The Huskies and Ducks are evenly matched in what will likely be a closely-contested game on Thursday as both teams open Women’s College World Series play
For just the ninth time in Pac-12 history, a record-tying eight Pac-12 softball teams made the NCAA softball tournament this year.
The sixth-seeded UW Huskies (48-12) already dispatched with one conference opponent when they beat out Utah for a spot in the Women’s College World Series.
On Thursday (4 p.m. P.T., ESPN2), they’ll set their sights on vanquishing another Pac-12 foe: No. 3 seed Oregon (52-6), a team the Huskies beat twice in a three-game series in Eugene in April.
Having to eliminate a conference opponent to advance in the World Series is somewhat bittersweet, but ultimately, it speaks to the high level of softball competition within the conference, say the Huskies and Ducks.
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“I think it’s something that you’d like to avoid if you could,” Oregon softball coach Mike White said at a press conference in Oklahoma City on Wednesday afternoon. “But I know in September at the Pac-12 coaches meetings, we really, as a group, wanted to see more Pac-12 teams back at the Women’s College World Series.”
This year, for the first time since 2012, three Pac-12 softball teams have played themselves into the eight-team WCWS field.
UCLA, which opens WCWS play Thursday against LSU, was the Pac-12’s sole representative in the WCWS last season.
“It’s exciting for our conference to have more than one or two teams here for sure, and having be in three of the eight is great for our conference, and hopefully we can represent well,” White said.
Added UW softball coach Heather Tarr, “It’s awesome to see the greatness kind of rise to the top, and eventually you’re going to run into each other if you’re doing a good job.”
Playing a conference opponent makes the pre-game scout a little easier, and…