Eight Pac-12 softball teams headed to NCAA Softball Championship
SAN FRANCISCO – For the third time in five years, a conference-record eight Pac-12 softball teams will compete in the 2016 NCAA Softball Championship, as announced this evening. Three teams earned top-16 seeds – No. 5 OREGON, No. 11 WASHINGTON and No. 12 UCLA – and they will be joined by ARIZONA, ARIZONA STATE, CALIFORNIA, OREGON STATE and UTAH.
It marks the 20th-straight season that the Pac-12 has had five or more teams advance to the NCAA tournament. The eight selections were tied for the most in league history (1999, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2012, 2013, 2016).
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.
Oregon picks up the No. 5 seed after earning its fourth Pac-12 title in a row. The Ducks will host the Eugene Regional in their sixth-consecutive NCAA tournament appearance, having exited with a winning postseason record each season since 2010. UCLA will also host the opening regional in its 31st appearance in the championship, as will Washington in its 23rd-consecutive appearance. Arizona will be making its 30th-consecutive appearance, Arizona State its 28th-overall appearance, and California its 30th-overall appearance. The Beavers return to the Tournament for the first time since 2013 and their 12th-overall berth in the bracket, while Utah makes back-to-back NCAA championship appearances and its 14th overall.
The championship will be three weekends of competition. Four teams will participate at each of 16 campus sites in a double-elimination tournament. Regionals for the NCAA Division I Softball Championship will be held May 19-22 on 16 campus sites. At each campus site, a four-team, double-elimination tournament will be conducted and the 16 winning teams advance 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.