2010 Women's College World Series Preview

Samantha Cooke@sportycookieCorrespondent IJune 1, 2010

The field is officially set. There are eight teams headed to Oklahoma City to battle it out for the 2010 Softball National Championship.

The Women's College World Series begins on Thursday. It will end either Tuesday or Wednesday with the crowning of a new National Champion.

Who will it be? Here is a look at all the teams and what they need to do to win.


No. 16 Hawaii

First appearance in WCWS

14-12 against teams in the tournament

Super Regional: Defeated No. 1 Alabama 2-1.

The Rainbow Wahine were mercied in the first game against Alabama 8-0. They only managed two hits.

In Game Two, Hawaii fought back to win 8-7. They faced three pitchers and managed nine hits with four earned runs. Hawaii scored five runs in the second inning, highlighted by Jessica Iwata's grand slam.

In Game Three, Hawaii was the home team. With two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning, Junior Jenna Rodriguez hit her second homerun of the game off Kelsi Dunne. The two-run walk off homerun propelled the Rainbow Wahine into the WCWS.


Keys To Winning  

1. Hawaii has to keep hitting.

They lead the country in home runs this season and need to keep hitting them in the postseason. Stephanie Ricketts needs to be healthy. The pitchers need to step up and keep Missouri off balance.

2. Hawaii needs to keep Rhea Taylor off base.

She is a distraction and can create runs for Missouri.


No. 9 Missouri

Fifth trip to WCWS—second consecutive

16-11 against teams in the tournament

Super Regional: Defeated Oregon 2-0.

The Tigers scored one unearned run in the first game to defeat the Ducks. The only score came off a throwing error by the Oregon third baseman. Missouri only managed four hits.

In Game Two, Missouri bounced back. They saw four Oregon pitchers, managing 10 hits and one home run. They only scored five earned runs, despite winning 7-2.


Keys To Winning

1. Missouri needs to get Rhea Taylor on base.

Taylor rattles the defense and creates runs. Taylor has speed and can steal at any moment.

2. Keep errors to a minimum.

Hawaii can hit and they do damage against the Missouri pitchers. Missouri needs to make sure they don't give Hawaii any extra outs.


No. 4 Florida

Second consecutive year in WCWS—lost to Washington in title series last year

19-7 against teams in the tournament

Super Regional: Defeated Arizona State 2-0.

Florida scored six runs in the bottom of the fifth inning of Game One to mercy ASU 8-0. The Gators had a triple and two home runs that inning. Pitcher Stephanie Brombacher gave up only four hits.

In Game Two, the Gators had six hits and two home runs off Megan Elliot. Brombacher gave up seven hits and struck out two, but kept the ASU hitters off balance.


Keys To Winning

1. The Gators need to score early and often against UCLA.

UCLA is powerful and can score in bunches. Stephanie Brombacher needs to keep UCLA off the bases. They string hits together and make things happen on base.


No. 5 UCLA

24th appearance in WCWS—last title in 2004

17-9 against teams in the tournament

Super Regional: Defeated Louisiana-Lafayette 2-0.

UCLA gave up four hits in Game One, but three were to Vallie Gaspard. They did a nice job shutting down the Ragun Cajuns.

The Bruins had 12 hits in the game. They scored seven in the second inning, sending 12 batters to the plate.

In Game Two, UCLA mercied Lafayette again. The pitchers gave up four hits and no earned runs. The Bruins had 11 hits in the game. They again had a big inning, scoring seven in the fifth inning, highlighted by Samantha Camuso's grand slam.


Keys To Winning

1. UCLA needs to keep up the momentum and keep scoring.

Both offenses are potent and will try to outscore each other. UCLA needs to focus on stringing hits together rather than hitting homeruns.

2. Make Brombacher work.

UCLA needs to work Brombacher who is known to have a problem with illegal pitches. The further they work her deep in the count the more likely she is to make a mistake.


No. 15 Tennessee

Fourth trip to WCWS—3-0 in opening round games

16-11 against teams in the tournament

Super Regional: Defeated Michigan 2-0

In Game One, Tennessee took advantage of Michigan errors to win 5-0 even though they only scored two earned runs. Freshman Ivy Renfroe did not give up a hit until the seventh inning.

Tennessee had five hits, including two home runs in Game Two. Cat Hosfeld started, giving up four hits. Renfroe came on in relief and got Roya St. Clair to line out with bases loaded in the seventh inning.


Keys To Winning

1. Attack the Arizona pitchers

Make their defense work and put the pressure on the defense. Arizona's defense has been shaky at times.

2. Support your freshman pitcher

Arizona will attack the ball from the start. Tennessee has one of the best defenses in the country. They need to be solid to take pressure off Renfroe.


No. 10 Arizona

22nd appearance in WCWS—last title in 2007

18-11 against teams in the tournament

Super Regional: Defeated BYU 2-0

In Game One, Kenzie Fowler had a solid game with 10 strikeouts. The Wildcats managed seven hits and won 2-1.

Fowler went down on a line drive in the first inning of Game Two. Sarah Akamine stepped up, only giving up four hits and striking out five. BYU needed three different pitchers in the game, but Arizona hammered all of them.


Keys To Winning

1. Fowler's health is most important

Arizona needs Fowler to have a chance against Tennessee. Arizona does not have stellar pitching, so they need the Wildcat bats to show up. Arizona will have to out-hit Tennessee.


No. 6 Georgia

Second trip to WCWS—went 1-2 to Washington in the WCWS last year

16-8 against teams in the tournament

Super Regional: Defeated California 2-0

In Game One, Georgia beat California 7-0. The Bulldogs had seven hits, including two home runs and pitcher Sarah McCloud only gave up four hits.

Georgia mercied California 10-1 in Game Two. They managed seven hits and one homerun and McCloud turned in another fine performance, only gave up three hits.


Keys To Winning

1. Georgia needs to jump on Danielle Lawrie's first strike.

Do not let her get deep in the count. Lawrie will punch you out with her drop or get you to chase her rise ball. Make Washington's defense work and make mistakes.


No. 3 Washington

Defending National Champions

26-5 against teams in the tournament

Super Regional: Defeated Oklahoma 2-1.

Oklahoma took Game One. They rocked Danielle Lawrie, hitting four home runs off the Washington hurler with Amber Flores hitting three of the long balls.

Lawrie bounced back in Game Two. She gave up only two hits and had 10 strikeouts.

In Game Three, Oklahoma had no clue what was going on as Lawrie gave up only five hits and struck out 17 batters.


Keys To Winning

1. It all starts with Danielle Lawrie.

She needs to keep Georgia off balance at the plate and off the base paths. Lawrie needs to utilize her rise ball and get Georgia to chase.

photo courtesy of Hawaiiathletics.com


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