with first and second no outs in the bottom of the seventh-next batter misses the sacrifice and flies out. Next batter has a line drive straight to the pitcher who drops it then doubles up the two girls who were heading back to the bases. Now Cal has to beat Auburn twice at their place to move on which would have been a tall order for ND as well.
at 0-13 as they had made thirteen straight regionals without advancing through last year, but missed it this year.
ND has made 19 straight regionals including all 16 under Deanna Gumpf. ND has won at least one game in every regional tournament in 20 of the 22 appearances. The two misses were 2013 in Lexington and 1996 in Ann Arbor. ND has got to the final 2 teams of the regionals 13 of the 22 times, despite only hosting one year (2015). Gumpf's teams have got the final two 10 of her 16 regionals.
ND is certainly one of the better softball teams in the ACC as they were one of only three teams to make the NCAA tourney this year and made it all 4 years they've been in the ACC. They also made it all but two years they were in the Big East. It's unfortunate that they are good enough to be top 25 but not top 16 which gets you a home regional. 13 of those came from two conferences this year (8 SEC & 5 PAC12) with 2 from the Big12 and FSU getting the only one from the ACC. This year the Big10 was shut out and no smaller conferences got it though Minnesota, Louisiana Lafayette, and Tulsa may have deserved the chance to host.
It's clear the reason ND has never made it to superregionals despite making 19 straight regionals and 22 out of 24 is they have only hosted once in 2015 when they were seeded 16th. They lost to Ball State in the opener and then Kentucky in the final 2 who had a bad SEC season but was coming off a trip to the college world series the previous year. All other 21 times despite records as high as 54-7 (2001-Liz Miller's last year as softball coach) and 6 other seasons above 45 they never hosted. The big reason is the Big East and the ACC have never really been considered softball conferences which have been dominated by the PACXX schools and more recently SEC with occasional BIG12/Big10 powers (Oklahoma, Michigan, Northwestern). Since the NCAA tourney started in 1982, there was always either a California school or Arizona school in the finals (and often both participants) until 2009 when Florida and Washington played for the title which Washington won. The 1st 30 years the PAC12 won 24 of 30 championships. The last 5 have gone to Oklahoma (2), Florida (2), & Alabama.
ND will need to break through and get a top16 seed to make superregion al in the future. There is some young field talent, but they need some dominant pitchers to break through. It's not that Indiana doesn't produce that kind of talent as the #1 recruit in the country last year who is a Freshman on the Ducks came from Indiana: Miranda Elish. She was the best player on the team in their 9-0 clinching win over Wisconsin where she pitched a one hitter but also had two hits and two RBI's herself. She is undefeated this season (10-0), but still is just the third pitcher on the Ducks in wins as they have two other studs. The best teams have at least two dominant pitchers and ND really didn't have any as the senior Nasland was their best, but her ERA was 3.71. Elish's era on the Ducks was 1.53 and other two pitchers who combined for 40 wins had ERAs of 1.16 and 1.27 respectively. That's how you win in softball. Let's hope ND can get some pitching studs in the future.
although Cal's last trip was back in 2012. I did not believe ND ever had won an NCAA softball regional.