With one week left of Pac-12 competition, the preparation for the 2013 NCAA Women's College World Series is in full swing. Oregon and Arizona State certainly look like competition, as the Ducks jumped two spots to No. 3 for its highest ranking yet this year in the USA Today/NFCA Division 1 Top 25 Poll, and it has only been since 2011 that Arizona State beat SEC rival Florida for the title. The Pac-12 could take it back from the Crimson Tide.
Regarding the tournament, the 64-team NCAA Tournament bracket will be announced on Sunday, May 12 on ESPNU at 7 p.m. Pacific Time.
The following weekend on Thursday-Sunday, May 16-19, 16 NCAA Regional sites will host three-day, four-team, double-elimination play.
Thursday-Sunday, May 23-26, 16 Super Regional sites will host best-of-three, two-day play with every game televised by ESPN networks.
The eight remaining teams then advance to the ESPN-televised Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City, May 30-June 5.
(3) OREGON vs. OREGON STATE: Oregon 2-1, 11-0 (5), 8-0 (5)
Oregon (45-7, 18-3) clinched its first ever Pac-12 regular-season title after sweeping Oregon State (32-20, 7-14) in the Civil War series in its fourth conference sweep of the season. The finale took place on Senior Day. The Ducks are now a perfect 16-0 at Howe Field and a perfect 7-for-7 in conference series wins this season.
"Our ladies really seized the moment," Oregon head coach Mike White said after the sweep. "They stepped up their game and gave us another special memory that we will never forget. OSU is a good team and challenged us, and our players responded and didn't shy away from the pressure. Today was an emotional day and we embraced it and seized the opportunity."
All-American senior Jessica Moore (24-3) tossed her third shutout of the season. Moore was one off her season-high with nine strikeouts in five innings. Moore allowed just two hits and walked one in her 10th complete game of the year. She holds records in wins (97), strikeouts (875), innings (862) and appearances (168). With 24 wins thus far, she is tied for fourth on the Oregon all-time season list and matched her sophomore season tally from 2011.
"I was so excited and relieved after the game," Moore said. "We had been thinking about this weekend all season long, so it's a relief. We knew what we were capable of back in the fall, and have embraced the challenge. Today, I took it pitch by pitch and did my best to help the team.
"Today was such a great day," Moore added. "To win it this way at home, in front of our fans, parents and friends made it even more special."
"Jess has been our rock for four years and carried this team when we needed it," White said. "Last postseason and this year, the team has continued to step up and raise its game."
Oregon scored all eight runs in the third inning against OSU senior Tina Andreana (9-6) and then replacement Marina Demore.
"Winning a Pac-12 title is not easy," White said. "so when we add that sign to the center field wall it will mean a lot to the fans, the university and a lot of alumni. This was another big step for the program, and now we have bigger things ahead at ASU next weekend and the postseason."
Next, Oregon will finish its regular-season at Arizona State May 9-11.
Oregon State will host UCLA in its regular-season finale May 9-11.
ARIZONA vs. (5) ARIZONA STATE: Arizona 10-9, 6-4, ASU 7-6
Arizona (30-23, 7-14) came clawing back from a losing streak to defeat in-state rival Arizona State (43-9, 14-7).
The Wildcats earned two come-from-behind wins in the first two games. Arizona was down eight in the bottom of the third of game one when Chelsea Goodacre (3-for-4, 2 R, 5 RBI) hit a pair of two-run homers and Hallie Wilson hit a two-out single in the seventh to propel Arizona. Chelsea Suitos finished 3-for-4 with three runs and two RBI, while Kelsey Rodriguez was 2-for-4 with two runs. In game two, the Cats, behind four in the fifth, tallied the final six runs for the win, including Mandie Perez's three-run homer in the sixth. The finale was again a late game changer as Arizona State earned four runs in the seventh to win 7-6. Haley Steele led with two runs and was 2-for-4.
Against Arizona State's Mackenzie Popescue in all three games, Arizona totaled 10 hits and six earned runs. In games one and three with Dallas Escobedo on the mound, Arizona nabbed 16 hits and nine earned runs.
Next, Arizona will play at Stanford May 9-11 in its regular-season finale.
Arizona State will host Oregon in its regular-season finale May 9-11.
(12) WASHINGTON vs. UTAH: Utah 2-1, Washington 11-8, 12-3 (5)
Utah (24-29-1, 7-17) pulled off a 2-1 upset in game one, but Washington (36-14, 14-7) hammered the Utes in the final two to win the series.
Washington's Hooch Fagaly hit a solo homer in the first, but with the game tied 1-all in the bottom of the seventh, Utah's Marissa Mendenhall hit a walk-off double to score Jackie Sweet from third and give the Utes its final Pac-12 win of the season.
In game two, it was tied 5-all in the third until a three-run inning for Washington in the fourth started with a triple by Victoria Hayward (2-for-4, 4 R). Utah tallied one more in the fourth and two in the fifth, but Washington scored two in the fifth and one in the seventh. Fagaly was 1-for-2 with three runs, Kylee Lahners was 3-for-3 with 2 RBI and Shawna Wright finished 3-for-5 with 1 RBI. Kaitlin Inglesby earned her 20th win of the season, her second 20-win season in three years, striking out five in five innings of relief.
Lahners (1-for-2, 3 R, 3 RBI) hit a three-run homer in the third inning of the finale, helping finish off Utah, adding to UW's three runs in the first and six in the second. Pitcher Bryana Walker (14-7) held Utah to just three hits.
Next, Washington will close its regular-season against California May 9-11.
Utah finished Pac-12 play, but will compete at non-conference BYU for a single-game on May 11.
(13) STANFORD vs. (17) CALIFORNIA: Stanford 13-5, 17-2 (5), 7-5
Stanford (35-17, 12-9) earned its first-ever sweep of struggling California (35-15, 9-12), which is without its ace All-American senior pitcher Jolene Henderson. The senior went down with a leg injury in Cal's series against Oregon State April 19-21 after making a seemingly simple throw to first. Cal has lost its last seven games and dropped five in the rankings.
Stanford's Jenna Rich set an RBI career record in game one after hitting her 43rd career home run, a three-run homer, to notch 204 RBI. Rich finished 3-for-5 with one run and four RBI. Cal scored first with one run in the bottom of the first, but Stanford tallied five in the third, two in the fourth, one in the fifth and five in the seventh. Kayla Bonstrom was 1-for-2 with two RBI and a team-leading three runs.
The Cardinal marked a season-high 17 hits in game two and their 15-run win is the biggest margin of victory over the Golden Bears in school history. Freshman thrower Kelsey Stevens pitched a one-hitter and matched her career high with 12 strikeouts while Bonstrom (4-for-5, 4 R, 4 RBI) and Hanna Winter (4-for-5, 2 R, 2 RBI) led the Cardinal. Cal's Britt Vonk and Lindsey Ziegenhirt each scored.
Stevens (14-7) added seven strikeouts in the finale in her ninth complete game of the season. Rich (3-for-4) led with four of Stanford's six RBI, hit a double, and a two-run bomb in the top of the first for her team-leading 11th homer of the season for second all-time. Danielle Henderson (2-for-4, 1 R, 3 RBI) led for Cal and hit her ninth home run of the year.
Cal split between pitchers Nisa Ontiveros, Nikki Owens, Taylor Lee and Vanessa Alvarez.
Next, Stanford will host non-conference Santa Clara on May 7 before closing out Pac-12 play against Arizona May 9-11.
California will end its regular-season at Washington May 9-11.
(15) UCLA (35-17, 8-13) hosted non-conference teams Loyola Marymount on May 1 and CSU Bakersfield for a doubleheader on May 4. UCLA won 8-4, 14-0 (5) and 8-0 (5), respectively.
Next, UCLA will finish its regular season at Oregon State May 9-11.