After two weeks of NCAA tournament action, it's time for the 2019 Women's College World Series. Fans are descending upon Oklahoma City, the Softball Capital of the World, to see a national champion get crowned.
Here are 11 things to know about the Women's College World Series.
1. Oklahoma is the favorite after tearing through the regular season
The Sooners earned their No. 1 overall seed. They came close to taking down the all-time NCAA DI softball winning streak en route to claiming the Big 12 title.
The Sooners couldn't surpass Arizona's all-time-record 47-game win streak, so they had to settle for second place with 41 consecutive victories. Oklahoma is 54-3, and led by star third-baseman Sydney Romero, have a fearsome lineup that is even scarier than its pitching staff.
2. But several teams could give the Sooners a test
The Sooners didn't have the most wins of any team in the country, and though wins aren't necessarily the best way to measure cross-conference opponents that haven't played the same team, this is one of the only measurements we have.
UCLA comes into the tournament with a 51-6 record, and is one of only three teams to beat Oklahoma this season. Washington is 50-7 and hasn't lost yet in the postseason. Minnesota is finally breaking through. Arizona is a longtime power. All eight teams are in the Women's College World Series for a reason, and each could give Oklahoma an early exit on the right night.
3. Oklahoma City will serve as your host
USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium is where every game will take place.
The stadium has hosted the Women's College World Series every year since 1990, and is scheduled to do so through 2035.
As you might expect, the USA Softball Hall of Fame is right next door. Per Team USA's website:
The National Softball Hall of Fame and Museum is a permanent shrine to former and past players of the sport who have had exceptional careers and have been a major factor in growing the game of softball. The first floor highlights the colorful history of softball on story boards and panels with cases filled with memorabilia of past Hall of Famers. Visitors are also provided a glimpse of softball’s history when it was part of the Olympics. The lower level includes dynamic displays highlighting the NCAA WCWS, the Big 12 Conference and the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Awards. Also on display is a timeline of events, from the game as it was in the early days to the continued growth today.
4. Eight teams enter the Women's College World Series
They are, in seed order:
- No. 1Oklahoma
- No. 2 UCLA
- No. 3 Washington
- No. 5 Florida
- No. 6 Arizona
- No. 7 Minnesota
- No. 8 Alabama
- No. 13 Oklahoma State
2019 WOMEN'S COLLEGE WORLD SERIES: Complete preview, with predictions
5. Everything starts on Thursday, May 30
This is when the first games get underway. Washington vs. Arizona at 12 p.m. ET is the first game, and three other games will stretch the action well into the night.
6. Two losses before the finals gets you a ticket home
The bracket is double-elimination. Losing once bumps you down to the Elimination Bracket. Teams that emerge from the Elimination Bracket to play a team that emerges from the Winners' Bracket must beat the Winners' Bracket team twice in the semifinals.
THE BRACKET: Live results will show up here
7. The field eventually gets whittled down to two teams
Those final two teams play in a best-of-3 series in the Women's College World Series Finals.
8. The tournament will conclude on either June 4 or June 5.
If one team wins the first two games, that's it. The series ends on June 4 with a champion. If the teams split the first two games, Wednesday, June 5 becomes a showdown for the national title.
9. Kelly Barnhill is here. She really does deserve her own bullet point.
Florida's ace has been dominant this season. She's a ridiculous 104-20 in her career. Barnhill struck out 19 batters in 23.1 innings against Tennessee to get here. She was as important a part of the Gators' journey as the walk-off hit that clinched their bid.
Barnhill tied for first in the nation with 14 shutouts, second with 34 wins and third with 349 strikeouts this season. She arrived at Florida after the Gators won back-to-back national championships. A title in her final season would be a fitting exit.
10. Keep an eye on the weather
Open practices on Wednesday were cancelled due to expected inclement weather.
The sun should be out on Thursday, but thunderstorms could come over the weekend.
11. The first night of the Women's College World Series finals will honor an important cause
StrikeOut Cancer Night is Tuesday, June 3:
If you or someone you know is a cancer survivor, we welcome you to be recognized on-field during the game. Please CLICK HERE to register; survivors will receive a pink StrikeOut Cancer t-shirt at the stadium!
All fans are encouraged to show your support by wearing a pink shirt to Monday's game! Fans will also be able to fill out a "I Go To Bat For ____" card as you enter the stadium to hold up during the survivor recognition. Be one of the first 1,000 fans and receive a WCWS pink wristband!
The NCAA is offering a special $5 savings off of the price per ticket for cancer survivors and their family and friends using promo code SOC2019.
For more information on StrikeOut Cancer Night, head over here.