Oregon Softball has Unfinished Business at Fayetteville Regional

Jordan Ingram Editorials

For the second straight year, the No. 18 Oregon Ducks softball team will kick off the postseason at Bogle Park in Arkansas. The Ducks (35-15) enter the regional as the No. 2 seed, playing Notre Dame at 2 p.m. on Friday in the opening game of the Fayetteville Regional on ESPN2. Mr. FishDuck was learning some important gaming information at betting tips 4 you and paused to agree with my interest in Our Beloved Ducks in the NCAA Tournament.

Oregon is coming off a 4-3 loss to Stanford in a Pac-12 softball tournament quarterfinal on May 11 at Hillebrand Stadium. The Cardinal clinched on a walk-off throwing error by Allee Bunker, eliminating Oregon’s hopes of hosting an NCAA regional at Jane Sanders Stadium in Eugene.

Despite a four-game losing skid to end the season, the Ducks are positioned in a fairly advantageous position entering the NCAA Tournament. Firstly, Oregon is no stranger to Bogle Park, and familiarity helps any team playing on the road.

The Oregon Ducks are returning to Arkansas to start the NCAA softball tournament.

“We know that whether we host a Regional or whether we are going to a Regional it’s going to be tough,” said Oregon coach Melyssa Lombardi. “What we like about Arkansas is the familiarity of it; we were just there last year. We’re familiar with their field. We’re familiar with them as a team. We’re familiar with the Regional in Fayetteville.”

Secondly, Oregon is 5-2 all-time against Notre Dame (This is the first time the teams will face each other in postseason play). The Irish (27-19-1) were unceremoniously bounced from the ACC softball tournament in an 8-1 opening-game loss to Georgia Tech. The other team in the Fayetteville Regional is Harvard, who finished the regular season 27-14 with a national ranking of 138th. In their last matchup in 2008, the Ducks defeated Harvard 6-0 in 2008.

Historically, the Ducks have played well in the postseason. Oregon, securing its 23rd regional appearance in program history this year, is 79-51 all-time in the postseason, with nine Super Regional appearances. In regional play, Oregon is 57-24.

All of this bodes well for Oregon. However, getting past the Razorbacks will be no easy feat. Arkansas leads the overall series against the Ducks, 5-3.

This year, No. 12 Arkansas (38-17, 14-10 SEC) is an 11th overall seed in the NCAA Tournament, hosting its third-consecutive regional. The Hogs recently lost to No. 2 Alabama 3-1 in the SEC softball tournament quarterfinals. Six of the teams in the SEC (Tennessee, Georgia, Auburn, Arkansas, Alabama and Florida) finished the regular season with roughly 40 wins apiece.

Last year, the Ducks fell to the Razorbacks in the regional final in Fayetteville, setting up a potential rematch for the Ducks under head coach Melyssa Lombardi, who has led Oregon to its third-straight postseason appearance. For the Ducks, there is certainly a feeling of unfinished business at Bogle Park.

Friday, May 19
Game 1: #2 Oregon vs. #3 Notre Dame – 4 p.m. (ESPN2)
Game 2: #1 Arkansas vs. #4 Harvard – 6:30 p.m. (ESPN+)

Saturday, May 20
Game 3: Winner of Game 1 vs. Winner of Game 2 – 2 p.m.
Game 4: Loser of Game 1 vs. Loser of Game 2 – 4:30 p.m.
Game 5: Loser of Game 3 vs. Loser of Game 4 – 7 p.m.

Sunday, May 21
Game 6: Winner of Game 3 vs. Winner of Game 5 – 1 p.m.
*Game 7: Winner of Game 3 vs. Winner of Game 5 – 3:30 p.m.

The winner of the Fayetteville Regional will advance to play the winner of the Stillwater Regional (Oklahoma State, Wichita State, Nebraska and UMBC).

Jordan Ingram
San Diego, California
Top photo by UO Athletics

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