Three Pac-12 softball teams are set for the 2022 Women's College World Series
SAN FRANCISCO - Three Pac-12 softball teams are set to begin their quest for the 2022 NCAA Championship as the Women's College World Series (WCWS) begins Thursday, June 2, which features No. 5 seeded UCLA, Arizona and Oregon State.
Three of the eight teams who have advanced to the WCWS will be represented by the Pac-12 Conference, which is tied for the most of any conference in the nation (Big 12). The Conference has now had at least three-or-more teams advance to the WCWS for the 21st time in Pac-12 history. Eight teams will compete in two separate brackets, in a double elimination format at the USA Softball Hall of Fame Complex in Oklahoma City. In the first bracket, No. 5 UCLA will join No. 1 Oklahoma, No. 9 Northwestern and Texas. While in the second bracket, Arizona and Oregon State will join Florida and No. 7 Oklahoma State.
NEW ERA, SAME RESULTS: In her the first year at the helm for Arizona (38-20, 8-16 Pac-12), head coach Caitlin Lowe leads the Wildcats back to familiar territory after an up and down season where Arizona began the season as top-10 ranked team, and was also voted to finish tied for third in the Conference by Pac-12 coaches. The Wildcats ultimately began Conference play with an 0-8 record and finished the regular season tied for last place in the Pac-12 (8-16), while also finishing outside the top-25 in the national rankings. Even after a rocky season, Arizona is heading to its 25th Women's College World Series and for the third-straight season after sweeping the Columbia Regional and Starkville Super Regional. Since 1988 (NCAA Tournament expansion), Caitlin Lowe is the only coach to lead its team to the WCWS in their first year as a head coach at any level, while also being the first-ever woman to accomplish this feat in WCWS history. Arizona is having an historic postseason run as the Wildcats are the only team in the Super Regional era to go undefeated on the road in postseason play. Arizona will begin the World Series by facing No. 7 Oklahoma State on Thursday, June 2 at 6:30 p.m., which will be televised on ESPN. The Wildcats hold the advantage over the Cowgirls in the all-time series between the two programs with a 20-10 record (5-2 in postseason play). The last time the two teams met in the WCWS was in 1998, when Arizona beat Oklahoma State twice to advance to the championship game.
DEFYING THE ODDS: Oregon State (39-20, 9-15 Pac-12) is making their first appearance in the WCWS since 2006 and their second trip all-time in program history. For the first time in the Super Regionals era, the Beavers are one of the three unseeded teams that have advanced to the 2022 World Series. Oregon State will open WCWS play against No. 14 Florida (48-17, 13-11 SEC) on Thursday, June 2, which will air on ESPN. This will be the fourth meeting between the two programs, as Florida currently holds the advantage with a 3-0 record. The Beavers look to continue to defy the odds, as Oregon State has won 6 out of their 7 postseason games, and is currently riding a five game winning streak. During their postseason run, the Beavers have defeated Ohio State, No. 11 Tennessee and swept Conference foe, Stanford, in the Super Regionals to make it to the World Series. Oregon State currently has 39 wins on the season, the most under head coach Laura Berg and the most in a single-season for the Beavers since 2007 (41-23), as they will have the opportunity to top that during the Women's College World Series.
THE BRUINS ARE BACK, AGAIN: No. 5 UCLA is set for their NCAA-record 31st WCWS appearance after going unbeaten (5-0) so far in postseason play. The Bruins have defeated Grand Canyon (12-1), LMU (7-1), Ole Miss (9-1) and swept No. 12 Duke (3-2, 8-2) in the Super Regionals en route to the 2022 World Series. The Bruins have traditionally been one of most historic teams in NCAA history, as UCLA currently has the most NCAA Tournament wins (237), WCWS wins (104), and NCAA Championships (12) out of any team in the nation. They return to familiar territory, as the Bruins will go after their 13th NCAA title. UCLA is the only program to win an NCAA Championship in every decade since 1982. No. 5 UCLA (48-8, 19-5 Pac-12) will begin the 2022 World Series against Texas (43-19-1, 12-6 Big 12) on Thursday, June 2 at 9 a.m. PT, which will be televised on ESPN. The Bruins hold the advantage in the all-time series with the Longhorns (12-6, 4-0 in WCWS), with the last meeting between the two programs coming earlier this season at the St. Pete/Clearwater Elite Invitational, where UCLA defeated Texas (2-1). The Bruins will be led by their dynamic duo on the mound in Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year Megan Faraimo and All Pac-12 First Team honoree Holly Azevedo, who have both notched at least 20 wins on the season. They have combined to go 44-4 this season, as they are the first pair to both reach 20 wins in a single-season in the last 20 years for UCLA. This is now the ninth time in program history where a pair of Bruin pitchers have accomplished this feat.
2022 NFCA DI ALL-AMERICA TEAMS (Complete List)
|Cydney Sanders||At-Large-1B||Arizona State|
|Yannira Acuña||OF||Arizona State|
|Gabbie Plain||At-Large- P||Washington|
|Mariah Mazon||P||Oregon State|
OLYMPIANS MADE HERE: The Pac-12 boasted 20 Olympians on the rosters of five different countries at last summer’s Tokyo Games, including eight of the 15 on Team USA. Returning Olympians on campus this season include Arizona's Giulia Koutsoyanopulos (Italy), Washington's Gabbie Plain (Australia) and Oregon State's Tarni Stepto (Australia).
Oregon State head coach Laura Berg and Washington head coach Heather Tarr were Team USA assistants in Tokyo and in October, Tarr was named the new leader of the 2022 U.S. National Team. Since becoming UW's head coach in 2005, Tarr has become the winningest coach of any sport in Huskies' history.
WCWS UPCOMING SCHEDULE (Full Schedule)
|Thursday, June 2|
|Texas vs. No. 5 UCLA||ESPN||9 a.m. PT|
|Florida vs. Oregon State||ESPN||4 p.m. PT|
|Oklahoma State vs. Arizona||ESPN||6:30 p.m. PT|
CONFERENCE STANDINGS (Expanded Standings)
|Teams||Pac-12 Record||Overall Record|