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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

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.

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