NCAA Softball - Fayetteville Regional Final
Oregon Ducks vs #11 Seed Arkansas Razorbacks
Sunday, May 21, 2023
TV: ESPN+* - Radio: KWVA 88.1 FM
Following what could have been a breakthrough win yesterday against host Arkansas, the Ducks will take on the Razorbacks again today for the Fayetteville Regional Championship. NCAA softball regionals are all “double-elimination” affairs, meaning a team has to lose twice to be out of the tournament. The practical application of this format means that Oregon and Arkansas may have to play twice today, if the Razorbacks can win the first game. Should that happen, the teams would meet again with the winner moving on to the Super-Regionals. Oregon, of course, is in the enviable position of having to win just one game, hopefully the first.
The only real intrigue for the Ducks is who will start in the circle. Stevie Hansen (19-6), who got the win against Notre Dame on Friday, did not pitch at all on Saturday, and so is fully rested. However, “rest” is not as big a factor in softball as it is in baseball as the pitching motion is much less stressful on the arm. This means that we could see Saturday’s winner, Morgan Scott (13-6), with the start today. Scott beat the Razorbacks 10 - 4 yesterday, benefitting from an 8-run offensive explosion in the Oregon 5th inning. Although their coaching staff charted her on Friday, Arkansas batters have not faced Hansen and that could also provide an advantage for the Ducks, as, if Hansen has her best stuff, it could take a couple of times through the line-up for the Razorbacks to figure her out.
A win in this game would be a massive accomplishment for Oregon softball. Please join ATQ in the comments with your predictions and analysis.
*Note on TV coverage - If you’ve been following the Regionals, you’ve noted there are frequent weather delays at various sites due to volatile springtime weather. Oregon’s game may show up on an actual ESPN network channel if other games are delayed.