This year in Pac-12 softball

Mark Mahan/Utah Athletics

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The 2016 season was another outstanding year for Pac-12 Softball. In addition to eight of the league’s nine teams earning postseason berths, five squads advanced to the NCAA Super Regional round. Those eight teams made appearances in the final polls, with UCLA pacing the Conference at No. 9/9. With the Bruins in the top-25 are: OREGON No. 10/11, WASHINGTON No. 13/13, ARIZONA No. 14/15 and UTAH No. 16/16. Also receiving votes included CALIFORNIA (NFCA/USA Softball), OREGON STATE (NFCA) and ARIZONA STATE (USA Softball).

BRUINS TO WCWS: UCLA advanced to the WCWS for the 26th time in program history after taking two games from the Ducks in Eugene. The Bruins won the 2010 WCWS title, the program’s 11th, and moved its streak to 17 straight seasons of qualifying for the NCAA Tournament. UCLA won 8 of the first 11 WCWS titles, beginning in 1982. The Super Regionals were comprised of 16 teams, held May 26-29 on eight campus sites. At each site, two teams played in a best-of-three tournament format. The winners from each site advanced to the NCAA® Women’s College World Series (WCWS). 

FIVE ADVANCED TO SUPERS: For the first time since 2012, five Pac-12 squads advanced to the NCAA Super Regional round. The league’s three teams holding top-16 seeds advanced in No. 5 OREGON, No. 11 WASHINGTON and No. 12 UCLA. Joining the seeded trio include ARIZONA and UTAH. 

QUEENS OF THE LEAGUE: With Oregon’s 5-1 win over the Utes in Eugene, the Ducks sealed their fourth-straight Pac-12 softball title. The feat has been achieved once before, with UCLA winning four-consecutive titles in 1988-91.

ALL-AMERICA HONORS: Ten Pac-12 student-athletes received All-America recognition, as announced by  the NFCA. Leading the charge included Oregon’s OF Koral Costa and Washington’s UT/Non-P, DP Kimberlee Souza, who each earned first team distinction. Second team honorees included 3B Mysha Sataraka and SS Delaney Spaulding of UCLA, as well as AL/SS Nikki Udria (Oregon) and UT/DP Ali Aguilar (Washington). Third team honorees were P Nisa Ontiveros (California), P Cheridan Hawkins, (Oregon), 2B Hannah Flippen (Utah) and OF Allexis Bennett (UCLA).

ALL-PAC-12: In a vote of the Conference’s head coaches, Utah junior Hannah Flippen has been named the 2016 Pac-12 Softball Player of the Year, OREGON senior Cheridan Hawkins was voted Pitcher of the Year, Oregon senior Janelle Lindvall garnered Defensive Player of the Year honors and Washington’s Taran Alvelo and Oregon’s Megan Kleist were tabbed Co-Freshmen of the Year. OREGON head coach Mike White was voted Coach of the Year, while UCLA’s Allexis Bennett was crowned the Pac-12 Softball Batting Champion with a Conference-leading .437 batting average.

ALL REGION: 36 Pac-12 players earned All-Region recognition, and 17 league players earned first-team honors. The awards honor softball student-athletes from the Association’s 10 regions with first, second team and third team selections. NFCA member coaches from each respective region voted on the teams, and all the honorees now become eligible for selection to the 2016 NFCA Division I All-American squads.

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