Tennessee's Kiki Milloy runs to first base during an NCAA college softball game against Campbell on Friday, May 20, 2022, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/John Amis, File)

NCAA Women’s World Series Begins Thursday

Thursday is the start of Softball’s NCAA Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City. The series will run through June 8 or 9, if necessary. There will be two SEC teams, Tennessee and Alabama, as well as Florida State competing in the series. Other teams include Stanford, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Washington and Utah.

The first game of the series begins Thursday at noon with Alabama against Tennessee. Following the game, Oklahoma plays Stanford, Florida State faces Oklahoma State and Washington is up against Utah in Thursday’s final match.

Michelle Smith, a former Oklahoma State softball pitcher and a current ESPN softball analyst, spoke about her take on this upcoming World Series. There is a lot of discussion about Oklahoma taking the title for the second year in a row. They are a put-together team, as many teams in the series are. However, they stand out in their pitching.

One of the things Oklahoma has to worry about during their first game against Stanford is their starting pitcher NiJaree Canady, who has a lot of talent to her. With her power and ability to throw, she can keep Stanford in the running. What makes people assume this will be an easy game for Oklahoma is that Stanford cannot keep up offensively. 

When looking at the other games, Tennessee may have it easier with a fully complete team. Whereas Alabama has to overwork offensively to keep up. Their pitcher Montana Fouts is back after her injury, which helps Alabama not have to work as hard offensively. Tennessee has strong offense, defense and pitching, giving Oklahoma its number one threat in the series.

Looking at Florida State and Oklahoma State, they played each other in the regular season. Florida State ended up losing. However, they also have a strong pitcher, Kathryn Sandercock, that can bring a win. Oklahoma State had its ups and downs throughout the season. Now, they are becoming the unit they need to be.  When looking at this game, it could go either way. It just depends on who does what right.

Finally, Washington and Utah is another game that looks fair and even, with both teams showing potential to move on in the series. Washington and Utah also played earlier in the regular season and tied up.

The first game of the series begins Thursday at noon, with the losers playing each other in a double elimination Friday.

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