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How The 2020 NCAA Softball Regionals Could Have Played Out

arizona-softball-wildcats-2020.jpg
(Photo by Jacob Snow/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Though the 2020 college softball season was cut short by COVID-19, we projected out what the NCAA Tournament could have looked like based on the results that emerged from the shortened season.

See below for how we believe the 2020 Regionals could have played out.

*Denotes Automatic Bid 

Regional Winner

(Record, RPI)

Los Angeles Regional

(1) UCLA* (25-1, 2)

Cal State Fullerton* (14-10, 17)

Gardner-Webb* (24-5, 96)

Sacramento State* (14-11-1, 107)

UCLA takes the top seed in our bracket after winning the Pac-12, which felt like the top conference during the 2020 season. The Bruins host a solid Cal State Fullerton team, who won the Big West. The Big South and Big Sky champions, Gardner-Webb and Sacramento State, also join the Regional. The defending champs get a test from Fullerton in one game, but move on to the Super Regionals pretty easily.

Tempe Regional

(16) Arizona State (22-7, 28)

South Carolina (17-6, 15)

Fresno State* (21-4, 12)

Southern Illinois* (15-6, 117)

The Sun Devils barely get the nod in the bracket’s final, and the Regional brings in a couple of familiar faces. South Carolina comes in trying to take revenge after falling in Tempe during the 2018 Super Regional and head coach Linda Garza brings her Fresno State team in after taking Trisha Ford’s spot after she left the Bulldogs for the Arizona State position. This Regional creates a lot of drama, but the high-powered Sun Devil bats take advantage of the 64th- (South Carolina) and 65th-ranked (Fresno State) teams in earned run average to move to Super Regionals. 

Baton Rouge Regional

(8) LSU (21-3, 19)

Baylor (19-5, 35)

McNeese State (19-7, 36)

LIU* (14-12, 116)

The Tigers host an improved Baylor team with the return of Gia Rodoni in the circle, McNeese State, a mid-major good enough to earn an at-large bid and Northeast Conference champion, LIU. Despite Baylor being able to steal a pitching duel in one of the elimination games, LSU’s pitching rotation of Shelbi Sunseri, Maribeth Gorsuch, Shelby Wickersham and Ali Kilponen prove to be too strong.

Norman Regional

(9) Oklahoma (20-4, 14)

Georgia (23-5, 33)

Villanova* (14-13, 95)

Army* (14-9, 135)

The Sooners find themselves outside the top eight seeds after an up-and-down year and a stronger Big 12 this season. The teams in Norman joining them include Georgia, a top offensive team, Villanova, who performed well in the Big East and Army, the Patriot League champions. The Bulldogs pulled off the upset in this Regional after being a top 10 offense against Oklahoma’s pitching staff that struggled to find consistency in 2020.

Lafayette Regional

(5) Louisiana* (18-6, 1)

Arkansas (19-6, 24)

South Florida (16-9, 39)

George Washington* (10-14, 130)

The Ragin’ Cajuns grab a host spot after a few-year absence. They go against two formidable at-large bids in Arkansas and South Florida, as well as the Atlantic 10 champs, George Washington. Louisiana might as well have been a Power Five team with the schedule it played in the shortened season, which is a big reason why this Regional was won in an impressive manner.

Tuscaloosa Regional

(12) Alabama (14-8, 13)

Duke (23-4, 11) 

Ball State* (18-9, 92)

Alabama State* (10-15, 229)

Alabama’s slow start prevents it from earning a higher seed, but the Tide still host. They welcome Duke, an at-large ACC bid, as well as MAC and SWAC champions, Ball State and Alabama State. The preseason hype from Alabama starts to shine as their pitching staff finds itself and the Tide move on to Super Regionals.

Seattle Regional

(4) Washington (23-2, 4)

Notre Dame (13-9, 23)

Texas Tech (17-9, 77)

South Dakota State* (15-8, 80)

The Seattle Regional brings in Notre Dame, Texas Tech and Summit League champs, South Dakota State. Washington’s offense and Gabbie Plain, who has returned to her normal form, get pushed in the Regional final by a solid performance from Texas Tech’s Erin Edmoundson in the circle.

Blacksburg Regional

(13) Virginia Tech* (21-4, 9)

James Madison* (13-6, 53)

Auburn (16-11, 46)

Norfolk State* (7-14, 257)

After Keely Rochard carried Virginia Tech to an ACC Tournament championship, she attempted to do the same against James Madison, Auburn and Norfolk State. Odicci Alexander and Kate Gordon lead James Madison to a win in the winners’ game. Although, Rochard and the Hokies battle out of the losers’ bracket to win the Regional.

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Austin Regional

(2) Texas* (24-3, 3)

Houston (16-7, 34)

New Mexico State* (15-8, 55)

Stephen F. Austin* (19-4, 65)

The Longhorns play host to Houston, a strong three-seed in WAC champs, New Mexico State and Stephen F. Austin, the winners of the Southland Conference. The Aggies make the most noise in trying to steal the Regional from Texas, but in the end, the Longhorns are too good and go undefeated into the Super Regional.

Eugene Regional

(15) Oregon (22-2, 10)

Minnesota (15-9-1, 22)

San Diego State (17-11, 37)

BYU* (14-9, 42)

In their bounce-back season, the Ducks earn a host spot with their stacked pitching staff. Amber Fiser and Minnesota, former Duck Maggie Balint and San Diego State and Autumn Moffat and BYU join the Ducks. Pitching dominates this Regional, and Minnesota is able to push Oregon to a win-or-go-home game, but Oregon’s depth in the circle proves to be the difference.

Stillwater Regional

(7) Oklahoma State (19-5, 8)

Iowa (17-5, 38)

Clemson (19-8, 75)

Monmouth* (11-9, 166)

The Cowgirls hit a ton of home runs against Iowa, while first-year team Clemson and Monmouth also join the Regional. Oklahoma State sees multiple home runs from Alysen Febrey, Sydney Pennington and Kiley Naomi. The Hawkeyes battle to stay alive in the last game, and despite Allison Doocy’s best efforts for Iowa, Oklahoma State moves on.

Tallahassee Regional

(10) Florida State (17-7, 29)

Mississippi State (25-3, 20)

North Florida (12-6, 45)

Kennesaw State* (21-4, 54)

Florida State hosts Mississippi State, an at-large North Florida team that beat a couple Power Five teams including Virginia Tech and ASUN champs, Kennesaw State. Florida State’s 13th-ranked scoring offense against Mississippi State’s fourth-ranked ERA battle to an if-necessary game, but the Bulldogs pull off the upset in Tallahassee.

Gainesville Regional

(3) Florida* (23-4, 5)

UCF* (21-5-1, 7)

UNC Greensboro* (15-7, 84)

Columbia* (5-5, 153)

The Gators, despite not having one standout All-American in the circle, won the SEC behind a solid pitching staff and a well-rounded offense. They host three conference champions in the form of UCF, UNC Greensboro and Columbia. UCF nearly pulls off a surprise, but it’s not enough as Florida goes undefeated in the Regional.

Ann Arbor Regional

(14) Michigan* (15-8, 18)

Utah (14-4, 25)

Texas A&M (17-9, 49)

Stony Brook* (10-4, 101)

Michigan won the Big Ten behind the efforts of Meghan Beaubien and Alex Storako in the circle. Ann Arbor plays host to Utah, the surprise of the Pac-12, an at-large Texas A&M from the SEC and Stony Brook, the automatic bid from the America East. Pitching continues to dominate for the Wolverines and sends them to Super Regionals.

Tucson Regional

(6) Arizona (22-3, 6)

Tennessee (14-9, 21)

North Texas (19-5, 32)

Youngstown State* (8-7, 142)

The Wildcats grab another top eight seed after finishing third in a close Pac-12 race. They bring in a Tennessee team they recorded a win against earlier in the season, North Texas, who earned an at-large bid and Youngstown State. Arizona was simply the best team, both offensively and defensively, in the Regional and secure a spot in Supers.

Lexington Regional

(11) Kentucky (20-4, 27)

North Carolina State (19-6, 30)

Western Kentucky* (20-5, 31)

Eastern Kentucky* (22-2, 48)

The Wildcats get one of the most stacked Regionals with a strong ACC bid in North Carolina State alongside two in-state conference champions, Western and Eastern Kentucky. Kentucky gets tested, but its stellar offense, led by Alex Martens and Bailey Vick, push it to Super Regionals.

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