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Pac-12 Softball: Top 4 Seeds, Including Cal And ASU, Advance to Semis

The top four seeds survived in double-elimination over the first two days of June and will be playing in the semi-finals on Sunday for a shot at the Women’s College Series World title.

Six games were played over Friday and Saturday. No. 1 California fell 3-0 to No. 4 Oklahoma on Friday before doubling No. 11 Oregon 6-3 late Saturday night. Oregon beat No. 7 Tennessee 3-1 early on Saturday in elimination to move on to game 10 against Cal, where they ultimately lost. No. 3 Arizona State lost 2-1 to No. 2 Alabama on Friday before shutting out LSU 6-0 on Saturday.

Alabama and Oklahoma won their first two games to reach the semis.

Oregon finished its 2012 season with an overall record of 45-18. The Ducks earned their first WCWS win in 23 years after taking down Tennessee 3-1 early Saturday.

Semi-Final Schedule: Sunday, June 3
1 p.m. ET No. 3 Arizona State (53-10) vs. No. 4 Oklahoma (52-8) (in-progress)
3:30 p.m. ET No. 1 California (58-6) vs. No. 2 Alabama (57-7)

No. 1 California 6, No. 11 Oregon 3: June 2

In an elimination game, California junior Jolene Henderson (38-3), Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year, struck out nine Oregon Ducks to help her Golden Bears defeat Oregon 6-3 and move on to the semi-finals on Sunday. Henderson allowed just three earned runs on six hits and two walks. It wasn’t all Henderson’s performance on the mound either – it was also Cal’s bats, with the Golden Bears smacking two home runs on the night.

Cal’s Jace Williams (1 HR, 3 RBI’s) started with a three-run homer to center in the top of the first frame against Oregon junior Jessica Moore (33-15) to put Cal’s first runs on the board. Britt Vonk began with a single, Frani Echavarria walked and on a wild pitch the girls advanced to third and second, respectively. Then on a 2-2 count with two outs Williams rocketed her eighth home run of the year.

In the next inning the Bears increased their lead to 5-0 when, again on two outs, Vonk doubled to right to plate Danielle Henderson and Jamia Reid.

The Ducks scored their first run of the game against Henderson in the bottom of the third. Samantha Pappas hit her second homer of the day – her first in Oregon’s win over Tennessee – with a solo shot.

After Cal’s Victoria Jones hit her third homer of the season in the top of the fourth to put the score at 6-1 in Cal’s favor, Oregon added two more runs.

The Ducks loaded the bases with a single, a hit-by-pitch and a walk before Sara Goodrum singled to deep left to score Kailie Cuico and Christie Nieto. Lindsey Chambers then popped out to Williams at second, Williams’ throw back to Jones in the infield went wild and Alexa Peterson ran home but was tagged at the plate by Jones’s reach to end the inning and ultimately the threat.

"I think the play of the game that just kind of showed the heart of this team was the play that Victoria made at home getting the runner out at home plate," said Cal head coach Diane Ninemire. "Jolene did a great job tonight. We had great timely hits tonight."

"We got off to a slow start," Oregon head coach Mike White said, "but we didn't give up -- that's been our forte all year. We had a chance to do some real damage in the sixth, but [Cal] got a fortunate bounce to help their catcher make a great play to help stop our rally."

On the mound for Oregon, Moore tossed the first five innings, striking out five, walking two and allowing eight hits. Five of her six runs allowed were earned. Freshman Karissa Hovinga came in for relief in her second postseason appearance and struck out two and allowed no hits or runs in the final two innings of the game.

"We weathered a lot of ups and downs this season," Moore said, "and some of the adverse conditions from the games at Texas last weekend helped prepare us for the World Series. After we lost the first game Thursday, we came back ready to fight today."

"Jess put everything she could out there," White said. "Cal came out ready to swing the bats, and took advantage of some mistakes to get out to an early lead. I was real happy the way Karissa Hovinga came in and picked her up at the end. She gave our team a shot to try and come back.

"I'm really hoping that our team has learned a lot of things from this experience," White continued. "The city of Oklahoma City was a wonderful host and [has] always done a fantastic job. I know my team loved every minute of the trip and we can't wait to get back here."

Cal needs to beat Alabama in game 12 on Sunday. If they do they’ll play the "if necessary" game after with the winner advancing to the championship series.

No. 3 Arizona State 6, LSU 0: June 2

The defending National Champion Arizona State Sun Devils scared their fans after falling 2-1 to Alabama on Friday, but they came back with six runs against LSU (40-25) in an elimination game to move onward.

"We take great pride that one through nine are all complete players," Arizona State head coach Clint Myers said. "I believe that this is a team and you have a different hero each night. They pull for each other."

Alix Johnson (1 HR, 3 RBI) knocked in her 13th homer of the season in the top of the third to give Arizona State a 3-0 lead after an Elizabeth Caporuscio lead-off single and a Katelyn Boyd bunt single.

"I was looking for [the outside pitch]," Johnson said. "It makes it a lot easier when you are focused in on one side of the plate and you’re expecting that pitch to be there. It was a good pitch to hit and thankfully I hit it out."

LSU had a chance in the bottom of the fourth when Simone Heyward reached third after a one-out bunt single, a ground out and an illegal pitch by ASU’s Hillary Bach, but the Tigers recorded a second and third out to end the frame.

Two innings later in the top of the fifth the Sun Devils added three to hold a cushy 6-0 advantage. Arizona State loaded the bases against LSU’s Rachele Fico and Brittany Mack came on for relief. But, Sam Parlich singled to left to bring home the two lead runners and everyone advanced a base on an LSU outfield throwing error.

On the mound for Arizona State, Bach (22-1) tossed a complete game and earned two strikeouts while allowing just four hits and one walk.

Fico (20-13) took the loss. She threw 4.2 innings, allowing six earned runs on seven hits, while tossing two strikeouts. Mack pitched 2.1 innings and had two hits and one strikeout.

Arizona State needs to beat Oklahoma on Sunday in game 11. If they do they’ll play the "if necessary" game at 7 p.m. ET, with the winner advancing to the championship series.