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.
Star player: Kelsey Stewart leads the offense in nearly every major category, with the exception of home runs and RBIs. She’s batting .430 with 89 hits and 33 stolen bases in 59 games.
WCWS history: Runner-up finishes in 2009 and 2011 with five total WCWS appearances. Lost to Arizona State in 2011 and to this week’s opponent, Washington, in 2009.
Cause for concern: The Huskies aren’t new kids on the block. They’ve been to the WCWS 11 times, and four times since 2007, with several players back from last year’s WCWS team.
No. 7 Oklahoma
Super Regional: vs. No. 10 Tennessee
Road to OKC: Rallied past Texas A&M in the first meeting, then poured on the offense in the regional final to advance without a loss. Up next is the same team the Sooners beat in the WCWS championship series a year ago.
Star player: Though Lauren Chamberlain has re-emerged lately in an injury-plagued season, Shelby Pendley has anchored the middle of the OU lineup and shown improved defensive play at third base.
WCWS history: National titles in 2000 and 2013, and a runner-up in 2012 among the Sooners’ eight WCWS appearances.
Cause for concern: Tennessee was the preseason No. 1 behind pitcher Ellen Renfroe and the Vols’ offense is on fire, with 26 runs scored in three regional games. Shortstop Madison Shipman is one of the nation’s best players, both offensively and defensively.
No. 8 Florida State
Super Regional: vs. Michigan
Road to OKC: Needed a pair of hard-fought wins over South Florida, including an 11-inning duel, but managed to stay unbeaten in regional play. Michigan might be unseeded, but will provide a formidable super-regional test.
Star player: The Seminoles have a potent lineup, led by Maddie O’Brien with 23 home runs, and perhaps the country’s best pitcher, Lacey Waldrop with an ERA below 1.00.
WCWS history: FSU has been to the WCWS seven times, but not since 2004. The first five appearances were 1993 and before.
Cause for concern: Not only does Michigan have one of the country’s best players in shortstop Sierra Romero, the Wolverines come in flying high after a dramatic 5-4 win at Arizona State in the regional final.
No. 11 Arizona
Super Regional: at No. 6 Louisiana-Lafayette
Road to OKC: The Wildcats were pushed to the brink of elimination by LSU and now must go to Louisiana-Lafayette. Arizona is 7-8 on the road this season.
Star player: Junior catcher Chelsea Goodacre is among the national leaders in home runs (22) and RBIs (70).
WCWS history: Eight national championships and five runner-up finishes among 22 WCWS appearances (none since 2010).
Cause for concern: Louisiana-Lafayette might not sound like a frightening opponent, but the Cajuns are for real. They’ve been to the WCWS twice since 2003 and the super-regional round isn’t a new experience. Plus, they’ve won 47 games.
No. 4 Georgia
Super Regional: vs. No. 13 Baylor
Road to OKC: After an early loss to North Carolina State, Georgia bounced back with three straight wins — two over NC State — to win their regional. Baylor brings a balanced offensive attack and solid pitching.
Star player: Sophomore third baseman Alex Hugo, a transfer from Kansas, is tied for the national lead in home runs with 23, along with 62 RBIs and a .344 batting average.
WCWS history: Only appearances were back-to-back in 2009-10, reaching the semifinals both years.
Cause for concern: Baylor pitcher Whitney Canion has a 1.36 earned-run average with 283 strikeouts in 226 2/3 innings. She has allowed only eight home runs and opponents are batting .177 over 809 at-bats.