The Women’s College World Series is down to two teams vying for the national title: Oklahoma and Auburn.
Here’s how both teams got to the three-game Championship Series.
The Sooners entered its 10th WCWS with a 52-7 overall record and a 17-1 record in Big 12-Conference play.
The No. 3-seeded Sooners shut out the No. 6 seed, Alabama, 3-0 in extra innings last Friday in the first-round of the double-elimination tournament. All three Oklahoma runs came in the eighth inning. The next day, Oklahoma defeated the highest-seeded team in the WCWS, No. 2-seeded Michigan, 7-5. The Sooners scored three runs in the first inning, and despite scares from the Wolverines in the fourth and seventh innings, Oklahoma did not relinquish its lead.
On Sunday, Oklahoma faced the No. 10-seeded LSU Tigers. For the Tigers to advance to the championship, they would need to win two straight games over Oklahoma. The Sooners got out to a 3-0 lead after three innings, mostly aided by four LSU errors. But the Tigers struck back in the third inning with three runs, all of which came on a home run. With the game tied 3-3, the Sooners scored three runs in the next inning and added one run in the sixth to win 7-3 and advance to the WCWS Championship Series.
This year’s WCWS appearance is only the second in Auburn softball history, with last year being the first. The Tigers entered the WCWS with a 54-10 overall record after going 16-7 as the champions in the SEC.
The No. 4-seeded Tigers defeated the No. 12-seeded UCLA Bruins 10-3 on Thursday in the first-round. Despite only getting one hit in the first inning, the Tigers scored five runs in the inning due to four hit by pitches, one walk and one error. Two days later, Auburn narrowly defeated the No. 16 seed, Georgia, 4-3. The Tigers were losing 3-1 entering the seventh inning and were two outs away from being bumped into the loser’s bracket. Three hits and three runs later, Auburn found itself one win away from the Championship Series.
On Sunday, Auburn faced the No. 8-seeded Florida State Seminoles. A back and forth game saw 11 runs scored in the first four innings, with the Tigers owning a 7-4 lead. Auburn took that lead into the last inning, but the Seminoles scored three runs, all of which came on a home run, to tie the game. The game went into extra innings, and the Tigers won 8-7 on a walk-off, fielder’s choice ground-out to advance to the WCWS Championship Series.
Oklahoma vs. Auburn Preview
Oklahoma is eager to win its second WCWS title in the last four years—and it’s third overall (2000, 2013)—while Auburn is in search of its first ever title. Auburn takes a 57-10 record into the three-game series, while Oklahoma owns a 55-7 record. The Sooners take a 30-game winning streak into the Championship Series, as their last loss came on April 2. The two teams have not played each other yet this season.
Game 1 is set for tonight at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN, while Game 2 is Tuesday, also at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN. If the two teams split the first two games, they will face off in a winner-takes-all game Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN.
Softball Factory Alumnae
Three alumnae are representing Softball Factory in this year’s WCWS Championship Series.
In her first year of collegiate softball, Fale Aviu (’15) is the No. 5 hitter for the Sooners and was one of the top hitters in the Big 12 Conference.
Entering the Championship Series, the freshman outfielder has started in 58 of 62 games for the Sooners. She ended the regular season in the top 10 in the conference in batting average (.364) while serving as the Sooners’ designated player. Aviu has smacked eight doubles and eight home runs in 165 plate appearances, while driving in 48 runs, which is second best on the team.
So far in eight postseason games for the Sooners, Aviu is 8-for-23 with four runs scored, four RBI and a double. Despite only recording one hit in the first three games of the WCWS, she showed her abilities to reach base, as the freshman reached base in all three games. Overall in the WCWS, Aviu is 1-for-8 with two walks, a hit-by-pitch and an RBI.
Softball Factory saw Aviu at a November 2014 Under Armour Softball Factory National Tryout in Fresno, CA.
Another Oklahoma Sooner, Lea Wodach (’14), is in her second season as a contributor for the perennial Big 12-champion Sooners.
After spending her freshman season as a part-time catcher, Wodach is the primary catcher for the Sooners this season and has 11 doubles and seven home runs on the season.
In the first eight games of the Sooners’ postseason, Wodach is 6-for-25 with a double, a triple and five RBI. In the first three games of the WCWS, Wodach also only had one hit in the three games, but that hit sparked a rally for the Sooners in their win Sunday over LSU. After LSU scored three runs to tie the game in the third inning, Kady Self led off the next inning for Oklahoma with a walk. Wodach then laid down a bunt, which she beat out for a hit. The bunt sparked a rally for the Sooners, as they went on to score three runs in the inning and win the game to advance to the Championship Series.
Softball Factory coaches saw Wodach at the Ryan Lemmon Softball Showcase in June 2011.
Hope Smith (’15) appeared in eight games for the Tigers and scored four runs as a pinch runner.
The freshman outfielder has not appeared in a game in the WCWS for the Tigers.
Softball Factory coaches saw her at the 2014 Under Armour Softball Factory 18U Summer Showcase.