Updated game times and results are at the bottom.
For the second straight season, Auburn is hosting a NCAA Softball Regional. The 4th seeded Tigers are looking to repeat last year's program first of reaching the Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City. To do that, they'll first have to get through their Regional group, which consists of Jacksonville State, Oregon State, and USC Upstate.
The Tigers' first opponent will be the Jacksonville State Gamecocks, winners of the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament. The Gamecocks finished the season with a 41-15 overall record and undefeated in the Ohio Valley Conference. That's a pretty spectacular achievement, but when you look at their games against SEC competition, you see that the scores were never really close. The fell to Mizzou 0-8, Georgia 0-9, Florida 0-10, and Alabama 3-10.
The first game of the Regional, which is already underway as I publish this, is between Oregon State and USC Upstate. The Spartans of USC Upstate finished 42-13 overall with an 11-6 record in their conference. They narrowly lost to South Carolina 1-0 in their only game against an SEC team, but they did knock off Virginia and Ohio State on their way to winning the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament. Oregon State, meanwhile, comes from the extremely tough Pac12. They finished the year at 30-18-1. They were 10-14 in conference play and finished 7th in the Conference.
Similar to what we do with baseball, let's see how all of the teams line up statistically:
And here you see why Auburn is the 4th seed in the tournament. The Tigers are better in every statistical category. It's close in opponents' batting average, but that's really about it. Auburn's pitching and hitting are far better than the other teams in the Regional, and only Oregon State plays in a league that is equal to the SEC.
I'm not saying Auburn will cruise through this Regional. Every team that got to the NCAA Tournament did so because they're good and believe in themselves. The other teams are going to be highly motivated to play at the highest level in hopes that they can upset the national seed. Just looking at the stats, though, Auburn should be able to use the home field advantage and superior players to advance to next week's Super Regional.
How to Watch
This is going to be difficult to project. The official ESPN bracket shows no games on broadcast television. However, the OSU vs USC-U game is on ESPNU right now. The broadcast schedule could change. What won't change, though - barring more weather - are the game times.
Day one is in the books, so the games for Saturday are now listed!
Auburn advances to the Regional Final out of the winner's bracket. After a 14 inning (!!!!) game, Jacksonville State advances to face USC-Upstate in a late night game to see who will face Auburn tomorrow.
May 20-22 | Auburn, Alabama
All Times are Eastern
Friday, May 20
Game 1: USC Upstate vs. Oregon State, Noon, ESPN3 - (5-2 USC Upstate victory)
Game 2: Jacksonville State vs. (4) Auburn, 2:30 p.m., ESPN3 - (2-1 Auburn victory)
Saturday, May 21
Game 3: USC Upstate vs (4) Auburn, 2:30 p.m., ESPN3 (6-1 Auburn victory)
Game 4: Oregon State vs Jacksonville State, 5:00 p.m., ESPN3 (5-4 JSU victory in 14 innings; OSU eliminated)
Game 5: USC Upstate vs Jacksonville State, 9:30 p.m., ESPN3
Sunday, May 22
Game 6: Teams TBD, 2:30 p.m.
Game 7 (if necessary): Teams TBD, 5 p.m.
So how does this work? Well, Game 3 will be played between the winners of Games 1 and 2. Game 4 features the losers of Games 1 and 2. Game 5 will feature the loser of Game 3 and the winner of Game 4. The winner of that game will then go on to face the winner of Game 3 on Sunday. If the Game 3 winner wins Game 6, then the Regional is over. If the Game 4 winner is defeated, then it goes to a Game 7 for all the marbles.
Auburn may not have to play each team involved in this Regional. Last season the Tigers did not play a team because they were defeated in Game 1 and Game 3.