Softball WCWS Opening Round Breakdowns


For the third time in history all top eight national seeds have advanced to Oklahoma City for the 2018 Women’s College World Series. Despite the lack of upsets, the Super Regional round had its share of drama as the Florida-Texas A&M series was epic. Both the Gators and Aggies traded punches back and forth against each other. Jordan Matthews hit a walk-off three-run homerun in the bottom of the seventh inning of game three to send Florida back to Oklahoma City. The Pac-12 leads the way with four teams in the Women’s College World Series as Oregon, UCLA, Washington, and Arizona State held serve at home and punched their tickets to Oklahoma City. Oklahoma will be looking to three-peat. The Sooners are rolling offensively but will see the quality of opposing pitching go up significantly this week starting with their opening round matchup with the Huskies.


#1 Oregon vs. #8 Arizona State

For the Ducks, they had their backs against the wall against Kentucky in the Super Regional after losing game one to the Wildcats 9-6. Head Coach Mike White went to Miranda Elish in the circle for games two and three. Elish was dominant, the bats settled in nicely and Oregon moved on in three games. Head Coach Trisha Ford has developed this Sun Devils squad over the course of the season as they have gotten better and better offensively, which will make them even more dangerous against the Ducks. These two teams met in Tempe earlier this season with Oregon taking two of three against Arizona State as the Ducks punished the Sun Devils for defensive mistakes and hit eight homeruns in their two wins. It will be crucial for both teams to keep the ball in the ballpark and not make crushing defensive mistakes. Megan Kleist or Elish should give Oregon a quality performance and keep the game low scoring and G Juarez for Arizona State should be able to contain the Ducks. First team to three runs in this game should advance on to Friday night and the winners bracket.


#4 Oklahoma vs. #5 Washington

These two teams met in the 2017 Women’s College World Series with Oklahoma outlasting Washington 3-1 with Paige Parker and Taran Alvelo putting together a nice pitcher’s duel. The Sooners are explosive offensively as their lineup is as deep ever. Pitching to freshman Jocelyn Alo is going to be an interesting challenge for the Huskies because you must wonder if they are going to intentionally walk her in key situations to avoid giving up the catastrophic three-run homerun. Washington advanced to its 13th Women’s College World Series after sweeping Alabama in two games and have a pitching duo in Alvelo and Gabbie Plain who can go to toe to toe with anyone in the nation. Taylor Van Zee, Sis Bates, Julia DePonte, and Kristyn Thomas set the tone for an offensive lineup that has the capability to score runs in bunches on a given day. It will be interesting to see if head coach Heather Tarr goes with Plain against Oklahoma as its harder for opponents to elevate the ball against her. Look for another 3-1 low scoring type of affair between these two teams on Thursday.


#3 UCLA vs. #6 Florida State

UCLA took care of Arizona in two games to return to Oklahoma City once again. The Bruins have a loaded offensive lineup led by Aaliyah Jordan, who is having an outstanding freshman season. Rachel Garcia is going to have to lead the way for UCLA in the circle and Garcia can put the Bruins on her back and carry them if necessary. Florida State had to grind out a tough three-game series win in the Tallahassee Super Regional against LSU to get back to Oklahoma City this season after being upset by the Tigers in 2017. Jessie Warren leads a very explosive lineup for the Seminoles as Warren is hitting .386 with 19 homeruns and 66 runs batted in on the season. Sydney Sherill and Carsyn Gordon are also very dangerous hitters for Florida State as this duo has combined for 21 homeruns and 99 runs batted in so far this season. This game should have a fair amount of offense in it as both teams are in a nice rhythm at the plate.


#2 Florida vs. #7 Georgia

Georgia should not lack for confidence heading into this rematch with Florida. The Bulldogs took two of three from the Gators, including a dominating 11-1 win in game two to clinch the regular season series win. Florida is battle tested after the Super Regional with Texas A&M and have a 1-2 punch in the circle in Kelly Barnhill and Aleshia Ocasio that will give them a great chance to win a national championship. Amanda Lorenz went 5 for 6 at the plate and drew five very timely walks this past weekend. Lorenz is the 2018 SEC Player of the Year and she will need to have that type of performance in this game against Georgia if the Gators are to advance to the Friday night winner’s bracket round. For the Bulldogs, it will be up the offense to carry the way in Oklahoma City to take the pressure off Mary Wilson Avant and Kylie Bass in the circle. Cortni Emanuel brings the speed with 51 stolen bases and a .437 batting average, while Alyssa DiCarlo brings the power with 20 homeruns along with Alysen Febrey and Justice Milz. Look for a down to the wire one or two run game between these two teams that could potentially go extra innings.


NCAA Tournament Central