The Road to Oklahoma City starts here.

Kelly Maxwell no-hit Texas Tech, UCLA holds iff Washington's comeback, and UCF gets the last laugh. That and more in D1Softball's Daily Dozen.


Daily Dozen: Friday, March 25

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1. UCLA holds off Washington’s comeback. The Bruins jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning, but Gabbie Plain quickly found herself after that. The Washington ace only allowed three hits the rest of the way to give her offense a chance. Megan Faraimo refused to let that happen in UCLA’s 3-2 win. She struck out eight batters and surrendered three hits, two of which came off the bat of Baylee Klingler. Klinger homered and had an RBI single, while the rest of Washington’s lineup went a combined 1-for-21 against Faraimo. Plain also struck out eight, while walking four. Her wild pitch in the first inning allowed the third run of the frame, the eventual difference in the game. 

2. Kelly Maxwell no-hits; Oklahoma hits a lot. In other words, business as usual from the Sooner State. No. 10 Oklahoma State’s Maxwell opened Big 12 play by no-hitting Texas Tech with 16 strikeouts in a 7-0 victory. For Maxwell, who threw two solo no-hitters a season ago, it’s her first this season after a trio of one-hitters. As far as the other team from the state, the top-ranked Sooners kept hitting home runs in a victory against Baylor Specifically, Lynnsie Elam and Jocelyn Alo kept hitting home runs. Elam hit her sixth home run in the past six days, while Alo hit (at least) one out for the sixth game in a row – one shy of matching yet another Division I home run record. Oh yes, Tiare Jennings, who may one day have more than anyone, also went deep.

3. Erin Edmoundson pitched a gem and Kiki Milloy skied for a web gem. Edmoundson and Milloy helped set the tone as Tennessee beat Florida 6-0 in an SEC series-opening victory in Gainesville. Milloy robbed Florida’s Skylar Wallace of a home run in the bottom of the fourth inning by reaching over the wall in center field to glove the ball for the out. Edmoundson and Florida’s Elizabeth Hightower engaged in a scoreless pitching duel until freshman McKenna Gibson gave the Lady Vols a lead in the fifth on a solo home run. After Edmoundson escaped a jam in the fifth by stranding two runners, Ashley Morgan increased UT’s advantage with a 2-run double in the sixth to knock Hightower from the game. The Lady Vols added three more runs in the seventh to complete the late-inning surge. Edmoundson allowed six hits in the complete-game shutout to improve to 14-2. The lefty had five strikeouts and no walks on 116 pitches.

4. Tidd, Gaskins help Notre Dame notch a big win in ACC play. Payton Tidd threw a 1-hitter and Karina Gaskins continued her hot streak as the Irish beat Duke 8-1 in a weather-impacted series opener at Melissa Cook Stadium in South Bend. Gaskins, who earned National and ACC Player of the Week honors earlier this week, put Notre Dame ahead early by blasting a two-run home run in the first inning off Duke ace Peyton St. George. After a 2-hour, 17-minute weather delay, Notre Dame’s offense remained in rhythm. The Irish scored four runs in the second inning, including a two-run single by Gaskins. That was plenty of run support for Tidd to win the Payton-Peyton pitching battle. The only hit allowed by the senior was a single in the third inning that scored Duke’s lone run. Tidd finished with six strikeouts and three walks on 101 pitches. St. George was knocked out of the game after 3.2 innings pitched. The graduate senior allowed eight runs, including four earned, on seven hits with four strikeouts and three walks. The teams were scheduled to play a doubleheader, but only played one game Friday because of the delay.

5. UCF gets the last laugh to take Round 1. USF felt good enough about a showcase series to throw a little pregame Twitter shade. The Bulls surely felt even better after Georgina Corrick struck out Jada Cody in the second at-bat between the nation’s ERA and RBI leaders, respectively, and then hit a home run of her own. But No. 23 UCF rallied for a 5-2 victory to extend their overall winning streak to 16 games. The pivotal moment came on a slide. Trailing 2-0 in the top of the fifth inning, UCF got one run back when Justene Molina’s chopper over third base drove in pinch runner Damaria Cannon. When USF momentarily struggled to corral the ball on the same play, Denali Schappacher took off toward home in what appeared a doomed effort to tie the game. Doomed until Schappacher evaded the tag and scrambled back to the plate. That set the stage for Kennedy Searcy’s go-ahead home run an inning later. Corrick surrendered the Division I ERA lead, at least as the NCAA records it, although she still has the best mark (0.36) among pitchers with at least 50 innings. 

6. Nebraska hands Alex Storako her fourth Big Ten loss in four seasons. Nebraska’s 3-2 victory against No. 13 Michigan in Friday’s series opener resonates beyond just this season. Storako entered the game 27-3 in her Big Ten career (which admittedly didn’t include any games in 2020 but included a whole bunch of them in the conference-only 2021 season). Michigan’s ace might not have been the most dominant version of herself, but the loss comes down to her lineup’s inability to generate run support against Nebraska’s Olivia Ferrell and Courtney Wallace. Making just her third relief appearance, with two runners on base, one out and a one run lead in the sixth inning, Wallace calmly escaped the inning. It only got worse for the Wolverines in the nightcap, as Nebraska’s Billie Andrews added to her national-best home run total in a 7-4 victory to sweep the day.

7. Danielle Williams tosses another gem. The Northwestern ace struck out a career-high 17 batters in the conference opener against Michigan State. Williams carried a no-hitter through five innings only to give up a single hit to Zaquai Dumas. It was her seventh complete-game victory of the year and her 12th win of the season. She also got it done in game two of the doubleheader when head coach Kate Drohan called upon her to close out the seventh, picking up her fifth save of the season in the 8-6 victory. Northwestern is witnessing the best start through 25 games in the 21-year Drohan era.

8. Acacia Anders and Cal continue to wreak havoc. Coming off a series win over Washington, Cal dropped a disappointing midweek game to Sacramento State. Those youthful Golden Bears responded in an emphatic fashion with an 11-2 win over Oregon in six innings. Jordan Dail held Cal scoreless for four innings until the Pac-12’s hit leader Tatum Anzaldo doubled in the tying run. Anders followed her with a two-RBI triple as the freshman ended the night with four RBIs. Sona Halajian belted a home run to make it a five-run frame. Cal added six more runs in the sixth. Halajian held Oregon to two runs over six innings to net her 13th win of the season. 

9. Missouri and Arizona continue to struggle. After starting the season 16-4, Missouri dropped to 19-10 after losing to Ole Miss Friday. The Tigers have allowed four or more runs in each of those six losses since SEC play started. Missouri is still searching for its first conference win as well. Meanwhile, Arizona is having similar issues. The Wildcats still have a good record, but after falling to rival Arizona State 9-2, Arizona is now 0-7 against ranked opponents and have allowed 52 runs in those games. This is the first 0-4 start for the Wildcats in Pac-12 play since 2012. There’s still plenty of time for both to figure out, but two of last year’s top 16 seeds are going through it right now. 

10. Auburn hopefully didn’t lose more than a game against Kentucky. On a night when so many top pitchers around the country weren’t at their best, Auburn can live with an uneven outing from Shelby Lowe in Kentucky’s 11-3 victory. Especially because Kentucky can make it rough going for a lot of pitchers. Lowe will bounce back. The more pressing matter for Auburn will be hoping Denver Bryant’s apparent knee injury will also be easily forgotten. Bryant’s leg buckled without any contact as a play unfolded near her in the second inning. She collapsed in visible and audible pain. The good news is she was able to limp off the field under her own power shortly thereafter, but Mickey Dean didn’t take any chances in sitting her for the rest of the game. Auburn can’t afford to lose the sophomore’s 1.167 OPS for an extended period. For Kentucky, a rout highlighted by Renee Abernathy’s six RBIs and “walk-off” grand slam marked a heck of a way to bounce back from the midweek loss against Oklahoma.

11.  Miami provides emphatic follow-up to midweek stunner. Storako’s first loss of any kind came earlier this week when Miami went to Ann Arbor and came out with a surprise 7-3 victory. How would the Redhawks handle their newfound prosperity? Pretty darn well. They swept Friday’s MAC doubleheader against Northern Illinois by a combined 21-3 margin and extended their overall winning streak to nine games. After the bottom of the order carried the day against the Wolverines, Karli Spaid returned the favor Friday. Increasingly relevant in All-America chatter, Spaid hit three home runs in Friday’s doubleheader. The winner in the circle at Michigan, Courtney Vierstra polished off NIU with a one-hitter in Friday’s nightcap.

12. UConn walks it off for the second time this week. This is normally Geno Auriemma’s month, but Laura Valentino’s Huskies are doing all they can to get some attention. Trailing Army in the bottom of the seventh inning of a midweek tilt, UConn tied the game when Brianna Marcelino scored on a sacrifice fly and won on Jana Sanden’s walk-off single. We mention Marcelino because she provided a more dramatic version of the walk-off in Friday’s Big East series opener against DePaul. Let’s see Paige Bueckers do that (all right, she probably could). Meanwhile, Central Michigan isn’t impressed. The Chippewas walked off twice in a matter of hours Friday, sweeping a MAC doubleheader against Ball State. 

BONUS: The Sun Belt Conference series between South Alabama-Georgia State was canceled following a shooting on Friday at the Atlanta area hotel where the South Alabama team was staying. Shots were fired at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Atlanta – Northlake. The South Alabama team sheltered in place and nobody associated with the program was injured or involved in the shooting. Georgia State offered counseling services to the South Alabama players and coaching staff. In a news release, DeKalb County police said a man shot a woman and then fatally shot himself. The woman was taken to the hospital with critical injuries. Authorities said the two were related, but did not release their identities.


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