Mizzou Tigers, four other Big 12 teams earn berths to NCAA Softball Super Regionals

From Big12Sports.com

Baylor, Missouri, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M all won regional championships and will be the Big 12 representatives at the 2011 NCAA Division I Softball Championship Super Regionals. The five Big 12 teams advancing to Super Regional play is the most in Conference history. The five squads will compete in best-of-three series with the winners advancing to the Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City.

Oklahoma State freshman Tarah Ettinger hit a bases-loaded double in the bottom of the sixth and left fielder Tamara Brown threw out the potential game-tying run at home plate in the top of the seventh, as OSU's softball team survived a late Tennessee rally to defeat the fifth-ranked Lady Volunteers, 6-5, in Knoxville. Oklahoma State (40-17) advances to an NCAA Super Regional for the first time in school history, and will host the Houston Cougars (43-16) next weekend.

Whitney Canion delivered another masterful performance, carrying a no-hitter through 6.2 innings and helping guide No. 11 Baylor (43-12) to its fourth regional title with a 1-0 win over East Carolina (41-22) in College Park, Md. Canion (27-9) never allowed a run during the regional and struck out seven, allowing just one hit and five walks in her seventh complete-game shutout of the season. BU will now travel to Athens, Ga., to face No. 6 seed Georgia (50-12) in the Super Regional Round.

No. 16 seed Texas A&M advanced to the program's fourth NCAA Super Regional after defeating LSU (40-18), 3-1, in a nine-inning battle at the Aggie Softball Complex. The Aggies swept the College Station Regional in three outings and continued their undefeated mark at home this season, posting a 25-game streak in 2011 and a 27-game home win streak overall. Both strings are program bests. The Aggies will head to Tempe, Arizona to play No. 1 seed Arizona State in the Super Regional.

With their backs against the wall, fifth-seeded Missouri pulled out two straight wins over DePaul, sending the Tigers to their fourth consecutive NCAA Super Regional round with a 7-3 victory followed by an 8-0 run-rule in six innings. The Big 12 Pitcher of the Year, Chelsea Thomas, shut the door on the Blue Demons, as she notched her fourth no-hitter of the season, facing just one over the minimum. She struck out four batters and threw just 69 pitches, moving to 29-6 on the year. The Tigers will now host the No. 12 Washington Huskies in Columbia.

No. 9 seed Oklahoma rebounded from an earlier loss to Tulsa to win the program's 10th NCAA Regional title as the Sooners (41-17) blanked the Golden Hurricane, 5-0, in the regional title contest at the OU Softball Complex. The Sooners advance to play the No. 8 seed Arizona in a best-of-three Super Regional beginning Friday in Tucson.

All games of the NCAA Super Regionals will be broadcast on the ESPN family of networks.

Since the first season of Big 12 softball in 1996, a league team has advanced 17 times to the WCWS over a span of 15 years. The league has sent at least one team to the WCWS every year since 2000, with three teams advancing in 1998 and two each in 2002, '03 and '07.

From the Super Regionals, eight teams will advance to the WCWS for a double-elimination tournament, with the final consisting of a best-of-three-series. The event will be conducted on June 2-8 at the ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City.