Upsets galore in the conference softball tournaments
The GIST: Almost all conferences wrap up their tournaments tomorrow, which means yesterday’s quarter-finals chaos gives way to today’s semifinals madness. Deep breaths, and don’t swing at the high ones.
Early-round recaps: The most competitive conferences have been serving up some major upsets, with — surprise, surprise — the SEC leading the way. Notably, No. 10 seed South Carolina’s lights-out pitching earned extra-innings oustings of both No. 7 Texas A&M and No. 2 Georgia to advance to tonight’s 4 p.m. ET semi. Sheesh.
- The Big 12 brought its own thrills: Yesterday, No. 5 Iowa State destroyed the heavily favored No. 4 Baylor 8–1, and No. 2 Texas almost fell to No. 7 Texas Tech before pulling out the 7–6 dub in extras.
The stakes: It’s not just national tourney auto-bids on the line tomorrow — teams that show up and show out are likely to be rewarded with one of the bracket’s 16 seeds, even if they don’t take their titles.
- That’s a BFD because seeded squads are the regionals’ hosts. In other words, just winning isn’t enough — you have to do it with style to nab some coveted natty home-field advantage.
What to watch: In the SEC, South Carolina will try to keep the vibes high and the pitch count low against No. 3 seed Auburn today at 4 p.m. ET. But first, at 11 a.m. ET on the Big 12’s diamond, No. 3 Oklahoma State and No. 6 Kansas will pick up where they left off before yesterday’s rain delay — that is, with Kansas threatening a major upset.
- Once the dust settles and the trophies are hoisted, 32 lucky squads who failed to win their tourneys will be granted at-large bids to the natty. Tune into the selection show on ESPN2 at 7 p.m. ET on Sunday, and may the odds be ever in your alma mater’s favor.