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College Softball Number Of Innings Rules

By Ayush Khadka / 2 June 2023 04:50 AM

Softball features many rules for its players and game format.
Source : twitter

College Softball number of innings is 7. If the games are tied then the extra innings are added until the winner is announced.

College Softball is an inter-college league between various USA universities that have developed softball programs. The NCAA organizes these events and has separated many schools based on their levels, like the D1, D2, and D3 respectively.

There are more than 600 colleges that participate in softball every year. Softball scouts see good high school prospects and seek to put them in their own colleges. Best athletes generally tend to go to the 280 D1 schools since they offer better exposure. 

The best-performing colleges participate in the D1 tournaments, while the best of the best get to play in the Women's College World Series. There is the regional round with 64 teams, and then a super regional will occur between 16 colleges.

There are many rules in college softball, and players have to adhere to each and every one of them for offering a fair game experience. The NCAA has designated its own brand of regulations for general games, pitchers, batters, and other positions.

How Many Innings In Girls College Softball?

Number of innings in college softball is seven for all the tournaments.

Great pitching can quickly end the game.
Source : twitter

In the 7-inning match, college softball will be played between two teams, with the away team's score at the top of the inning, while the home team's score will be at the bottom of the inning. With this number of innings, the match will take about 2 hours to complete. 

However, if there are occurrences of disturbing weather events like extreme rain or hurricanes, the match will then be shortened. Unlike college's two-hour game, the high schools and youth leagues can take a shorter amount of time with the institution of time limit as well. 

Within these seven innings, one of the teams has to score more runs than the other one, and not register three outs. The visiting college team will bat first, and then they have to accumulate runs by home runs or baserunning. 

Baseball And Softball Have Different Rule In This Matter

Baseball features nine innings for their game, while softball has two fewer. 

There is no hard-and-fast method for why both the identical sports had different time lengths for their games. Along with their shorter time duration, the pitching distance is also less.

There are some baseball leagues like the youths and high summer leagues that operate in a seven-inning format. However, that is an exceptional case and is applied to accommodate the smaller physicality of the young players. 

Moreover, there is the application of the Mercy Rule too, that can break the seven-inning format. This regulation dictates that if a team is already leading the scoreboard by 8 runs or more after the 5th inning, then the umpire may declare a run-ahead rule for the leading college. 

Other Scenarios That Affect a Softball Game Length

There are many factors that lead to the change in college softball innings like harsh weather and time limits. 

The games will last for two hours on average in NCAA softball.
Source : twitter

Time limit is a major factor that can disrupt the gameplay in college softball. Softball can take hours to complete with no run progress and only hits until three outs. To complete the game in time, the tournament organizers can establish restrictions on game duration.

For instance, if the away team challenges the final inning, and takes the lead before the completion of three batting half-innings, then they can use the run-ahead rule to win the game. Moreover, five innings can be registered in the smaller tournaments for the run-ahead rule. 

Likewise, when there are any weather disturbances in the game, the game gets postponed for the future and the scoreboard will remain the same until the next play happens. However, if one team leads by more than 10 runs by the fifth inning or 12 runs by the fourth, then the game will be automatically won by the leading college. 

Pitching is another factor that can reduce the game length to an extent. If a team features talented pitchers, then they can quickly retire the batters at every inning, and produce a shorter game than expected. 

How Many Innings In College Softball World Series?

World Series innings in college softball is seven just like the regular games. 

Baylor and Texas played for seven hours in 2017.
Source : twitter

With this regulation, the match becomes shorter than the Men's CWS which contains a 9-inning format. This shorter format can provide an opportunity for greater excitement and competition. Similarly, short game endings due to Mercy Rule and Weather conditions are in effect for softball CWS too. 

Moreover, the two teams will be playing a best-of-three match at the USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City, so there is no home or away system in this game.

In 2022, Oklahoma and Texas battled together in the WCWS, where Oklahoma emerge victorious by winning Game 2 with a 10-5 score. The game had its big moments from the fifth inning, with a great three-home run from Kinzie Hansen. Then, Oklahoma added another three-run homer in the sixth inning. 

Extra Innings In Collegiate Softball

Extra Innings In College Softball occur when both teams are tied in scores in the final seventh inning. 

The game length after the arrival of Extra innings varies per different tournaments. In NCAA competitions, the matches that go to extra-innings will start with a baserunner in the second base. 

In the MLB, the winning percentage for home teams in the extra inning match is 52%. The visiting team will bat first, so they can look at the runs scored at every top and leverage new strategies accordingly.

However, the advantage is lesser in both baseball and softball when we compare with the first 3 innings. Every home team has a great home-field advantage since they will bat at the bottom. 

Longest Match In College Softball History

Collegiate Softball longest game is between Utah and Creighton on 11 May 1991. 

WCWS is the ultimate prize for every NCAA team.
Source : twitter

The two teams played against each other in their Game 1 match for the Western Athletic Conference Championship. Both of them went on to play for 31 innings and played in a brutal 1-0 match that took 6 hours and 25 minutes to complete. 

Moreover, Game 2 was just the next morning, so the two teams had to proceed after resting for only half-hour. Game 2 also became headlines, as the two of them again battled the match until 25 innings. Finally, Utah won the match 4-3 and won the conference. 

The longest game in the 200s era is between Baylor University and the University of Texas on 5 May 2017. This D1 match between the two teams showcased 25 innings and took 7 hours and 23 minutes for its complete. Finally, the game concluded with Texas winning the match by 3-1.

Rules For College Softball Innings

College Softball innings rules state that a game will last for seven innings with the visiting team batting first. 

Rules guide many of the softball's batting and pitching elements too.
Source : twitter

Every game is scheduled for 7 innings that will last two hours. However, there will be a change in this format only when the following scenarios occur:

  • The match ends in a tie and no team can be declared victor. The game then proceeds to extra innings. 
  • The softball umpire declares the match to end due to weather or other emergency conditions. 
  • The umpire calls for the application of the Mercy Rule
  • The home team already leads in the final inning or at the half of the seventh. 

Extra Innings Softball Rules

Extra Innings Softball rules consist of Tiebreaker that positions a baserunner in the second base. 

This softball regulation entails a runner in the second base at the start of every extra inning. The designated runner will be the last hitter who was present at the final at-bats in the former inning. Moreover, there is also a facility for other players to substitute this runner. 

Likewise, the batter in the previous order can be called to become the runner. For instance, if the 6th batter is coming to the home plate, then the 5th can sit in the second base. Putting up a baserunner in that start will assist to speed up the game and keep the game length under control.

Now, the inning will be played, and whoever scores more runs will gain victory. However, if no team succeeds in scoring more, then this same procedure will be used for the next inning, and so on. 

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