Regular-season finale to crown Pac-12 softball champion
The Pac-12 softball champion will be crowned in the last week of the regular season as three teams remain in contention for the title. The three ranked Pac-12 softball teams shifted in the top-10 of the USA Today/NFCA Coaches poll as No. 2 WASHINGTON (42-7, 17-4) hurdled No. 3 UCLA (45-3, 19-2) and ARIZONA (40-11, 17-4) holds at No. 6.
UCLA, Arizona, and Washington enter the weekend with the potential to either win the Pac-12 title outright or share it with another team, depending on two highly-anticipated league matchups. No. 3 UCLA hosts No. 6 Arizona and No. 2 Washington welcomes Stanford for a three-game series and all six games are set for broadcast on Pac-12 Networks. ARIZONA STATE travels to Eugene to face OREGON in a three-game series, while OREGON STATE hosts UTAH to close out the 2019 regular-season campaign.
UCLA controls its destiny atop the Conference standings with a 19-2 record and can win the title outright with two wins against the Wildcats. Arizona and Washington are two games back of UCLA and tied in second place with a 17-4 league mark. The Wildcats can win outright if they sweep UCLA, but is contingent on Washington losing at least one game. Washington could share a piece of the title depending on the series outcome.
The 2019 Pac-12 Softball Players of the Year and All-Conference Teams, including All-Pac-12, All-Defensive and All-Freshman Teams, were announced today by the Conference office. UCLA’s Rachel Garcia collects her second-straight Player of the Year honor and becomes the first player in Conference history to win both Player and Pitcher of the Year in the same season. Bruins teammate Megan Faraimo was tabbed Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, marking their third consecutive rookie honor. Washington’s Sis Bates garnered Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year for the second consecutive year. Stanford head coach Jessica Allister was voted Pac-12 Coach of the Year after leading the Cardinal to eight Conference wins, which are more than the previous four years combined (7).
UCLA pulled away in the league standings to gain a huge advantage after taking 2-of-3 games against Stanford (1-2, 7-4, 4-0) last week. The Bruins clinched their seventh Pac-12 series with outstanding pitching efforts from Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Megan Faraimo and sophomore Holly Azevedo in their three-hit shutout on Sunday. UCLA is on the brink of it’s 10th Conference Championship (1988-89, 1990-91, 1993, 1999, 2002, 2006, 2009) while its current Conference winning percentage (.905) would stand as the best record since the 1993 team went 25-1 in league play.
Second-ranked Washington drew closer in the Conference standings after sweeping then-No. 4 Arizona (2-1, 3-1, 7-4) on the road last week in a crucial league series. Senior Taran Alvelo threw 18 strikeouts (0.57 ERA) in 12.1 innings and collected her Conference-leading 22nd victory to earn Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week, Louisville Slugger/NFCA Pitcher of the Week and USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Week honors. Alvelo is two wins away from joining Danielle Lawrie and Jennifer Spediacci as the only Huskies ever to win 100 career games.
The Huskies earned their 17th Pac-12 win last weekend, tied for the most in a single season in head coach Heather Tarr’s 15-year tenure (2010). Washington will try to pick up its seventh Pac-12 series win and sixth sweep of the year to reach 20 Conference wins for the second time in program history (1996, 23-4).
Stanford knocked off then-No. 2 UCLA, 2-1, in the series opener behind freshman Emily Schultz’s two-run homer and a stellar pitching performance from senior Carolyn Lee, who allowed just one run on five hits. The victory marked its first win over a top-two ranked team since 2014 and now owns two wins over top-10 opponents this year after defeating then-No. 7 LSU on the road in non-conference play. The Cardinal has notched several historic wins this season, including its first Pac-12 series victory since 2013 and snapped a 19-game losing streak to Oregon that dates back to 2012.
ARIZONA STATE (30-18, 10-11) earned the series win against California (7-2, 3-8, 10-6) and has reached the 30-win threshold for the 24th consecutive season. UTAH won its series against Oregon (4-3, 9-4, 11-6) for the first time in program history. Oregon freshman Jasmine Sievers was the only Duck named to the All-Pac-12 First Team and also landed on the Pac-12 All-Freshman and All-Defensive Teams with a team-leading slugging percentage (.574), extra-base hits (19) and doubles (14).
NATIONAL STAT LEADERS: The Pac-12 is home to some of the most powerful pitching talents in the country with three teams in the top-10 ERA led by UCLA (1.22) in second, Arizona (1.58) in fifth and Washington (1.60) in sixth. Equally as impressive, UCLA ranks third in the nation in batting average (.348), followed by Arizona in 11th (.329) and Arizona State in 17th (3.18).
League teams not only have the toughest pitchers in the country, but also have some of the best scoring offenses in the country, led by third-best Arizona State (7.48 runs per game), UCLA in fourth (7.25) and Arizona in ninth (6.90). Strikeout-to-walk ratio has been a highlight all season long, led by UCLA (5.82), Washington (5.37) and Arizona (4.29) ranking Nos. 2, 3, and 7 respectfully in the country. On base percentage has been exceptionally high this year with three teams in the top-15 including No. 6 UCLA (.423), No. 8 Arizona State (.419) and No. 13 Arizona (.410).
Arizona’s lineup features two of the top home-run hitters in the country with Jessie Harper owning the second-most (23) and teammate Dejah Mulipola close behind in seventh (20). Harper also ranks seventh nationally in RBIs (61) and ninth in total bases (136) this season as the junior shortstop has been a key factor in the team’s success. California’s All-Pac-12 First Team selection Lindsay Rood is tied for the nation’s most hits with 78. UCLA’s Kelli Godin tops the Conference and 13th in the country in batting average (.441) followed by Arizona’s Reyna Carranco in 18th (.433).
|Thursday, May 9|
|Arizona State at Oregon||P12N||5 p.m.|
|Utah at Oregon State||5 p.m.|
|#6 Arizona at #3 UCLA||P12N||7 p.m.|
|Stanford at #2 Washington||P12N||7 p.m.|
|Friday, May 10|
|Utah at Oregon State||3 p.m.|
|Arizona State at Oregon||P12N||5 p.m.|
|#6 Arizona at #3 UCLA||P12N||5 p.m.|
|Stanford at #2 Washington||P12N||5 p.m.|
|Saturday, May 11|
|Utah at Oregon State||10 a.m.|
|Arizona State at Oregon||P12N||12 p.m.|
|#6 Arizona at #3 UCLA||P12N||12 p.m.|
|Stanford at #2 Washington||P12N||12 p.m.|
CONFERENCE STANDINGS (Expanded Standings)
|Teams||Pac-12 Record||Overall Record|