NCAA Softball Super Regionals: UCLA earns berth to Women's College World Series; Washington, Oregon, Arizona State win

UCLA Athletics

The Pac-12 now has one team heading to the Women’s College World Series as three more look to clinch berths on Saturday.

UCLA

Los Angeles Super Regional: (3) UCLA 3, (14) Arizona 2

After beating Arizona on back-to-back nights at Easton Stadium, the UCLA Bruins are off to the Women’s College World Series for the fourth year in a row.

Rachel Garcia was a force in the circle for UCLA, striking out 10 over seven innings. She allowed four hits — a higher total than usual for the ace — but the Bruins bats had her back. Bubba Nickles went 3-for-3 at the dish and sent in the tying run with an RBI single in the third inning.

Aaliyah Jordan scored the eventual winning run in the fourth, singling up the middle to plate Kylee Perez and make it 3-2, Bruins.

Here’s the final out that sent UCLA to Oklahoma City:

Arizona

Arizona started out with a bang — a two-run homer from Alyssa Palomino in the bottom of the first, specifically — but the Wildcats’ season ended with a whimper. Arizona batters were helpless against UCLA’s Garcia, going down in order in the second, fourth, sixth and seventh frames.

The ‘Cats finish their 2018 campaign with a 43-16 record.

Washington

Seattle Super Regional: (5) Washington 3, (12) Alabama 2 (9 innings)

What a night for Washington. The Huskies were this close to being shut out by the Crimson Tide, but they pulled through when it mattered most.

In the bottom of the seventh, staring down a 2-0 deficit, Washington had two on and one out. Ain’t no thang for sophomore Sis Bates:

Fast-forward to the ninth inning after a fruitless eighth. Washington’s Kelly Burdick got herself into scoring position after reaching first on an Alabama error and then stealing second. Taylor Van Zee came up to bat next. Cue the Husky heroics:

(5) Washington and (12) Alabama play game two of their best-of-three series Saturday at 4 p.m. PT.

Oregon

Eugene Super Regional: (1) Oregon 6, (16) Kentucky 1

What, you really thought Kentucky would sweep Oregon AT The Jane?

The Ducks forced a game three Friday night following a 6-1 win over the SEC Wildcats. The first three innings were quiet, but Lauren Burke came through loud and clear in the fourth.

Bases loaded with Ducks, the freshman phenom found a gap up the middle to plate Haley Cruse and DJ Sanders. The cherry on top: Shannon Rhodes also got to go home due to a Kentucky error. Oregon led, 3-0. How about this Burke stat, courtesy of Oregon Athletics?

Kentucky scored on a sac fly in the bottom of the fourth, but that would be the Wildcats’ only run of the contest. Oregon tacked on two more scores for good measure in the sixth, an RBI double by senior Jenna Lilley.

Oregon’s Miranda Elish went a full seven innings with two hits, zero walks and seven strikeouts.

The Ducks and Wildcats dance one more time Saturday to decide who goes to Oklahoma City. First pitch is at 6 p.m. PT.

Arizona State

Tempe Super Regional: (8) Arizona State 5, (9) South Carolina 2

G Juarez missed out on a no-hitter in the top of the seventh Friday in Tempe, but getting one win away from Oklahoma City will just have to do.

She was her usual stellar self in the circle, striking out eight while allowing only two hits and two walks a complete-game effort.

Once Juarez sat down the first three batters in the game’s initial frame, the Sun Devils went to work on offense. Morgan Howe put the first run on the board with an RBI double, scoring Taylor Becerra in the bottom of the first.

The next inning, Jade Gortarez kept things going with a two-run home run to make it ASU 3, South Carolina 0.

The Devils added to more runs to the board before night’s end. The Gamecocks tallied their first and only runs of the game in the 7th via a  Kennedy Clark two-run homer.

Arizona State and South Carolina play game two of the best-of-three series Saturday at 6 p.m. PT.

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