Preview of Super Regionals – Zona Zealots

TUCSON, AZ - MAY 18: Coach Mike Candrea of the Arizona Wildcats coaches third base during the third inning against the LSU Tigers in the Tucson Regional of the 2014 NCAA Softball Tournament at Hillenbrand Memorial Stadium on May 18, 2014 in Tucson, Arizona. (Photo by Jacob Funk/J and L Photography/Getty Images )

TUCSON, AZ – MAY 18: Coach Mike Candrea of the Arizona Wildcats coaches third base during the third inning against the LSU Tigers in the Tucson Regional of the 2014 NCAA Softball Tournament at Hillenbrand Memorial Stadium on May 18, 2014 in Tucson, Arizona. (Photo by Jacob Funk/J and L Photography/Getty Images )

After a stellar NCAA Regional Tournament in which Arizona Softball went 3-0, the Wildcats advance and we preview their Super Regional showdown.

The Arizona Softball team won its 32nd Regional Championship going a perfect 3-0 in the Regional Tournament this past weekend with a win over UMBC (Maryland Baltimore County) and two wins over Mississippi (Ole Miss). The Cats are now 39-13 on the season and will travel to Fayetteville, AR to play the Arkansas Razorbacks in the Super Regionals in a best of a three-game format.

Here is a Recap of what Arizona Softball did right in Regionals 

  • Arizona had a total of 40 hits and 31 runs on the weekend.
  • It was an all-around Team Effort as many players contributed including Malia Martinez who hit a two-run HR to provide a huge lift to the Cats.
  • The Catchers, Sharlize Palacios and Dejah Mulipola combined for 13 Hits, two Homeruns, a Grand Slam, and 15 RBI’s.
  • Mariah Lopez picked up two wins and Hanah Bowen picked up one win.
  • Lopez entered game three in the 2nd inning in relief for Bowen with bases loaded. She got out of a jam, striking out two of Mississippi’s best batters consecutively. Lopez pitched the rest of the way, pitching six solid innings, and picking up the win. Game three of the Regional Tournament was Lopez’s most dominant performance since Florida State in March.
  • Reyna Carranco displayed her slapper skills and her ability to drive the ball and get on base, accounting for five of the Wildcats’ runs.
  • Arizona showed stellar defense, particularly by Carlie Scupin, Hannah ‘Peanut’ Martinez, and Janelle Meono.
  • Coach Candrea dialed up the right adjustments (i.e. – Bella Dayton Pinch Hitting and staying in the game playing Right Field). Bella went 2-3 from the plate with a run and an RBI in game three.

Moving Forward to Super Regionals

Arizona will look to keep their confidence riding high, their bats hot, getting a strong glove on every ball defensively, and maintain strong pitching with a staff of four different pitchers.

The Wildcats will look to capitalize on Mariah Lopez’s post-season experience and ride her momentum from game three of the Regional’s. Regardless of how Coach Candrea decides to use his pitching staff, I am sure each pitcher will be prepared and ready.

Arizona plays best when they are loose, yet at the same time, when they hit the field or step to the plate they know the Arizona way of taking care of business. In my humble opinion, Arizona is playing their best Softball and peaking right now. This teams’ Bear Down Spirit and togetherness, from Freshmen to Seniors can take them a long way.

Becoming familiar with Arkansas, here is the Scouting Report of the Razorbacks:

  • Head Coach Courtney Deifel is the 2021 SEC Coach of the Year.
  • Current Record: 43-9
  • Mary Haff (Junior – Right-Handed Pitcher) is the Co-SEC Pitcher of the Year (along with Montana Fouts) and is All-SEC First Team. In SEC play, Haff has 11 wins and four saves in 19 appearances with 79 strikeouts while sporting a 2.01 ERA.
  • Autumn Storms (Senior – Right-Handed Pitcher) has the lowest ERA of 1.24 in the SEC. In April, Storms threw a two-hitter against Alabama, striking out 10. She was named to SEC Second Team.
  • Jenna Bloom (Freshman – Right-Handed Pitcher) was named to SEC Newcomer Team.
  • Braxton Burnside (Senior – Shortstop) also is part of the All-SEC First Team. She is third in RBI’s in the SEC with 53, and she also has tremendous power, belting 24 Home Runs.
  • Junior’s Danielle Gibson (Infielder) and Hannah McEwen (Outfielder) made All-SEC Second Team. Gibson was also named to All-SEC Defensive Team.
  • Arkansas has no Left-Handed Pitchers that I could find on their roster.

A team Arizona is very familiar with, Mississippi (Ole Miss) took Arkansas to extra innings twice in the regular season before Arkansas pulled out wins by one run. Arkansas lost in the SEC Tournament (single elimination) to Tennessee.

Arizona players should know that the Arkansas crowd is known for their chant of “Woo Pig Sooie” also known as the “Hog Call”. This chant is similar to Arizona fans chanting U-of-A in unison. The Wildcats will hear it often and will need to block it out as they will remain focused on only winning and getting back to the Women’s College World Series for the 24th time in program history.

How to watch Super Regionals:

  • Friday 5/28 – 4:00 pm MST ESPNU
  • Saturday 5/29 – 2:00 pm MST ESPN 2
  • Sunday 5/30 – 6:00 pm MST ESPN 2 (If Necessary)

As always, Bear Down and GO Cats!