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Eight for OKC: A look at the eight teams with the best shot to make the Women's College World Series

Here’s a look at the eight teams with the best shot to make it to the Women’s College World Series, set for May 29-June 4 at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.
by Scott Wright Modified: May 18, 2014 at 11:17 pm •  Published: May 18, 2014

Sunday brought loads of college softball drama, including multiple walk-off victories in the regional round of the NCAA Softball Championship. Only this weekend’s Super Regionals are left to be settled before the Women’s College World Series returns to Oklahoma City. Here’s a look at the eight teams with the best shot to make it to the Women’s College World Series, set for May 29-June 4 at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium

No. 1 Oregon

Super Regional: vs. No. 16 Minnesota

Road to OKC: The Ducks were hardly tested in regionals, winning their three games by a combined 24-2. Up next is Minnesota, which had to rally past Auburn in the if-necessary game at regionals.

Star player: Courtney Ceo, the Ducks’ third baseman, is third nationally with a .481 batting average, and she has a good glove on the hot corner. She and pitcher Cheridan Hawkins are both national Player of the Year finalists.

WCWS history: Appearances in 1989 and 2012 with a 2-4 overall record.

Cause for concern: Minnesota is battle-tested after a brutal regional as the No. 16 seed. In search of their first WCWS appearance, the Gophers have won 11 of their last 13 games, including the Big Ten Tournament.

No. 2 Alabama

Super Regional: vs. unseeded Nebraska

Road to OKC: Had one of the tougher regionals with unseeded (18th-ranked) South Alabama and now has a scary test ahead in unseeded Nebraska, which upset Missouri on Sunday.

Star player: Pitcher Jaclyn Traina has an ERA of 1.91 and opposing hitters are batting just below .200 against her, while centerfielder Haylie McCleney is batting .462. Both are Player of the Year candidates.

WCWS history: Defeated Oklahoma for the 2012 national title in its only championship series appearance in eight total WCWS trips.

Cause for concern: The Huskers went to the WCWS last year, and pressure didn’t bother them over the weekend. After losing the regional opener, Nebraska won four straight, including two over 15th-seeded host Missouri.

No. 3 UCLA

Super Regional: vs. No. 14 Kentucky

Road to OKC: The Bruins cruised through regional wins over Southern Utah, then Notre Dame twice, without giving up a run. Looking for its first WCWS trip since 2010, UCLA will host Kentucky.

Star player: Ally Carda is one of what seems to be a dying breed — ace pitchers who can hit well, too. Carda has a 1.64 ERA and 31-4 record, to go with a .388 batting average, 13 home runs and 54 RBIs.

WCWS history: UCLA is the author of the WCWS history book, with 11 titles in 19 finals appearances out of 24 WCWS trips overall. That excludes the 1995 title which was vacated.

Cause for concern: One of two super-regional teams that have never been to the WCWS, Kentucky will be ready for its shot against the Bruins. And the Kentucky pitching staff has allowed three runs or fewer in each of the last 15 games.

No. 5 Florida

Super Regional: vs. No. 12 Washington

Road to OKC: The Gators’ regional scores looked more like Florida football scores from the 1940s — 8-0, 14-0, 7-0. Unchallenged by the likes of Stetson and Central Florida, the Gators are ready for a tougher test against Washington.

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by Scott Wright
A lifelong resident of the Oklahoma City metro area, Scott Wright has been on The Oklahoman staff since 2005, covering a little bit of everything on the state's sports scene. He has been a beat writer for football and basketball at Oklahoma and...
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