Pac-12 Softball Weekly Rundown – May 16, 2024 


Seven Pac-12 teams are represented in the latest USA Today/NFCA Top-25 poll: No. 6 UCLA, No. 8 Stanford, No. 13 Washington, No. 17 Arizona, and No. 21 California, while Oregon and Utah are receiving votes.

Stanford’s NiJaree Canady and UCLA’s Maya Brady are among the 10 finalists for USA Softball’s Collegiate Player of the Year. A Pac-12 player has won this award six times: UCLA’s Rachel Garcia – 2019 & 2018; Stanford’s Ashley Hansen – 2011; Washington’s Danielle Lawrie – 2010 & 2009 and UCLA’s Stacey Nuveman – 2002. Canady leads all 10 finalists with a 7.25 WAR, per 643 Charts.

The Pac-12 showcases seven teams in the 2024 NCAA Division I Softball Tournament. It’s the 28th-straight season that the Pac-12 has had five or more teams advance to the NCAA Tournament, and the second time in the last three seasons the Conference has had seven teams earn bids (also 2022).

No. 6 seed UCLA (37-10), who earned the Conference’s automatic bid after winning the Pac-12 Tournament over Utah this past Saturday, is hosting its 10th straight NCAA Regional and making its tournament-record 39th NCAA Tournament appearance. The Bruins open up play against Grand Canyon for the second consecutive NCAA postseason, looking for redemption from their 3-2 loss to the Antelopes a season ago. UCLA is eying its 12th NCAA Super Regional appearance.

No. 8 Seed Stanford (43-13) is making its 21st NCAA Tournament appearance and is hosting a NCAA Regional for the second consecutive season. The Cardinal is set to face WCC Champion Saint Mary’s in Friday’s opener, and topped the Gaels, 9-4 on the road earlier this season for its seventh win in the last eight opportunities against Saint Mary’s. 

Arizona (34-16-1) is set to take on Big East Tournament Champion Villanova in the Fayetteville Regional, with Friday’s contest marking the first-ever meeting between these two teams. The Wildcats are in the NCAA Tournament for the 36th time in program history and boast a 184-67 all-time record in the event. Arizona has advanced out of 32 of the 35 regionals since 1987 and owns an 101-12 record in the round overall. The Wildcats have moved on to the super regional round in 16 of the 17 seasons since they began in 2005.

Making its 34th NCAA Tournament appearance, California (36-17) heads to the Baton Rouge Regional to face Southern Illinois on Friday. The Golden Bears rank 11th nationally with 1.45 homers per game, and lead the Pac-12 with 77 home runs this season. Cal is 3-0 all-time against Southern Illinois, having last faced the Salukis on March 12, 2006.

Oregon (28-19) is making its 24th NCAA Tournament appearance, and beginning action on Friday against Boston University in the Normal Regional. The Ducks, who have never faced Boston U or Cleveland State before, have squared off against host Oklahoma 16 times, including four games in the NCAA Tournament. The Ducks finished fourth in the Pac-12 after going 13-10 in league action this season, winning five Pac-12 series and recording six NFCA top-25 wins in Conference play. 

Representing the league in the Durham Regional, Utah (34-20) i will take on South Carolina on Friday. The Utes fell to the Gamecocks, 9-1 at the Puerto Vallarta Challenge back in February in the lone matchup between these two programs. Utah reached the Women’s College World Series in 2023 and is making consecutive NCAA appearances for the first time since 2016-17.

Washington (31-13) earned its 12th consecutive NCAA Tournament bid, and its 30th overall, and enters the event with the fourth-most NCAA Tournament wins ever at 134. The Huskies are set to face Indiana in the Columbia Regional having won two of three all-time against the Hoosiers. Washington went 18-2 in regular-season non-conference action this year, with both its losses coming to NFCA top-10 teams, and rattled off 10 victories over NFCA top-25 opponents in 2024. 

Quick Hits 

  • The Pac-12 (.753) has the third-highest non-conference regular-season Division I winning percentage among all other leagues, trailing just the SEC (.853) and the Big 12 (.778).
  • Arizona’s Regan Shockey, who was named to the Tucci/NFCA Division I Freshman of the Year Top 10 List, ranks third in the Pac-12 with a .413 batting average.
  • Arizona (.330 & .982) and Washington (.322 & .980) are two of four NCAA DI teams to post a team batting average of .320 or better while also boasting a fielding percentage of at least .980, showcasing dominance both offensively and defensively.
    • The other teams are Boston U (.325 &.981) and Oklahoma (.367 & .980).
  • Pac-12 batting average leaders: No. 9 in NCAA DI: Utah’s Abby Dayton – .438; No. 25 Oregon’s Kai Luschar – .423; No. 39 Arizona’s Shockey – .413; No. 42 Utah’s Haley Denning – .411; No. 24 Cal’s Tatum Anzaldo – .408.
    • Utah is one of five teams nationally to have multiple players rank in the top-45 in batting average (also North Carolina – 2; Oklahoma – 4; Texas – 3; Virginia Tech – 2).
  • Utah’s Mariah Lopez leads the Pac-12 and ranks 26th nationally with 18 complete games.
    • Lopez’s 42 appearances this season are the second most in the Conference, and her 138 career appearances are the 27th most among active NCAA DI players.
  • Cal’s Elon Butler and Lagi Quiroga are tied for the Conference lead in home runs with 16.
    • California is one of five NCAA DI teams from Power 5 Leagues to have two players with 16-or-more home runs this season (also Georgia, Georgia Tech, Oklahoma and Virginia Tech).
    • Quiroga ranks third nationally among all freshmen in homers.
  • Washington’s Rylee HoltorfBrooke Nelson and Ruby Meylan each earned All-Pac-12 First Team honors, marking the 14th straight season the Huskies have placed two or more players on that list.
  • Luschar’s .423 batting average is currently the eighth highest in Oregon single-season history, and her 27 stolen bases are tied for the ninth most.
    • Luschar also currently ranks second in Duck career history with a .398 career batting average. 
  • Stanford’s Canady ranks in the top-five nationally in a variety of statistical categories:
    • ERA No. 1 – 0.50
    • Strikeouts: No. 2 – 256
    • Strikeout-to-walk ratio: No. 4 – 8.36
    • Strikeouts per seven: No. 2 – 10.6
  • UCLA’s Brady’s 69 career home runs are tied for the fourth-most among active NCAA DI players, while Sharlize Palacios’ 64 are the 10th most.
  • Oregon boasts a 60-24 all-time record in the NCAA Tournament Regional round.

Rankings Rundown 

  • USA Today/NFCA Top 25 Poll:No. 6 UCLA, No. 8 Stanford, No. 13 Washington, No. 17 Arizona, and No. 21 California. Oregon and Utah are receiving votes.
  • D1Softball: No. 5 UCLA, No. 6 Stanford, No. 14 Washington, No. 16 Arizona, No. 22 Oregon and No. 24 California.
  • Softball America: No. 6 UCLA, No. 7 Stanford, No. 15 Washington, and No. 22 Arizona.
  • Softball: No. 6 UCLA, No. 8 Stanford, No. 15 Washington, No. 19 Arizona, No. 22 Oregon and RV California.
  • NCAA RPI Rankings (through 5/11): No. 5 Stanford, No. 10 UCLA, No. 21 Arizona, No. 22 California, No. 26 Washington, No. 31 Oregon, No. 39 Utah, No. 78 Oregon State and No. 85 Arizona State.

Conference Notebook

  • Arizona:The Wildcats showcase one of the best defenses in the nation, posting a .982 fielding percentage which is the second-best mark in NCAA DI. This mark is currently tied for the second highest in program history (also 2021), trailing .985 which was set last season.
  • California: Tatum Anzaldo is hitting .488 (43-for-88) with 22 runs scored, 15 RBI and 12 extra-base hits over her last 25 games. The infielder is hitting a career-high .408 on the year, the fifth-highest mark in the Pac-12, and her .369 career batting average is currently tied for the third best in Cal history.
  • Oregon: Ariel Carlson is one of two NCAA DI players (also Marist’s Miah McDonald) to have at least 13 doubles, 15 home runs, and 17 stolen bases this season. Carlson ranks in the top five in the Pac-12 in each of these categories. The outfielder enters the NCAA Tournament on a six-game hitting streak.
  • Stanford: The Cardinal is putting together a stellar season both offensively and defensively. Stanford’s .447 slugging percentage is the fifth highest in program history, its 50 homers are the third most in a season, its 1.68 ETA is tied for the seventh best, and its 406 strikeouts are the seventh most.
  • UCLAKatilyn Terry’s six shutouts on the year are tied for the 21st-most nationally and are the third most among NCAA DI freshmen. Terry has started each of UCLA’s last six games, tallying 25 strikeouts over 37 innings pitched for a 2.27 ERA, and the Bruins are a perfect 6-0 in those contests. 
  • Utah: The Utes have won 13 of their last 16 games, with five of those victories coming against NFCA top-25 teams. The Utes have recorded 10 wins over their last 14 postseason games (Pac-12 and NCAA Tournaments).
  • Washington: The Huskies rank second in the league with a .322 team batting average, and are led by Nelson’s .345 and Holtorf’s .340 marks. Washington is 19-1 when hitting .333 or better in a game this season.

Additions & Returners

  • Every Pac-12 program was ranked in the top-45 of Extra Inning Softball’s 2023 team recruiting rankings: No. 7 Washington, No. 8 UCLA, No. 9 Arizona, No. 13 Oregon, No. 31 Stanford, No. 33 Arizona State, No. 34 California, No. 44 Oregon State, No. 45 Utah.
  • The Pac-12 returns 12 First-Team All-Conference members from a season ago: Tatum Anzaldo (CAL); Aliya Belarde (UTAH), Brady (UCLA), NiJaree Canady, (STAN), Abby Dayton (UTAH), Megan Grant (UCLA), Dakota Kennedy (ARIZ), Mariah Lopez (UTAH), River Mahler (STAN), Ruby Meylan (WASH), Allie Skaggs (ARIZ) and Jordan Woolery (UCLA).
  • Six 2023 NFCA All-Americans will suit up for Pac-12 teams this year: Brady, Grant, Taryn Kern, Lopez, Woolery & Meylan.
    • Stanford added 2023 NFCA Second Team All-American Kern this offseason, who transferred in from Indiana.

PowHER of the PAC

  • All nine Pac-12 softball programs are led by female head coaches.
  • Six of nine are leading their alma maters: Jessica Allister, STAN; Amy Hogue, UTAH; Kelly Inouye-Perez, UCLA; Caitlin Lowe, ARIZ; Chelsea Spencer, CAL; Heather Tarr, WASH.

Preseason Coaches Poll

  • Stanford received seven first-place votes and 63 total points to finish atop the 2024 preseason coaches poll for the first time in Pac-12 history. Reigning regular-season champion UCLA was second with 54 points, while Utah came in third with 49 points and one first-place vote. Washington grabbed the remaining first-place vote and 45 points to finish fourth. 2023 Pac-12 Player of the Year and Batting Champion Brady of UCLA headlined the 20-member Preseason All-Pac-12 Team. 

Historically Speaking

  • The nation’s most successful softball conference, Pac-12 programs have combined to win 24 of the 41 NCAA softball championships all-time, 17 more than the next closest league, and all nine Pac-12 teams have made appearances in the Women’s College World Series. Of the 13 different programs to have won an NCAA softball championship, five are from the Pac-12: UCLA (12), Arizona (8), Arizona State (2), California (1) and Washington (1). The Pac-12 sent six teams to the NCAA Tournament a season ago, with three teams advancing to the Women’s College World Series, the most of any other conference. 

2024 NCAA Tournament Schedule (subject to change) 

DateTimeMatchupHow to WatchTalent
Fri., May 179a PT / 10a MTRV Utah vs. RV South Carolina 
Durham Regional
ESPN+Pam Ward, Jenny Dalton-Hill
 12p PT / 1p MTNo. 13 Washington vs. Indiana 
Columbia Regional
ESPN+Chuckie Kempf, Monica Abbott
 12:30p PT / 1:30p MTNo. 21 California vs. Southern Illinois 
Baton Rouge Regional
ESPN+Kevin Fitzgerald, Aleshia Ocasio
 2:30p PT / 3:30p MTRV Oregon vs. No. 22 Boston University 
Norman Regional
ESPN+Roy Philpott, Jennie Ritter
 3p PT / 4p MTNo. 17 Arizona vs. Villanova 
Fayetteville Regional
ESPN+Noah Reed, Raine Wilson
 5:30p PT / 6:30p MTRV Grand Canyon at No. 6 UCLA 
Los Angeles Regional
ESPN+Courtney Lyle, Danielle Lowrie
 7p PT / 8p MTSaint Mary’s at No. 8 Stanford 
Stanford Regional
ESPN2Mike Couzens, Kenzie Fowler

Pac-12 Standings (Full Standings)

No. 6 UCLA17-4-037-10-0
No. 8 Stanford17-7-043-13-0
No.13 Washington13-10-031-13-0
RV Oregon13-10-028-19-0
No. 17 Arizona13-11-034-16-1
RV Utah10-13-034-20-0
No. 21 California9-13-036-17-0
Oregon State9-15-021-29-0
Arizona State3-21-020-31-0

Pac-12 Softball Weekly Awards

Feb. 12Ariel Carlson, ORENiJaree Canady, STANJadyn Glab, WASH
Feb. 19Elon Butler, CALRuby Meylan, WASHRegan Shockey, ARIZ
Feb. 26Maya Brady, UCLATaylor Tinsley, UCLARegan Shockey, ARIZ
March 4Jillian Celis, WASHNiJaree Canady, STANAva Gall, STAN
March 11Maya Brady, UCLANiJaree Canady, STANPaige Doerr, OSU
March 18Sharlize Palacios, UCLARegan Krause, STANKaitlyn Terry, UCLA
March 25Acacia Anders, CALMorgan Scott, OREKaitlyn Terry, UCLA
April 1Rylee Holtorf, WASHNiJaree Canady, STANSidne Peters, WASH
April 8Aliya Belarde, UTAHLogan Hulon, OSURegan Shockey, ARIZ
April 15Olivia DiNardo, ARIZMariah Lopez, UTAHAva Gall, STAN
April 22Kaiah Altmeyer, ARIZTaylor Tinsley, UCLARegan Shockey, ARIZ
April 29Sharlize Palacios, UCLANiJaree Canady, STANShonty Passi, UTAH
May 6Maya Brady, UCLARegan Krause, STANLagi Quiroga, CAL

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