The Five Toughest Places To Play For Super Regionals
Home is where the heart is, and the fans are. And with a trip to Oklahoma City on the line, eight programs have the luxury of playing their Super Regional in front of their own fans.
Here’s a look at five of the toughest environments to play in for Super Regionals this weekend.
The No. 1 Oklahoma Sooners are the gold standard in college softball, and with arguably the most devoted fans in the country, their home field of Marita Hynes Field provides an incredible advantage for Patty Gasso’s team. Nearly 2,000 spectators were on hand to watch the Sooners defeat California in the Norman Regional championship last weekend, and this weekend will mark the last Sooners games at Marita Hynes before the team begins play at its new stadium next season. Oklahoma is unbeaten at home this year with a 17-0 record. No. 16 Clemson doesn’t only have to worry about an Oklahoma lineup that includes Tiare Jennings, Alyssa Brito, Cydney Sanders and Jocelyn Erickson, but John Rittman's squad must also silence the hometown crowd early in order to have a chance to pull off the upset of the century and advance to Oklahoma City.
Just like its neighbor Bryant-Denny Stadium, Rhoads Stadium is a premier destination in both the SEC and national landscape. With seating for 3,940, Alabama hosted 3,119 fans for the Tuscaloosa Regional final against Middle Tennessee State last weekend. Northwestern will enter one of the most difficult playing conditions for an opposing team when they travel to Tuscaloosa to face Patrick Murphy’s team. With two night games on the schedule in the best-of-three series, the Crimson Tide are about to showcase an unbelievable playing experience on the national stage.
After defeating North Carolina Central and Virginia Tech en route to an Athens Regional championship, the Georgia Bulldogs will head south to Tallahassee in what is setting up to be a hostile environment. Nearly 1,400 faithful fans were on site on Sunday to watch Lonni Alameda’s squad defeat South Carolina. JoAnne Graf Field at the Seminole Softball Complex is considered one of the best environments in the sport, and this weekend will showcase just how special this Florida State facility and program are.
Sherri Parker Lee Stadium is getting ready for a showdown between the two UTs. The Lady Vols understand how pivotal fan support has been toward their success all year long. Pitcher Payton Gottshall told the media after Tennessee’s regional championship victory over Indiana, “our fans mean so much, so just being able to host and win for them is amazing.” With a 22-4 record in Knoxville this season, Karen Weekly’s squad will be an incredibly tough matchup for a solid Texas roster.
Out on the West Coast, the University of Washington’s Husky Softball Stadium will be on display as the Huskies host the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns with a trip to OKC on the line. Despite tripping up in its regional, Washington is typically incredible in front of its home crowd. This season, Heather Tarr’s team is 15-3 when it plays in Seattle. With Gerry Glasco’s group traveling across the country, expect Washington to have a sizable home-field advantage.