This year in Pac-12 softball

Nate Barrett/Eric Evans Photography

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• Top-seeded OREGON represented the Pac-12 in the 2014 Women’s College World Series, going 2-2 in the double-elimination round to finish the season with an overall record of 56-9-1, setting the school record for most wins in a season. It marked the deepest run all-time in the WCWS for the Ducks, who also earned their first-ever No. 1 ranking this season and their second-consecutive Pac-12 Championship. It was the first time since the Pac-12 began sponsoring softball in 1986 that there has been only one Conference team at the WCWS. 

• Five teams participated in the NCAA Tournament, and all had seeds in the top 12. Led by No. 1 Oregon, the other seeds included No. 3 UCLA, No. 9 ARIZONA STATE, No. 11 ARIZONA and No. 12 WASHINGTON. UCLA, Arizona and UW all advanced to the Super Regional round before falling to their respective opponents in the best-of-three series. 

• The Pac-12 saw 13 players named to the NFCA Division I All-America teams, the second-highest tally of any conference on the list. Oregon and Washington tied with two other schools for the most selections for any institution with three apiece. The Conference also saw a record 42 NFCA All-Region honors. 

• Arizona State’s Dallas Escobedo and Washington’s Kaitlin Inglesby were finalists for the Senior CLASS Award, with both earning first-team All-American honors for the award. 

• UCLA’s Ally Carda was a top-three finalist for USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year. The Pac-12 had four top-10 finalists after beginning the season with 12 players on the top-50 watch list for the award. 

• With Oregon and UCLA reaching the 50-win plateau on the season, it marked the fifth-consecutive season that at least two teams have recorded 50 or more wins in a single year. 

• UCLA’s Carda was voted the Pac-12 Player of the Year, while Pitcher of the Year accolades went to Oregon’s Cheridan Hawkins. The Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year was Kellie Fox of Arizona, and fellow Wildcat Katiyana Mauga was named the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year. Mike White of Oregon took home his second-consecutive Coach of the Year honor. Courtney Ceo was the Pac-12 Batting Champion after leading the league in batting average through the regular season. 

TEAM NOTES:

ARIZONA: UA fell in the Super Regional round as opponent Louisiana-Lafayette won the first two games to eliminate the Cats ... Arizona lost the opening game, 5-3, despite a leadoff home run from Hallie Wilson, her fourth homer of the postseason. The Cats scored two in the bottom of the seventh ... In the second game, the lone UA run came off of a solo shot from Katiyana Mauga in the second inning, her 20th of the season ... Arizona earned its ninth Super Regional berth in 10 tries since the format began the two-team second-seekend format for the Championships.  

ARIZONA STATE: ASU came down to the wire against Michigan but Wolverine Lyndsay Doyle robbed Amber Freeman of what looked to be a potential two-run walk-off homer, giving Michigan the 5-4 victory to advance and eliminate Arizona State from contention after Michigan defeated ASU 4-3 earlier in the day ... The Sun Devils began the regional with a run-rule victory over Dartmouth before facing UM for the first of three total times on the weekend, defeating the Wolverines 4-1 in game two. 

CALIFORNIA: Cal closed out the season as the Huskies swept the Golden Bears for a 23-29 overall record and a 4-18 record in Pac-12 play ... It marked the first time in 29 seasons that Cal did not qualify for the postseason ... The Bears had a nine-game losing streak to end the year after opening the season with a 20-11 record that included a 10-game winning streak from March 15 through April 2. 

OREGON: Oregon advanced to its third WCWS in program history and its first-ever WCWS semifinal game ... The Ducks also broke the school record for number of wins in a season with 56 wins, besting the previous record of 54 which was set in 1989 ... UO went 2-2 at the WCWS, winning its opening game against Florida State but falling to eventual champion Florida. The Ducks rebounded with a 4-2 victory over defending champion Oklahoma to force a fourth game, but Oregon was unable to get a win over Alabama and was eliminated. 

OREGON STATE: The Beavers dropped the first game to Stanford before bouncing back to win the next two games and take the series over the Cardinal for its first series win over Stanford since 2007 and just its second Pac-12 series win this season to close out the year ... Player of the Week Dani Gilmore paced Oregon State, launching a grand slam in the second game to help the Beavers run-rule the Cardinal in six innings with a final score of 12-4. Gilmore also went 2-for-4 with an RBI in the series finale, where OSU scored 13 runs to Stanford’s nine. The 13 runs tied a season-high. 

STANFORD: Stanford finished the season 30-25 despite dropping the final series of the season to Oregon State ... It was the 18th-consecutive year that Stanford recorded a winning record ... The Cardinal was in the at-large discussion but missed out on the NCAA Tournament selection, making it the first time in 17 years that Stanford has not received a berth to the championship. 

UCLA: The Bruins won the first game of the three-game series, but Kentucky rallied on Sunday to take the final two and eliminate UCLA from the tournament ... In the series opener, freshman Delaney Spaulding launched UCLA’s eighth grand slam of the season to come back and defeat UK 6-4 ... 14th-seeded Kentucky won the next two games, 7-3 and 7-1 ... The Bruins finished the season with a 52-8 record, the most wins for the program since 2003 ... Ally Carda, the Pac-12 Player of the Year, was named a top-three finalist for the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award. 

UTAH: The Utes finished the season on an eight-game winning streak, including their first Pac-12 series sweep in school history with three consecutive victories over California ... Utah’s defense set a school record and led both the nation and the Pac-12 this season in double plays, converting 46 on the field. The 46 double plays is the fourth-most in NCAA single-season history, besting Utah’s previous third-place mark and school record of 43 ... Utah finished its Conference slate 8-15, which landed them sixth in the final standings. 

WASHINGTON: UW dropped the series opener against Florida, 9-0, but came back to force a deciding third game. The Gators triumphed in the series finale to eliminate the Huskies ... In the second game, Kaitlin Inglesby pitched seven innings while also hitting the game-winning two-run home run in the bottom of the fifth ... The rubber match was a run-rule victory for the Gators after two rain delays that postponed the match by over five hours ... The Huskies finished the season 37-15. 

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