The Mary Nutter Classic met and exceeded expectations on the first day of the thirty-two-team three-day tournament, with dramatic finishes, great pitching, and surprising upsets.
Entering the weekend 14-0, the Auburn Tigers bested Notre Dame in their first game in Cathedral City, but were shocked in a late-inning comeback by the Wisconsin Badgers with a final of 3-2 in favor of the team from the Big Ten. A fielder’s choice and throwing error allowed the Badgers to score two runs in the sixth inning and secure a lead that they would not relinquish. It was the Tigers’ first loss since they lost two games to Oklahoma and were eliminated from the Women’s College World Series a season ago.
The game set a trend for the tournament’s opening day, as the Nebraska Cornhuskers and Oregon State Beavers followed suit soon thereafter, with surprising victories over Texas A&M and Oklahoma State, respectively.
The Huskers’ win against Texas A&M also gave the Aggies their first loss of the season, a defeat that was tacked onto the record of pitcher Trinity Harrington in the circle. Despite allowing eleven hits to the Aggie batting order, the Huskers put six runs on the board against Harrington, and held the Aggies to just three runs, all of them earned. Tristen Edwards, who we picked as a player to watch this weekend for the Huskers, drove in two runs for her team in the game.
The battle of the OSUs swayed in the favor of Laura Berg’s Beavers by a final score of 4-2 in eight innings. The Cowgirls’ Vanessa Shippy was held hitless in the game, going 0-3 and reaching base after being hit by a pitch.
A late-night result from the Nebraska-Mississippi State game also should raise some eyebrows as Vann Stuedeman’s Bulldogs took home a five-inning, 9-0, run-rule victory over the Huskers.
Other results from the first day of the Classic were:
10-0, Arizona over North Carolina
8-6, Missouri over BYU
9-4, Arizona over Missouri
7-2, Oklahoma over Arizona State
13-0, Tennessee over BYU
7-1, Tennessee over Bethune-Cookman
5-3, Texas A&M over Notre Dame
6-2, Auburn over Notre Dame
3-2, Oklahoma State over Wisconsin
11-2, Oregon State over Bethune-Cookman
3-1, Arizona State over Mississippi State
3-2, Liberty over North Carolina
7-0, San Diego State over Liberty