Women's College World Series Breakdown

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Women's College World Series Breakdown

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More so this year, the Women’s College World Series holds significance to Oklahoma City. As the region struggles to recover from the devastating tornado that hit Moore, an OKC suburb, on May 20, seven teams will descend on the nation’s heartland to decide the NCAA Division I championship. The eighth team, Oklahoma, qualified for the World Series and serves as unofficial host. This year’s World Series field features plenty of competition, many teams having endured rough roads themselves to reach the final round of eight. After the regionals and super regionals, we are now down to the national field. It’s time to crown a winner for 2013.


#14 Nebraska

Nebraska was the last team to reach the round of eight, having defeated Oregon 4-2 to take the three-game regional two games to one. The Cornhuskers (45-14 overall) are led by home-run hitters Taylor and Tatum Edwards, who combined for 22 round-trippers entering May 25. Alicia Armstrong and Brooke Thomason sport averages well above .300. Tatum Edwards also serves as Nebraska’s top pitcher, even with a high 129 walks. Emily Lockman is a decent pitcher in her own right, with a sub-2.00 earned run average. Oregon was one of the top teams in the nation, so Nebraska should be a formidable foe in its own right thanks to its win over the Ducks.


#11 Washington

One of two Pacific-12 Conference foes to qualify for the World Series, Washington swept Missouri in two games to become the first 2013 qualifier. The Huskies make their 11th appearance in the World Series in school history, this time with a 43-15 overall record. Outfielder Victoria Hayward had all the offensive firepower in the 1-0 shutout with two hits. Kaitlin Inglesby and Hooch Figaly carry strong batting averages and home-run power into the World Series, although Kylie Lahners isn’t bad either. Inglesby and Bryana Walker are the team’s top pitcher, and Walker has nearly 200 strikeouts to help her Huskies as they enter familiar territory.


#7 Tennessee

Tennessee (49-10) became the first Southeastern Conference qualifier when it swept SEC rival Alabama in two games to take the super-regional title.  Raven Chavanne is a huge reason why the Volunteers are series-bound, as she sports a .468 batting average and 39 stolen bases. Lauren Gibson has blasted 18 home runs this year with a .407 average, and Madison Shipman and Cheyenne Tarango also sport double-digit homer power. Ivy Renfroe and Ellen Renfroe have a combined 323 strikeouts between them and the pitching staff has a 1.80 earned run average. This is Tennessee’s sixth trip to the World Series, all of them coming since 2005.


#2 Florida

The other SEC qualifier, Florida (57-7), is in the World Series for the fifth time in the last six years after a two-game sweep of UAB in its super regional. The solid pitching of Hannah Rogers (33-5, 1.48 ERA, 238 strikeouts) and Lauren Haeger (15-2, 2.31, 111 K’s) has helped the Gators to success once again this season, and the good news is Florida is 21-9 against Tennessee, its first-round opponent. Haeger (.335-18-70) is a deadly threat to hit homers and drive in runs, and leading hitter Kelsey Stewart (.386, 36 stolen bases) is a big threat to steal bases and hit runners around. With three double-digit homerun hitters and plenty of speed, the Gators will be a big threat.


#5 Arizona State

Arizona State (50-10) defeated Kentucky to reach the World Series for the 11th time in school history, thanks to a two-run Haley Steele homer that helped the Sun Devils to a 5-2 win and a sweep of the Wildcats. Dallas Escobedo (30-4, 2.16) limited opponents to 64 walks this season, and her 317 strikeouts easily led the team. Mackenzie Propescue (19-6, 2.02) is no slouch either, thanks to 11 complete games and five shutouts. Cheyenne Coyle (.367-20-66) and Amber Freeman (.369-18-61) are two potent powers in the ASU lineup, but Alix Johnson and Bailey Wigness have ten steals or more so there is a speed element to the A-State game.


#4 Texas

Although it seems like Texas (49-8) is perennially at the World Series, the reality is the Longhorns are making the trip for the first time since 2006. This is the third-most successful season in school history in terms of victories, behind the 55 wins in 2006 and the 50 wins in 2002. Texas swept Florida State to qualify for the World Series. If your first name is Taylor, chances are you hit homers on this team. Ask Taylor Thom (15 homers) and Taylor Hoagland (14). The power drops off after that, but the speed takes over. There are four players with 20 steals or more, led by Brejae Washington’s 31 thefts. Add the pitching of Blaire Luna (30-5, 1.16 ERA, 384 K’s) and Kim Bruins (10-0, 1.57) and this is a potent team.


#8 Michigan

Michigan (50-11) needed three games to hold off a pesky Louisiana-Lafayette squad bound and determined to pull off the upset. This is its 10th trip to the World Series but the first one for the Wolverines since 2009. Sierra Romero (.383-22-69) is a freshman who possesses a wicked bat, and Ashley Lane (.371-18-60) isn’t too far behind. Nine full-time players boast averages of .300 or more, so there isn’t a weak link in the lineup. Sara Driesenga (30-7, 1.75, 234 K’s) has been a dominant force for the Wolverines in two seasons of pitching, and this year Haylie Wagner (19-3, 2.50) provided plenty of help. Look out for Michigan, which could cause some damage.


#1 Oklahoma

Host Oklahoma (52-4) is in the World Series for the third year in a row after having not qualified since 2004. Keilani Ricketts is a big reason why the Sooners are doing so well, as she has 16 shutouts. Entering the super regional round, Ricketts had a 29-1 record, 1.21 ERA and 291 strikeouts. Combine that with Michelle Gascoinge’s incredible 198 strikeouts and 29 walks and you understand why a lot of teams have fallen prey to the Sooners. Lauren Chamberlain (.459-27-77) possesses a deadly bat, as does Shelby Pendley (.371-20-67). Oklahoma is 18-2 in games played at home, which could make the Sooners a prohibitive favorite for the championship.


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