Heads Up! Mary Nutter Tournament starts Today!! Are the teams we face any good???

Forum to discuss the best softball team in the country
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TropicalSooner
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Heads Up! Mary Nutter Tournament starts Today!! Are the teams we face any good???

Post by TropicalSooner »

That is the question.
Here is our schedule of games: (listed times are on our Softball website so I am assuming CST for all games)
Friday 23rd Mississippi State 7:30pm
Friday 23rd Wisconsin 10:00pm
Saturday 24th San Diego State 2:30pm
Sunday 25th Seattle 11:00am
Sunday 25th Loyola Marymount 1:30pm

I hope we don't have a flight we have to catch during the afternoon and have a drop-dead time for the LMU game.

Ok. How do all our opponents match up this year?
Mississippi State--
Another poster in a chat group asked, "Is Mississippi State secretly good?"
Mississippi State has been a staple of our schedule ever since Covid. Sooner Alum Samantha Ricketts coaches that team and this year they are off to a roaring start winning their first 8 games in a row before stumbling over UC Davis in the last game in Puerta Vallarta, and now stand at 8-1. Their 'signature' wins one thought would have been over Utah, Louisiana x2, and Clemson. However, Utah and Louisiana are no longer ranked, and the only ranked teams Clemson has played they've lost to (Miss St and Missouri). All the rest of the Bulldog wins are against UAB, IUPUI, and UC Davis, and the second game with UCD being their loss. So the teams they beat, they were supposed to, and the rated teams they beat have dropped off the radar, except for Clemson. What the Bulldogs do have is a complete lineup hitting over .300 with 4 lineup regulars hitting over.400. Their 3 regular pitchers have been spot on so far with ERAs ranging from 0.43 to 0.82. The team BA is .377 (ours is .346 for reference) they've walked 32 times to 26 K's. They will run--13/15 SB attmpts. For pitching--Aspen Wesley (3-0 0.41 era 17 Ks to 2 BBs) and Josey Marron (3-0 0.86 era 17 Ks to 1 BB) look to be their primary pitchers. Their Achilles heel may be their defense....already 10 errors for .956 fldg %. Ricketts will have them ready to play and they will expect to win.
Of note: Nicole May already has two wins over the Bulldogs in the 3 games we played in '22 and '23. Back in '21, the win went to Juarez. I have not checked the class of the team so I don't know if May will be seeing the same hitters as the last two years or not. We may get Maxwell starting this game to give them a different look. I don't think KellyMax has faced Miss St before.

Wisconsin--
The Badgers currently stand at 4-6 on the year with wins over Weber St, Boise St, Univ of Maine, and the Univ of St. Thomas (no, not the Island in the Caribbean). They did push Georgia to 10 innings at Clearwater before surrendering 6-7 followed by another close loss to Kentucky 5-6 before starting to fall apart against OSU losing 5-9, and then just losing it all to UCF 9-21, followed by another loss to Wash 1-9. They have a team BA of .310 with 4 starters hitting over .300. Surprisingly, they also have 16 HRs (we have 14) with 9 coming in the dry desert air of Tempe AZ their first weekend against weaker opponents, and 7 more in Clearwater with the much harder Wilson Balls (instead of the softer NCAA Rawlings balls) that even the weakest teams were having a field day crushing balls over the fences. As for their pitching, it appears Tessa Magnanimo (2-1 3.71 era 15 Ks to 5 BBs) or Gabi Salo (2-1 4.38 era with 19 Ks to 9 BBs) are their two lead pitchers. What's kind of telling to me is while their team BA is .310, their pitchers BA Against .344. Their defense has 9 errors for .965 Fld %
How fun it would be to see Paytn Monticelli start the game against her old teammates...but since she's thrown batting practice against them all last year, I'm guessing it will be May or Maxwell, whoever doesn't start the Miss St game.

San Diego State--
Before the season began, I thought the Aztecs, along with Louisiana, might be some of the mid level teams that would give a lot of power 5 conf teams a run for their money. Now, I'm not so sure. At least with San Diego State. They bring a 5-5 record to Mary Nutter with their signature win probably being over Kentucky who owns 2 wins over Stanford themselves. Their other wins come over UC Santa Barbara, San Diego, and 2 from Loyola Marymount. I suppose you could call their losses "quality losses" being losses to Stanford, Minnesota, Oregon, and Texas A&Mx2. The Aztecs are not a power hitting team. They have a team BA of only .234 and only two starters barely hitting .300+. and only have 2 HRs total so far. Their Their OB% is only .318 and their SLG% is a meager .302. Their strike outs far out number their walks: 54 Ks to 29 BBs.
It appears their pitching is what has kept them in some of the games they've played. Allie Light (2-1 1.01 era) has thrown the most innings-27.2 and has the most K's at17 with 6 BBs, and CeCe Celura (1-1 2.75 era, 6 Ks 3 BBs over 20.1 IP) and Dee Dee Hernandez (2-1 2.93 era, 10 Ks 1 BB over 14.1 IP) would be the other two mainly used pitchers that we are likely to see, either as starters or relief. They also have 10 errors for a .969 fielding %.
Karlie Keeney threw against the Aztecs twice last year at the LA Regionals. The first time was in middle inning relief and the 2nd time as the starter in a losing effort that ended their season. But Karlie had just pitched 7 innings winning over GCU followed by 7 innings winning over UCLA the night before, and had probably ran out of gas by the time SDS showed up. I wonder if she would like a piece of revenge here?

Seattle Univ--
The Redhawks are a substitute team after Notre Dame backed out of the original schedule of games. A member of the WAC, they also bring a 5-5 record to Mary Nutter. They have wins against U Conn x2, Georgia St, Santa Clara, and Nevada, while their losses are to UCF, Howard, Cal Poly x2, and San Jose St. While nothing to write home about, their wins and losses are probably par for the course for their usual slate of competition.
Also not a power hitting team, they are hitting at a .293 clip, and also only 2 HRs. Their OB% is .353 and SLG% at .374. Strike outs to walks is 27 to 23.
As for pitching, Stefanie Madrigal (2-2 2.47 era 14 Ks 8 BBs) and Nicola Simpson (1-2 2.63 era 11 Ks 4 BBs) have garnered the most IPs at 22.2 and 21.1 respectively. They do have 6 pitchers on staff, so this is where Madrigal might start--switch pitchers after one time through the lineup and use Simpson to close---or something like that.
I would expect either Deal or Monti gets the start here with Geurin picking up a couple of batters along the way as well.

Loyola Marymount--
The Lions, members of the West Coast Conf, come into Mary Nutter with a 2-8 record and at first glance you would think they are really struggling. But taking a closer look, their wins are over Univ Maryland and Oregon, and you would have to say their losses are to mostly good teams: OSU (0-1 !), Maryland, Texas, San Diego State, and Cal St Fullerton. We've played the Lions the last two years: winning 5-0 in '22 and 10-1 in '23.
Their hitting statistics are lacking also (against good pitchers though?) with the team BA at .230 and a total of 6 HRs. Their OB% is .282 and their SLG% is .329. They have 48 strike outs to only 13 walks. This should be a team that no matter which pitcher we choose, they should agressively attack each batter and dare them to swing at any of our pitches.
Their pitching staff appears to be anchored by Jenna Perez (1-3 2.90 era, 26 K's to 12 BBs) and Jessica Hubbard (0-1 5.25, 10 K's and 10 BBs) who have the most IPs at 19.1 and 16.0. Again with 5 pitchers on staff, one time through the line up may be all any one of their pitchers get to do.
Which ever doesn't start against Seattle (assuming Deal or Monti) would probably get the start here, with Geurin maybe getting some more batters mid way through.

All of these games will probably present an opportunity for Coach Rocha to give Maxwell, Keeney, or Monti some shots at closing. I would like to see us start to get comfortable with a couple of pitchers that we feel we can go to when the chips are down and we need to have somebody shut the door on an opponent late in the game. May and Deal have shown that skill in times past, and to have a couple more would be good to have also.

Weather looks to be good--not like the Clearwater Tournament that got cancelled half-way through. For all of you that plan to go, Safe Travels and have a great trip.
I hope to see 5 more wins in the win column after this weekend.


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Post by The Far Journey »

I don't know about anybody else but I thought the start times of the Friday games were a typo. OU plays Miss State in the late game, then Wisc in the later game, 10:00pm Pacific coast start but midnight for both the OU and Wisconsin teams' inner clocks. And we know that game won't start then. I'm old and go to bed at 7:00. I'm exhausted just thinking about it. Deja vu the world series of a couple years ago. What's going on with all that?
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Post by EMan »

The Far Journey wrote: Thu Feb 22, 2024 7:03 pm I don't know about anybody else but I thought the start times of the Friday games were a typo. OU plays Miss State in the late game, then Wisc in the later game, 10:00pm Pacific coast start but midnight for both the OU and Wisconsin teams' inner clocks. And we know that game won't start then. I'm old and go to bed at 7:00. I'm exhausted just thinking about it. Deja vu the world series of a couple years ago. What's going on with all that?
According to the OU website, those are CST times, not PST.
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Post by OUBeliever56A »

I think "TropicalSooner" got everything about right in his post.

I watched both Wisconsin and Mississippi State play yesterday and I think Wisconsin is the better team. I did not see anything from either pitching staff that caused concern. If OU plays well, they should pick up two wins. (I guess that is a sentence that can be typed for every game, right?)

I also watched Baylor against Oregon. Baylor is a good team, in about every way. Crandall pitched for Baylor in their win of Oregon. She has gotten better. Stevie Hansen came in early in relief and got out of a big jam to keep Oregon in the game. Later she got in a jam and did not get out of to pick up the loss. Oregon base running kept them from tying the game in the last inning. I have no idea why the runner at 3rd was held up by Coach Lombardi and why the trailing runner did not see that and stay at 2B.
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Post by TropicalSooner »

Oregon has been a disappointment to me so far this season.

And I still think Baylor is going to push a lot of teams really hard. Although I was disappointed in them against Tennessee as well.

I am surprised how well OSU is playing and also how poorly Fla St is playing....I guess Reid is not going to be the one for them to lean on this year. But I did see where Asyton Danley--their freshman pitcher--did pick up her first college win yesterday.
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