Women's College World Series: Previewing The Rest Of The Field

Wednesday, May 29th 2013, 5:29 pm
By: News 9

The Oklahoma Sooners are the unquestioned favorites going into the 2013 Women's College World Series, but there are plenty of teams capable of getting in the way of the Sooners on their way to a national championship.

Here's a look at the other seven teams in the field this year.

No. 2- Florida Gators (57-7)

Didn't play against Oklahoma this season

How they got to OKC: Swept Gainesville Regional, defeating Hampton and South Florida x 2; swept UAB in Super Regionals

Key Batters: Kelsey Stewart- .386 batting average, 36-for-39 on stolen bases; Lauren Haeger- .335 batting average, 18 HR, 70 RBI; Stephanie Tofft- .333 batting average, 51 RBI

Pitchers: Hannah Rogers- 1.48 ERA, 33-5 record, Haeger- 2.31 ERA, 15-2 record

The Gators are a power hitting team and very aggressive on the base paths. This is Florida's fifth trip to Oklahoma City in the last six seasons; the Gators missed the WCWS last season. While Haeger is an excellent pitcher, the Gators will most likely depend on Rogers in the circle throughout the tournament.

No. 4- Texas Longhorns (49-8)

Lost season series to OU, 1-2 on April 19-21

How they got to OKC: Swept Austin regional, defeating Army and South Carolina x 2; swept Florida State in Super Regionals

Key Batters: Taylor Hoagland- .433 batting average, .844 slugging percentage, 14 HR, 27-for-34 on stolen bases; Brejae Washington- .388 batting average, 31-for-35 on stolen bases; Taylor Thom- .388 batting average, 15 HR, 65 RBI, .725 slugging percentage, 21-for-24 on stolen bases

Pitchers: Blaire Luna- 1.16 ERA, 30-5 record, 384 strikeouts (2nd in country), Kim Bruins, 1.57 ERA, 10-0 in 17 appearances

Luna is statistically the hardest pitcher to hit in Oklahoma City, giving up just 3.1 hits per seven innings. She has an excellent offense behind her that has stolen more bases than any other team in the World Series field. There's plenty of talent here, but the Longhorns didn't get any favors on their side of the bracket.

No. 5- Arizona State Sun Devils (50-10)

Didn't play Oklahoma this season

How they got to OKC: Swept Tempe Regional, defeating San Jose State and Georgia x 2; swept Kentucky in Super Regionals

Key Batters: Bailey Wigness- .375 batting average, 14-for-17 on stolen bases; Amber Freeman- .369 batting average, 18 HR, 61 RBI; Cheyenne Coyle- .367 batting average, 20 HR, 66 RBI

Pitchers: Dallas Escobedo- 2.16 ERA, 30-4 record; Mackenzie Popescue- 2.02 ERA, 19-6 record

Escobedo led the Sun Devils to the national championship in 2011 as a freshman. Now a junior, she's still a dominant ace, but at times can be erratic. She's given up 37 home runs this season, an eye-popping number for a pitcher of her caliber. There's plenty of offense behind her (.332 team average and 94 HR), but her performance in the circle will be the difference.

No. 7- Tennessee Volunteers (49-10)

Didn't play Oklahoma this season

How they got to OKC: Swept Knoxville Regional, defeating Longwood and NC State x 2; swept defending national champion Alabama in Super Regionals

Key Batters: Raven Chavanne- .468 batting average, 39-for-40 on stolen bases; Lauren Gibson- .407 batting average, .820 slugging percentage, 18 HR, 66 RBI; Madison Shipman- .380 batting average, 10 HR, 60 RBI

Pitchers: Ivy Renfroe- 1.71 ERA, 21-4 record; Ellen Renfroe- 1.83 ERA, 17-4 record

Chavanne was the lone USA Softball Player of the Year finalist not from Oklahoma while Gibson won the SEC Player of the Year. The Vols, like their SEC counterpart Florida, are very active on the base paths. Their first round matchup with the Gators should be fantastic, as all three games the two teams played this season went to extra innings.

No. 8- Michigan Wolverines (50-11)

Didn't play Oklahoma this season

How they got to OKC: Swept Ann Arbor Regional, defeating Valparaiso and California x 2; defeated Louisiana-Lafayette, 2-1, in Super Regionals

Key Batters: Caitlin Blanchard- .387 batting average, 46 RBI; Sierra Romero- .383 batting average, .846 slugging percentage, 22 HR, 69 RBI; Ashley Lane- .371 batting average, 18 HR, 60 RBI

Pitchers: Sara Driesenga- 1.75 ERA, 30-7 record; Haylie Wagner- 2.50 ERA, 19-3 record

Michigan easily has the toughest draw, facing two of the top contenders right off the bat. The margin for error will be miniscule and considering the Wolverines committed 74 errors this season, that's not ideal. The pitching rotation will be interesting, as Wagner was going to start the Super Regionals before being scratched with an injury. Either way, we'll probably see Wagner as well as Driesenga in OKC.

No. 11- Washington Huskies (43-15)

Lost to Oklahoma, 2-0, in the Campbell Cartier Classic Feb. 16

How they got to OKC: Swept Seattle Regional, defeating Portland State and Hawaii x 2; swept Missouri on the road in Super Regionals

Key Batters: Victoria Hayward- .380 batting average, 21-for-23 on stolen bases, Kaitlin Inglesby- .361 batting average, 11 HR, 60 RBI; Hooch Fagaly- .348 batting average, 10 HR

Pitchers: Inglesby- 1.87 ERA, 22-7 record; Bryana Walker- 2.81 ERA, 19-7 record

The Huskies play great defense and that will come in handy since their pitching rotation isn't as dominant as other teams in OKC. However, the Huskies have rotated Inglesby and Bryana Walker all postseason long, so it will be interesting to see if that trend continues or if one pitcher will get the nod at the World Series.

No. 14- Nebraska Cornhuskers (45-14)

1-2 vs. Oklahoma in 2013, including a 1-0 win in Norman on March 2

How they got to OKC: Swept Lincoln Regional, defeating Northern Iowa and Stanford x 2; defeated No. 3 seed Oregon on road, 2-1, in Super Regionals

Key Batters: Alicia Armstrong- .347 batting average; Brooke Thomason- .335 batting average, nine HR; Taylor Edwards- .322 batting average, 12 HR

Pitchers: Tatum Edwards- 1.81 ERA, 30-9 record; Emily Lockman- 1.74 ERA, 15-5 record

Nebraska boasts one of two shutouts of Oklahoma this season and the Huskers did it with Lockman (a freshman) in the circle. The Huskers need to continue to produce runs, as they are one of two WCWS teams not hitting .300 or better as a team. The Huskers do have a great infield behind Edwards in Lockman, having turned 48 double plays this season. No other team in the field has turned 30.