Part 2: Predicting the Regionals

Part 2: Predicting the Regionals

Here is a look at the other side of the bracket in the NCAA D-I Regionals starting later today.

Teams: Oregon (#8 offense nationally, #5 defense nationally), Wisconsin (22, 41), Missouri (21, 49), Illinois-Chicago (186, 72).
Overview: Oregon has historically been an underachiever in the post-season, but the Ducks boast the top three pitchers in this Regional in Megan Keist, Maggie Balint, and Miranda Elish. For that reason alone I don’t expect a hiccup here.
Prediction: Oregon advances to the Super Regional.

Teams: Kentucky (64, 20), Illinois (25, 69), Marshall (40, 52), DePaul (94, 155).
Overview: Kentucky is the favorite here thanks to the pitching of Erin Rethlak and Meagan Prince, but don’t forget about Marshall. Jordan Dixon, starting pitcher for the Thundering Herd, is used to carrying the load. Dixon threw 237 innings while accumulating the 51st best RA7 (2.18) in the country this season. And on offense, if Marshall gets on base they will run, stealing 157 bases in 186 (84%) attempts. If Marshall can get past Illinois, they might just surprise Kentucky.
Prediction: Kentucky advances, but it’s not easy.

Teams: Utah (14, 13), BYU (36, 21), Mississippi St. (60, 25), Fordham (45, 36)
Overview: This is the Regional to watch for an upset. While Utah comes in as the top seed, I give the three other teams a legitimate shot to advance. Just check out the RA7 national rankings for this group of pitchers:

Player School IP RA7 Rank RA7
Mckenna Bull  BYU 178 19 1.65
Taylor Stocks  Fordham 56 30 1.88
Cassady Knudsen  Miss. St. 67 32 1.88
Hailey Hilburn  Utah 52.2 61 2.28
Alexis Silkwood  Miss. St. 150 80 2.52
Miranda Viramontes  Utah 97.2 86 2.66
Madison Aughinbaugh  Fordham 123 90 2.67
Lauren Quense  Fordham 182.2 118 2.96
Holly Ward  Miss. St. 111 143 3.28

Sure Utah plays in the PAC-12 so the level of competition is high and thus their RA7 numbers are affected, but the PAC-12 isn’t any better than Mississippi State’s SEC. And then there’s BYU, which is led on offense by Lexi Tarrow (.477 OBP) and Caitlyn Alldredge (.702 SLG%). Also don’t forget about Fordham, a balanced team as well that could surprise. All of the above should make this a very entertaining Regional.
Prediction: With BYU sporting as much of a home field advanced here as Utah, I’m taking BYU as an upset to advance to the Supers.

Teams: Washington (2, 18), Michigan (24, 14), Fresno St. (20, 93), Montana (92, 153).
Overview: Washington is an amazing offensive team. Led by Casey Stangle (.355/.476/.638), Ali Aguilar (.349/.476/.631), and Morganne Flores (.338/.415/.624), the Huskies can really swing it. Plus Washington’s Taran Alvelo had an outstanding year in the circle. But then there is Michigan’s Megan Betsa (1.45 RA7, 1.25 ERA, 1.62 FIP, 207 innings pitched).
Prediction: You Betsa, Michigan advances.

Teams: Auburn (10, 8), California (49, 38), Notre Dame (47, 60), ETSU (171, 191).
Overview: Auburn is great on offense and in the circle behind Kaylee Carlson and Mikayla Martin.
Prediction: Auburn isn’t challenged.

Teams: Oklahoma (12, 12), Arkansas (32, 33), Tulsa (106, 22), North Dakota State (196, 70).
Overview: Everyone knows that Paige Parker is great. The left-hander for the defending national champion Sooners will help them carry the day. But Tulsa’s Emily Watson (1.38 RA7, 1.03 ERA, 1.80 FIP, 203.2 innings pitched) could give Oklahoma’s hitters fits if she can first help Tulsa get by Arkansas.
Prediction: Oklahoma advances.

Teams: James Madison (28, 10), Baylor (17, 23), Oregon St. (27, 63), Kent St. (127, 126).
Overview: James Madison was the team other than Minnesota that could have hosted a Regional, and they are likely the favorite here. Behind starting pitcher Megan Good (0.84 RA7, 0.47 ERA, 1.74 FIP, 207.2 innings pitched), expect low-scoring games when she pitches. However, Baylor can counter with an ace of their own in Kelsee Selman, 36th in the country with a 1.92 RA7. Plus Baylor has a more potent offense behind Lindsey Cargill (.508 OBP, 33/38 in stolen bases) and Shelby Friudenberg (.538 SLG%).
Prediction: Home cooking suits Baylor just fine as the Bears advance to the Super Regionals.

Teams: Arizona (1, 2), South Carolina (15, 45), Saint Francis (50, 59), New Mexico St. (101, 111).
Overview: Arizona is the clear favorite here, so I will be intently watching to see if Saint Francis and Ethel Santai (28th in the country in RA7 at 1.87) can knock off South Carolina in the first round.
Prediction: Arizona cruises.