The start of the NCAA Women’s College World Series begins with a Pac-12 match-up between Pacific Northwest neighbors Oregon Ducks and the Washington Huskies.
Seventh seeded Washington (48-12) defeated Pac-12 rivals Utah Utes (37-16) last weekend in Seattle winning their best of three series 2-1.
The Huskies return to the series for the 12th time in program history and the first time since 2013 making it the first trip to the WCWS for the team including seniors Ali Aguilar and Casey Stangel.
“We’re just so proud of our team and our program for being able to get back here,” said Washington head coach Heather Tarr. “It’s a place that in ’09 we won it, ’10 we were here, ’13 we found a way back, but we’ve had a little drought, so I’m just really proud of our team and our program for really setting its mission of finishing in the top eight…can’t wait to continue our quest.”
Oregon (52-6) swept the Kentucky Wildcats last weekend in their best of three in Eugene, Oregon.
The third seeded Ducks make the series for the fifth time in program history, four in the last six years.
“It’s going to get tougher and tougher,” said Oregon senior Nikki Udria in a recent press release. “But the hardest part is getting there. We’ve done a phenomenal job of battling, and everybody’s stepped up. If I had one piece of advice for the freshmen, it’s to be in the moment, and never take a pitch off.”
These teams know each other well with Washington winning two of three during the regular season.
But it’s a blank slate when eight teams arrive for the World Series in Oklahoma City and anyone’s ballgame.
It’s a double-elimination tournament with a best of three in the championship games.
The champion left standing at the end will be the team who did all that it took to grab the trophy.
Tarr looks for her team to do what is necessary to be that last team standing.
“Whatever it takes to get one more run. That’s what we will do,” said Tarr. “We can outscore someone, but at the end of the day, at the championship level it all comes down to who can pitch, who can play defense and who can score the few runs that you need.”
All eight teams, Washington, Oregon, UCLA Bruins, Louisiana State, Baylor Bears, Oklahoma Sooners, Florida Gators and Texas A&M Aggies will play on opening day Thursday, June 1st.
Washington and Oregon’s first pitch is at 4pm (PT) on ESPN2 at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City.
Pac-12 member UCLA (47-13) will start the tournament at 11:30am (PT) against Louisiana State (47-20) on ESPN.
Florida and Texas A&M start things off at 9am (PT) on ESPN with Oklahoma versus Baylor wrapping it up at 6:30pm on ESPN2.
The ESPN community of networks will be televising all of the WCWS games.