softball-d1 flag

Michella Chester | NCAA.com | May 31, 2022

The 2022 Women's College World Series, previewed

The 2022 Women's College World Series, previewed

The time has come. The 2022 Women's College World Series is upon us, and we have a record-breaking year. Three unseeded teams have advanced to the WCWS this year, and No. 3 Virginia Tech, No. 4 Arkansas and No. 6 Alabama were knocked out of the tournament. We have just one SEC team, Florida, still in the tournament, and so much parity. If the amount of upsets we had in the super regionals told us anything, it's that we are going to have a fun WCWS this season. 

WCWS: Scores, schedule, TV times for college softball championship

Here are the eight teams remaining: 

No. 1 Oklahoma
No. 5 UCLA 
No. 7 Oklahoma State
No. 9 Northwestern
No. 14 Florida
Texas
Arizona
Oregon State

Now let's go a little more in-depth. Here is what you should know about each and every team, and how they punched their tickets to OKC: 

No. 1 Oklahoma

How they got here and what to know:

It can sometimes feel repetitive when talking about the Sooners. The reigning national champions returned this season with an even stronger squad than last year. They returned the most explosive offense in the history of softball, led by the home run queen Jocelyn Alo, and paired it up with a pitching staff that could be considered even more dangerous. Jordy Bahl led the staff all season as a freshman that clearly was born for the big stage. She is joined by Hope Trautwein, who owns a nation-leading 0.40 ERA (you read that right), and Nicole May, who helped them win a title last season. The pitching staff also leads the nation in ERA, considering Bahl has a 0.95 ERA and May has a 0.99 ERA. It is crazy how good they are. You can only say so much about this team, and they were only beaten twice this season. Never twice by the same team, though, which is what you would have to do to take down the Sooners and win the WCWS. OU cruised by UCF in the super regionals and will be back looking to repeat. Typically, that would be a mighty task. Repeating a national title is not a walk in the park, but it is SO very possible for the Sooners. 

WCWS outlook: 

The Sooners will have No. 9 Northwestern up first in Game 1 of the WCWS. This is actually a good matchup, considering the offense will have to go up against an incredible pitcher in Danielle Williams. The winner of that game will face the winner of UCLA-Texas. Two intriguing options. If they win and UCLA wins, we get a rematch of the 2019 national title — which because of the Covid-19 pandemic, will feature a lot of the same players, and again a strong Bruins pitching staff to face OU's lineup. If it's Texas, the Sooners will have to face one of the two teams that beat them once this season, and Hailey Dolcini. Dolcini, somehow, someway, quieted the Sooners' offense. She blanked OU for 6.1 innings with three strikeouts and just two hits allowed. 

So the biggest question marks. Can anyone beat them twice? Can they repeat the title? Can Jocelyn Alo end her storied career with another national title? Alo is up for National Player of the Year again. The last time the reigning USA Softball Player of the Year won a national title in her final collegiate game was in 2015.

No. 5 UCLA

How they got here and what to know:

The UCLA Bruins, like I mentioned above, have almost all of the same players that won the 2019 national title. Names like Kinsley Washington, who hit the walk-off to win it, Maya Brady, Briana Perez, Aaliyah Jordan, and more. This is a very experienced group, led by Delanie Wisz offensively who bats .407 with 14 bombs this season. She too had so many clutch moments in the super regionals, including a two-double, three-RBI performance in the Bruins' first 3-2 win over Duke. They took down the Blue Devils again in the second game with an 8-2 rout to advance to OKC. This team is led in the circle by Megan Faraimo and Holly Azevedo, who are the first 20-win Bruin duo since 2002. Although the UCLA offense has put its pitching staff in some tight situations this season, they have come alive in the postseason. With both parts of the engine working like this, this team is dangerous.  

WCWS outlook: 

The Bruins will have Texas first in Game 1 of the week. In fact, the very first game of the week. The Longhorns are hot and playing with nothing to lose, so it could be a battle. Then they could face the winner or loser of Oklahoma vs. Northwestern. Megan Faraimo has made it back to the WCWS after having to miss last season due to an injury, so it will be exciting to see her on the big stage.

No. 7 Oklahoma State

How they got here and what to know:

Oklahoma State is looking strong heading into the WCWS. They were the first team to advance to OKC with two wins over Clemson in the super regionals. Kelly Maxwell is the Cowgirls' ace, and she has been steady all season. She was joined by Miranda Elish this season, a two-way talent. But Elish has an ongoing injury that is limiting her to just hitting, right now. Still, she is a force at the plate with the second-best average on the team and seven homers. With Elish out of the mix in the circle, Morgan Day will likely pick up her innings in OKC. She has got the win in game 2 of the super regionals, and also came in the game in relief when OK State beat Oklahoma in the Big 12 championship. She shut the Sooners down in the second half of the inning to seal the victory in OK State's first Big 12 title. The Cowgirls became the second team to beat OU this season, although they were swept in the Bedlam series just a few weeks prior. This team also has three power hitters with Sydney Pennington, Julia Cottrill and Cheyenne Factor. 

WCWS outlook:

OSU will face Arizona in Game 1 of the WCWS. If the Cowgirls are able to win that game, they would then face the winner of Oregon State and No. 14 Florida. The bottom half of the bracket has two out of the three unseeded teams in the tournament. 

No. 9 Northwestern

How they got here and what to know: 

Northwestern had to battle it out with No. 8 Arizona State for a spot in the WCWS. With the Game 3 win, they punched their ticket to OKC for the first time since 2007, and became the only Big Ten team to advance this season. The series against ASU was perhaps the most interesting of all the supers. The first game was an 11-inning dog fight until the very end. Hannah Cady launched a one-run homer in the seventh to tie the game up at three, and then the Wildcats won in walk-off fashion in the 11th on an unearned run. They lost Game 2 in extra innings, again, before taking down ASU in Game 3. Danielle Williams is the star of the show. She pitched 23 of 26 possible innings in the super, and pitches the largest percentage of innings for her team than any other pitcher at the WCWS. The unanimous Big Ten Pitcher of the Year is fourth in the NCAA in strikeouts and will be an integral part of Northwestern's success in OKC. Rachel Lewis is another big name to know. She is known for her power, with 22 homers on the year. 

WCWS outlook: 

The Wildcats have a tough, tough task to open the WCWS, with a date with the No. 1 Sooners. Williams will be put to the test right away with the strongest offense the field has to offer. Nothing is impossible, though. After all, the Sooners lost to an unseeded James Madison last season and had to play out of the elimination bracket to make it back to the championship series. 

No. 14 Florida

How they got here and what to know: 

The Gators pulled off a major upset over No. 3 Virginia Tech in the super regionals to advance to the WCWS. They came back from dropping the first game of the series to win the next two with two offensive explosions. An 8-2 win and then a 12-0 shutout. This Gators' offense has been on fire in the postseason, accounting for 47 runs in five postseason wins. Freshman Kendra Falby and Skylar Wallace have been consistent at the plate all season long, but they alongside Charla Echols and Cheyenne Factor were on fire in the supers. Not to mention Hannah Adams, a strong leader who has made this team so much better since her return from injury. They have been on the rise since the second she returned. The Gators scored 12 runs on 13 hits against Virginia Tech, notably one of the best pitching staffs in the nation, led by Keely Rochard. If this offense stays hot, they are going to be tough to beat. They already proved they can rake against one of the toughest pitchers all season long. Plus, this super regional win was the first time Florida won on the road. The crowd didn't bother them then, so the big stage at OKC likely won't either. 

WCWS outlook: 

The Gators will have Oregon State in Game 1 of the WCWS. If they win, they will face the winner of No. 7 Oklahoma State vs. Arizona. An Oklahoma State — Florida matchup would be an incredible battle between Kelly Maxwell and the Gator offense. 

Texas

How they got here and what to know: 

The Longhorns also pulled off an incredible upset in the supers after dropping Game 1 of the series. Texas took down the reigning two-time SEC champions and a total favorite for the WCWS — No. 4 Arkansas. This team certainly had their struggles this season, but they also had some incredibly big moments. They are no stranger to taking down top dog teams. They beat Oklahoma in the regular season, for one, and then took down No. 13 Washington and Arkansas in the postseason. Hailey Dolcini got the win in Game 2 against Arkansas and has been a warrior this entire postseason. She is THE name to know when it comes to Texas, but I can think of another one that you absolutely can't miss: Jane Jefferson. Jefferson not only hits .431 at the plate, but she also executes Sports Center Top 10 plays in the field. She is a superstar for this Texas team. 

WCWS outlook: 

The Longhorns have the UCLA Bruins up first, an offense that has been hot as of late and a strong pitching staff. Getting past them would mean another Oklahoma matchup or a date with Northwestern. 

Oregon State

How they got here and what to know: 

Oregon State certainly defied odds to make it to the WCWS, after finishing sixth in the Pac-12 this season. They took down No. 11 Tennessee, though, in the regionals and then punched their ticket to OKC with two wins over Stanford, a team they had already faced in the regular season. Mariah Mazon is a two-way talent that has been driving their success in the postseason. In the regional finals, she got the win in the circle in Game 1 vs. Tennessee, then hit a two-run shot in the deciding game to send the Beavers to the Supers for the first time since 2006. Then in Game 1 of the super regionals, she punched out 11 batters in the win,  Frankie Hammoude and Kiki Escobar join her in leading the offense, and Hammoude has 15 homers on the year as well. 

WCWS outlook: 

Oregon State will face No. 14 Florida in Game 1 of the WCWS. Once the Beavers are past that, they could either face Arizona or Oklahoma State. They are awfully familiar with the fellow Pac-12 Wildcats, and won two out of three against them in the regular-season series. 

Arizona

How they got here and what to know:

Here is another team that defied the odds. Caitlin Lowe took over the head coaching position for the Wildcats after legendary coach Mike Candrea retired. In her first season with the Wildcats, they advanced to the WCWS after just barely making the tournament in the first place. An incredible turnaround story. 

Not only that, but they are the only unseeded team in history to go undefeated on the road on the way to the WCWS (in the Super Regional era). They posted two shutouts over No. 15 Missouri and then two wins over Mississippi State in the supers to advance. Hannah Bowen is their ace in the circle, and Janelle Meono got hot at the plate in the supers for Arizona. Allie Skaggs has a big power bat for the Wildcats with 24 homers on the season. 

WCWS outlook

The Wildcats will have No. 7 Oklahoma State up first in OKC. Then they could face Oregon State, a fellow Pac-12 team, or Florida out of the SEC. Lowe is certainly familiar with the OKC stage, having won a national title as a player in 2006 and 2007. 

Oklahoma sweeps Texas to win the 2022 Women's College World Series

Oklahoma beat Texas in dominating fashion to sweep the Longhorns in the WCWS championship series.
READ MORE

Oklahoma sweeps Texas in dominant fashion to win back-to-back WCWS national titles

Oklahoma downed Texas 10-5 in Game 2 of the WCWS national championship series to clinch its second consecutive national title. Jocelyn Alo won the 2022 WCWS Most Outstanding Player award.
READ MORE

Oklahoma crushes Texas to start Women's College World Series finals, sets home run record

Oklahoma set a WCWS record with six home runs to rout rival Texas 16-1 and move one win away from their second consecutive title and sixth overall. Jocelyn Alo hit two homers in the blowout.
READ MORE

Subscribe To Email Updates

Enter your information to receive emails about offers, promotions from NCAA.com and our partners