Five Pac-12 softball teams earn NCAA Tournament bids
SAN FRANCISCO-- Five Pac-12 softball teams will compete in the 2019 NCAA Softball Championship, as announced this evening by the NCAA Division I Softball Committee. Three teams earned top-16 seeds including Pac-12 Co-Champions, No. 2 UCLA and No. 3 WASHINGTON along with No. 6 ARIZONA while ARIZONA STATE and STANFORD join the 64-team field. It marks the 24th-straight season that the Pac-12 has had five or more teams advance to the NCAA Tournament.
The Pac-12 leads all conferences with 23 NCAA titles while UCLA has the most of any school in the country with 11 and is trailed by Arizona in second with eight, while Arizona State has won two and California and Washington have one apiece.
UCLA (46-5, 20-4 Pac-12) earns the No. 2 seed after clinching the Pac-12 title in the final week of the regular season for its 10th all-time crown and will host Weber St. (26-19) in the first round. The Bruins make their nation-leading 35th all-time NCAA appearance, including 21-straight bids. UCLA spent five weeks of the regular season at No. 1 in the USA Today/NFCA and USA Softball/ESPN polls and maintained a top-3 rank throughout the season. UCLA leads the nation in all-time WCWS appearances (28) and NCAA Championships (11). UCLA is led by Pac-12 Player and Pitcher of the Year Rachel Garcia and Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and Megan Faraimo.
Washington (45-7, 20-4) is the No. 3 seed and plays host to Fordham (29-24) in the Seattle Regional. UW clinched the program’s fourth all-time Pac-12 title with its second-most Conference wins in school history and owned a top-10 ranking in the USA Today/NFCA poll throughout the entire season. Washington makes its 26th all-time appearance in the NCAA Tournament without missing a single postseason bid and is coming off the program’s fifth WCWS Championship Series. Washington is led by two-time defending Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year Sis Bates.
Arizona (42-12, 19-5) earns the No. 6 seed in its 33rd-consecutive appearance in the postseason and hosts Harvard (25-17). The Wildcats opened Pac-12 play with a 16-0 record for their second-best start in Conference history just behind the 1994 (23-0) squad. Arizona is led by five first team All-Conference selections in Reyna Carranco, Jessie Harper, Taylor McQuillin, Dejah Mulipola and Alyssa Palomino.
Arizona State (33-18, 13-11) makes its 31st NCAA Tournament appearance and faces Lipscomb (41-13-1) in the Tuscaloosa Regional. ASU finished fourth in the Pac-12. ASU has now posted 24-straight 30 winning seasons, including the last three under head coach, Trisha Ford. ASU has combined for a nation-leading eight grand slams, including two from Maddi Hackbarth, Morgan Howe and Bella Loomis.
Stanford (32-18, 8-13) rounds out the Conference teams in the NCAA Tournament, facing Boise St. (34-14) in the Gainesville Regional. The Cardinal makes its 17th all-time NCAA appearance and first since 2013. Second-year head coach Jessica Allister led Stanford to eight Conference wins, more than the previous four years combined (7), to earn Pac-12 Coach of the Year honors.
The championship will be three weekends of competition. Regionals for the NCAA Division I Softball Championship will be held May 17-19 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 from May 23-26 on eight campus sites. At each Super Regional 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 to be held May 30- April 5 at USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium - OGE Energy Field in Oklahoma City, Okla.
NCAA Tournament Schedule
Tuscaloosa Regional – May 17-19 at Tuscaloosa, Alabama
ARIZONA STATE (33-18) vs. Lipscomb (41-13-1)
Alabama St. (24-23) vs. No. 8 seed Alabama* (52-7)
Gainesville Regional – May 17-19 at Gainesville, Florida
No. 5 seed Florida* (44-15) vs. Boston U. (37-18)
STANFORD (32-18) vs. Boise St. (34-14)
Seattle Regional – May 17-19 at Seattle, Washington
No. 3 seed WASHINGTON* (45-7) vs. Fordham (29-24)
Mississippi State (33-21) vs. Seattle U. (39-15)
Tucson Regional – May 17-19 at Tucson, Arizona
Auburn (37-19) vs. Colorado St. (38-10)
Harvard (25-17) vs. No. 6 seed ARIZONA* (42-12)
Los Angeles Regional – May 17-19 at Los Angeles, California
Missouri (32-23) vs. Cal St. Fullerton (38-16)
Weber St. (26-19) vs. No. 2 seed UCLA* (46-5)
*Indicates Host Institution