This week in Pac-12 softball
• The regular season concluded with eight teams advancing to the 2017 NCAA championships. Five teams earned top-16 seeds – No. 2 Arizona, No. 3 Oregon, No. 5 UCLA, No. 6 Washington and No. 11 Utah – and they will be joined by Arizona State, California, and Oregon State. It marks the 21st-straight season that the Pac-12 has had five or more teams advance to the NCAA tournament. The eight selections are tied for the most in league history each being accomplished in 1999, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2012, 2013, 2016, and 2017. For the first time ever ESPN will cover every game from all 16 Regionals of the NCAA Division I Softball Championship.
• As voted on by the Conference coaches, Utah’s Hannah Flippen and Arizona’s Katiyana Mauga were named the Pac-12 softball co-players of the year. Flippen also took home defensive player of the year and was crowned the batting champion with the highest batting average (.424 ) during the regular season. UCLA’s Rachel Garcia was named freshman of the year. Arizona’s Danielle O’Toole was named pitcher of the year and her coach Mike Candrea was named coach of the year.
• The final player of the week honor went to UCLA’s Delaney Spaulding who posted the 10th, five-hit game in UCLA history, while also scoring five runs, to become just the second Bruin to score that many in one game. Washington’s Taran Alvelo was named pitcher of the week after leading the Huskies to a 3-0 weekend at No. 13 Utah and not allowing an earned run in 11 innings. UCLA’s Rachel Garcia added another freshman of the week honor after earning hits in all three games in three victories at Arizona State, going 5-for-11 (.455) with three RBI. She also struck out 11 in 12 innings, including eight in Thursday’s win.
• Oregon took the No. 1 ranking in the USA Softball/ESPN.com poll this week, and received two first place votes in the USA Today/NFCA ranking to come in at No. 3. Arizona is at No. 5/5, Washington is at No. 7/7, UCLA is at No. 9/t8, Utah is at No. 16/17, and Arizona State is at No. 22/22. No less than six teams have been ranked since the start of the season with two different teams taking the No. 1 spot, Arizona and Oregon.
• Five Pac-12 freshman have been named finalists for the 2017 Schutt Sports / NFCA Division I National Freshman of the Year award, the most of any conference. The list includes Oregon’s Maggie Balint, Utah’s Alyssa Barrera, Washington’s Sis Bates, UCLA’s Rachel Garcia and Arizona’s Jessie Harper.
• CHASING HISTORY: Arizona’s Katiyana Mauga is on the verge of breaking the NCAA career home run record. She currently leaves the Conference in home runs this season with 22.
NCAA Softball Career Home Runs
1. Lauren Chamberlain, Oklahoma 2012-15 95
2. Stacey Nuveman, UCLA 1997, 99, 2001-02 90
3. Katiyana Mauga, Arizona 89
4. Stacie Chambers, Arizona 2008-11 87
5. Leah Braatz, Arizona 1994-95, 97-98 85
6. Laura Espinoza, Arizona 1992-95 85
7. Shelby Pendley, Oklahoma 2012-15 84
8. Danyele Gomez, Louisiana 2003-06 83