NCAA Softball Super Regionals: Washington, Oregon, ASU advance to WCWS

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Eric Evans/GoDucks.com | UW Athletics | ASU Athletics

The Pac-12 went 3-0 on in Saturday’s Super Regional action, securing three more spots for the conference in the Women’s College World Series. Washington, Oregon and Arizona State join UCLA as four of the eight teams moving on in the hunt for a national title, marking the first time since 2006 that the Pac-12 has sent four teams to Oklahoma City.

Washington

Seattle Super Regional: (5) Washington 6, (12) Alabama 0

The Huskies wasted no time locking up their spot in the Women’s College World Series.

Taylor Van Zee, the senior responsible for Friday night’s extra-innings walk-off, knocked the second pitch of the game over the right-center field wall to take a lead Washington would never relinquish.

UW is off to the WCWS for the second year in a row and the 13th time in program history.

Van Zee and Kirstyn Thomas came up big for the Huskies, combining to produce four of the team’s six runs on three hits and a walk.

Noelle Hee also had a nice game as the designated player, going 2-for-4 and smacking a left-center solo shot in the top of the fourth to give UW a 3-0 lead. Shortly thereafter, Alabama freshman Madison Preston replaced Courtney Gettins in the circle.

Taran Alvelo threw a complete game for the Huskies, striking out eight while giving up just three hits and no walks in her 10th shutout of the year.

Washington is set to face (4) Oklahoma on Thursday in Oklahoma City.

 

Oregon

Eugene Super Regional: (1) Oregon 11, (16) Kentucky 1 (5 innings)

Like the Huskies, Oregon clinched back-to-back appearances in the Women’s College World Series on Saturday night. It’s the program’s fifth trip to Oklahoma City in just seven years.

Oregon’s bats were relentless from the beginning. A Shannon Rhodes home run paired with a Jenna Lilley RBI started off the second inning with a 2-0 Oregon advantage. Kentucky pitcher Erin Rethlake was then swapped out for Grace Baalman, but a fresh arm did nothing to slow down the Ducks. Baalman allowed the bases to fill up with only one out recorded, leaving Oregon’s DJ Sanders to do this:

That bomb extended UO's lead to six runs in the bottom of the second, but the Ducks weren’t quite done. Just a couple batters later, Shannon Rhodes turned a single up the middle into a run for Gwen Svekis, making it 7-0.

In the bottom of the third frame, Oregon had its run-rule victory all packaged up and ready to go with another three runs. Svekis, who had just scored in the second, was back up to bat with two outs in the third. She produced a two-run triple immediately followed by a Haley Cruse RBI double, stretching Oregon’s lead to 10 runs.

Kentucky managed to get on the board with a Brooklin Hinz solo shot in the fourth inning, but that would be it for the Wildcats.

Oregon will take on Pac-12 foe Arizona State next Thursday in OKC.

Arizona State

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

ASU’s win over South Carolina made the Pac-12 3-for-3 on teams advancing to the WCWS on Saturday night. But it wasn’t a cakewalk to start off with like it was for Washington and Oregon.

The Sun Devils and Gamecocks were tied 1-1 heading into the fifth inning. ASU plated its sole run in the second, while South Carolina got its score in the fourth. Both teams had recorded a handful of hits to that point, but failed to capitalize and left runners stranded.

ASU finally got things going in the top of the fifth. Four runs in the fifth, to be exact. Back-to-back-to-back singles loaded the bases, priming Morgan Howe to drive in the first run of the frame with a single.

One run is nice, but how about three? The next at-bat, DeNae Chatman slapped a double to left-center to clear the bases and make it 5-1, Arizona State:

South Carolina managed to score one more run in the sixth via an RBI double, but it would not be enough to topple the Devils.

Arizona State returns to the WCWS for the first time since 2013 and will face Oregon next Thursday on the opening day.

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