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Three Big 12 Softball Teams Advance to NCAA Super Regionals
May 20, 2012
A trio of Big 12 softball teams have advanced to the NCAA Super Regionals which take place May 24-27.

Missouri and Oklahoma went 3-0 in their respective regionals, along with Texas who was 4-1, to become the Big 12 representatives in the next round of postseason action. The schools will serve as hosts to three of the eight Super Regional sites in a best-of-three series.

Missouri used an RBI single in the fourth inning and a home run in the sixth, along with a solid performance from All-American Chelsea Thomas from the circle to defeat Illinois State, 2-1, to win the Columbia Regional. It was the Tigers' fifth-straight regional championship, and fourth in a row at home. Thomas retired the first 12 batters she faced before giving up a hit in the fifth inning. It is the third consecutive year that MU will host the Super Regional as the Tigers face LSU.

With a 6-0 win over Oregon State Sunday, Oklahoma claimed its ninth NCAA Regional title and its third in as many years. Junior Jessica Shults hit two home runs including her sixth career grand slam as she paced the Sooners to their sixth NCAA Super Regional berth in eight years. OU swept all three teams in its regional by a combined score of 32-4 to move to 48-8 on the year. Keilani Ricketts improved to 31-7 this season as she struck out 10 Oregon State batters in the finale. Sunday's victory marked the junior's 21st game this year with at least 10 strikeouts. The Sooners will host No. 13 Arizona (38-17) in the Super Regional.

Junior All-America pitcher Blaire Luna fired her second shutout of the day to lead Texas to a 5-0 victory against Northwestern in the championship game of the NCAA Austin Regional. The Longhorns punched a ticket to the NCAA Super Regional for the first time since 2006. Through two contests on Sunday, Luna worked 14.0 scoreless innings while striking out 29 and walking two. She allowed just three runs through 26.0 innings through her four appearances in the regional. UT is 29-4 at home this season, the second-highest win total in program history (30 in 2006). The Longhorns will host No. 11 seed Oregon.
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, the conference has been represented in every year but 1996, ‘97 and ‘99 in the Women's College World Series. 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, ‘07. Last year, the Big 12 made up half of the WCWS field as four squads earned championship berths.

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 May 31-June 6 at the ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City.

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