This week in Pac-12 softball
• Three Pac-12 softball teams are headed to Oklahoma City for the 2017 Women’s College World Series. Oregon, UCLA and Washington each booked their tickets this weekend all in hopes to secure the Conference’s 24th national title, the most of any conference in the country. Oregon and Washington will face each other while UCLA faces LSU in OKC.
• The Pac-12 Conference can almost call Oklahoma City its home away from home when it comes to postseason softball. Along with the Conference’s 23 national titles, all nine Pac-12 teams have made appearances in the WCWS and the Conference has sent a team to the final series 28 of 34 years. There have been 12 occasions when the NCAA Championship series featured two Conference schools. Most recently, the 2010 championship game pitted Arizona and UCLA against each other.
• Overall, only 12 different teams have claimed the NCAA crown: UCLA (11), Arizona (8), Arizona State (2), Florida (2), Texas A&M (2), Oklahoma (2), California (1), Washington (1), Alabama (1), Cal State Fullerton (1), Fresno State (1) and Michigan (1).
• Oregon, guided by head coach Mike White, is headed to OKC for the fourth time in his eight seasons as head coach thanks to a 4-0 win over Kentucky during game one, and a 6-5 comeback victory in game two. The Ducks (52-6) are making their third trip in four years to play in ASA Hall of Fame Stadium, and their fourth in the last six.
• Washington advanced to the WCWS for the 12th time in program history with a 2-1 victory over Utah during game three of the NCAA Super Regionals. The Huskies took a 10-4 victory over the Utes during game one led by sophomore catcher Morganne Flores who had two homers, a three-run home run and a grand slam, totaling seven RBIs, finishing one RBI shy of tying a program record. Game three ended with a 2-1 victory that saw Taran Alvelo striking out three batters to advance to OKC.
• UCLA is headed back to the Women's College World Series for the third year in a row and 28th overall after two victories over Ole Miss. The Bruins were lead by the pitching performances in the circle by junior Selina Ta'amilo and Pac-12 freshman of the year Rachel Garcia. UCLA looks to build off of last season after ended its run in the double-elimination round of the 2016 Women’s College World Series.
• The National Fastpitch Coaches Association announced its finalists for the Schutt Sports / NFCA Division I National Freshman of the Year award. Oregon’s Maggie Balint, Utah’s Alyssa Barrera, Washington’s Sis Bates, and UCLA’s Rachel Garcia are all in the running for the award that will be announced during the Women’s College World Series.
• Pac-12 Co-Player of the Year, Arizona’s Katiyana Mauga extended her own Pac-12 career home run record with number 92nd and 25th of the year in Arizona’s 3-2 game one victory over Baylor. The Wildcats ended up falling to Baylor in game two, 6-4, and game three, 6-5.
• The NFCA announced the 2017 DI All-American squads with Arizona being only one of two programs to have all eight of their nominations gain recognition. The first team all-region includes Oregon’s Megan Kleist, Mia Camuso, Nikki Udria, Alexis Mack, and Danica Mercado, Utah’s Hannah Flippen, Washington’s Casey Stangel and California’s Jazmyn Jackson.
• Washington’s Ali Aguilar, Utah’s Hannah Flippen and UCLA’s Delaney Spaulding have been named finalists for the 2017 Senior CLASS Award. To be eligible for the award, student-athletes must be classified as NCAA Division I seniors and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition. The finalists were chosen by national media from the list of 30 candidates announced earlier this month. Nationwide fan voting begins immediately to help select the winner, and fans are encouraged to submit votes online at the Senior CLASS Award website through May 9 and will be announced during the 2017 NCAA Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City, June 1-7.
• Nine Pac-12 softball athletes have been named finalists for the 2017 USA Softball Player of the Year honor. The list includes Oregon’s Maggie Balint and Nikki Udria, Utah’s Hannah Flippen, Arizona’s Katiyana Mauga with teammates Taylor McQuillin, Mo Mercado, Danielle O’Toole and Mandie Perez, and UCLA’s Delaney Spaulding.
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