Five Pac-12 softball teams advance to NCAA Super Regionals

Utah Athletics/Mark Mahan

SAN FRANCISCO – For the first time since 2012, five Pac-12 softball teams will advance in the 2016 NCAA Softball Championship to the Super Regional round. The three top-16 seeded teams, including No. 5 OREGON, No. 11 WASHINGTON and No. 12 UCLA, advanced out of their hosted regionals and will be joined by ARIZONA and UTAH.

Four-time Pac-12 Champion Oregon advanced out of the Eugene regional, allowing one run in three games and downing Fordham, 8-0 and Baylor, 6-0 and 8-1. Senior Nikki Udria hit a homer giving the Ducks their school-record 93rd home run of the season. The Ducks are 21-0 in regional games under head coach Mike White, and move on to face Pac-12 rival UCLA in the Super Regionals this weekend in Eugene, Ore. Vying for a berth in the Women’s College World Series, the series will prove tough as the Ducks lost their only conference series this year to the Bruins in Eugene.

The No. 12-seeded Bruins grabbed their 16th comeback win of the season to defeat Cal State Fullerton, 5-4 and advance out of the Los Angeles regional to the program’s eighth Super Regional appearance. Junior Delaney Spaulding launched her third homer of the weekend for her team-leading 17th home run of the season.

The No. 11 Huskies secured their 10th NCAA Super Regional berth after defeating Minnesota, 15-7 in six innings. The Huskies, who are 25-0 when leading after the first inning, travel to Tuscaloosa, Ala., to face Alabama for the second-consecutive season, this time vying for a spot in the Women’s College World Series.

Arizona captured a walk off, 4-3 win over Tennessee in the eighth inning to secure the Wildcats’ 27th regional title in the last 30 years. Arizona heads to Auburn, Ala., to face No. 4-seeded Auburn Tigers.

Utah downed ninth-seeded Kentucky, with a 5-3 win in the second game of the day. The Utes advance to their first-ever NCAA Super Regional. Utah’s last trip to the College World Series occurred in 1994 before Super Regionals came in to existence. Yesterday, the Utes became the first team in program history to wins its first two games at NCAA Regionals. Utah heads to Tallahassee, Fla., to face ninth-seeded Florida State in the NCAA Super Regional.

Only 12 schools have been crowned the NCAA Division I softball champion since the tournament started in 1982, and all 12 will compete in this year’s bracket, with five of them coming from the Pac-12. With 23 national titles since the sport was initially sponsored in 1987, more than any other conference in the nation, all nine Pac-12 teams have made appearances in the Women’s College World Series. UCLA, Arizona and California lead the nation in all-time WCWS appearances and wins, while UCLA has the most NCAA titles in history with 11. Arizona is second with eight, while Arizona State has won two and Cal and Washington have one apiece.

The championship will be three weekends of competition. Four teams participated at each of 16 campus sites in a double-elimination tournament. Regionals for the NCAA Division I Softball Championship were held May 19-22 on 16 campus sites. At each campus site, a four-team, double-elimination tournament was conducted and the 16 winning teams advanced to the Super Regionals. Super Regionals for the championship will be held May 26-29 on eight campus sites. At each site, two teams play in a best-of-three tournament format. The winners from each site advance to the NCAA Women’s College World Series.

NCAA SUPER REGIONAL SCHEDULE (All times Pacific)

UTAH at No. 8 Florida State • Tallahassee, Fla.
Game 1: Friday, May 27, 2 p.m. (ESPNU)
Game 2: Saturday, May 28, 1:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
Game 3: Saturday, May 28, 4:30 p.m. (ESPN)
No. 12 UCLA at No. 5 OREGON • Eugene, Ore.
Game 1: Saturday, May 28, 6:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Game 2: Sunday, May 29, 4 p.m. (ESPNU)
Game 3: Sunday, May 29, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
ARIZONA at No. 4 Auburn • Auburn, Ala.
Game 1: Saturday, May 28, 3:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
Game 2: Sunday, May 29, 11 a.m. (ESPN)
Game 3: Sunday, May 29, 2 p.m. (ESPNU)
No. 11 WASHINGTON at No. 6 Alabama • Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Game 1: Friday, May 27, 6 p.m. (ESPN2)
Game 2: Saturday, May 28, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Game 3: Saturday, May 28, 5:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
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