NCAA Softball Championships 2022: Dates, TV Schedule, Times, Bracket and More

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJune 2, 2022

Women's College Softball: Oklahoma Sooners Jocelyn Alo (78) in action, batting vs Tulsa Golden Hurricane at Marita Hynes Field.
Norman, OK 4/6/2022
CREDIT: Greg Nelson (Photo by Greg Nelson/Sports Illustrated via Getty Images)
(Set Number: X164004 TK1)
Greg Nelson/Getty Images

The Oklahoma Sooners are the clear team to beat in the Women's College World Series.

The Sooners won the WCWS in Oklahoma City last season, and they have been on top of the sport all season.

Oklahoma is one of five seeded teams that made it to the eight-team final from the NCAA softball tournament. The Sooners were the only top-four team to qualify.

Oklahoma outscored its opponents 52-3 in five games during the regional and super regional rounds. No other team was that dominant on the offensive side of the ball.

The biggest threat to the Sooners' title hopes could be their biggest in-state rival, the Oklahoma State Cowboys.

Oklahoma State went 5-0 in the last two rounds, and it held opponents to zero or one runs in four of those five victories.

The other six teams coming from out of state to Oklahoma City played well in their own right to reach the WCWS, but they may need a different level of effort to get past the Sooners or Cowgirls.

The WCWS begins on Thursday afternoon in Oklahoma City. The Texas Longhorns and UCLA Bruins play in the opening game of the double-elimination tournament that begins its final on June 8. The full schedule can be found here on NCAA.com.

Oklahoma Searching For Title Repeat

Oklahoma is searching for its second title repeat since 2016.

The Sooners won the Women's College World Series in 2016 and 2017 and then won it again in 2021.

They are trying to become the third program to repeat a title win in the last decade. The Florida Gators won in 2014 and 2015.

Oklahoma is powered by Jocelyn Alo, who produced a .497 batting average in 56 games. Alo is the NCAA"s all-time leader in home runs. She produced 29 long balls this season.

Alo was named to the All-Tournament Team in 2021 for her efforts during Oklahoma's title run. The Sooners lost their first game to the James Madison Dukes and then ran through the losers' bracket to reach the championship series.

Alo and the Oklahoma offense produced 15 runs in two games against the UCF Knights to cruise through the super regional round. The Sooners posted 37 runs during regional weekend in Norman, Oklahoma.

Oklahoma established itself as the team to beat in Oklahoma City before the season began, and it has backed up the title of top team throughout the campaign.

The Sooners face a potentially tricky matchup in their first game against the Northwestern Wildcats. Northwestern pitcher Danielle Williams was one of the best players during the super regional round. She pitched the duration of the three contests against the Arizona State Sun Devils.

Williams might be able to keep the Sooners off balance for a few innings, but the second time around, the order could be tough if Oklahoma makes the proper adjustments.

The UCLA Bruins, who are the second-best remaining seed left, could challenge Oklahoma if both teams win on Thursday.

UCLA went 5-0 to reach Oklahoma City, and it owns the second-best staff ERA behind Oklahoma at 1.40. The Sooners have a 0.80 ERA.

Alo receives a lot of the headlines, but the pitching group, led by NCAA ERA leader Hope Trautwein, could be the key to leading the Sooners to their fourth title since 2016.

Oklahoma State Is Top Team In Bottom Part of Bracket

UCLA is the top remaining seed below Oklahoma, but it resides in the same part of the bracket as the Sooners.

Oklahoma State is the only single-digit seed that enters Oklahoma City in the bottom half of the bracket. Northwestern plays Oklahoma in the WCWS opener and is the No. 9 seed.

Oklahoma State was equally as dominant as its in-state foe in the defensive part of the game over the last two rounds.

The Cowgirls held the Clemson Tigers to a single run in the super regional round. They pitched two shutouts in the regional round.

Oklahoma State did not win those games with an overwhelming offense. It scored seven runs in the super regional round and plated two runs in the regional-clinching win over the North Texas Mean Green.

The pitching and defense could be vital for the Cowgirls to win a few games in Oklahoma City and potentially set up an in-state clash with Oklahoma for the title.

The first task for Oklahoma State is getting out of a bracket of teams that have equally as impressive defensive stats from the NCAA tournament.

The Arizona Wildcats and Oregon State Beavers combined to give up four runs in the super regional round, while the Florida Gators pitched a shutout in their clinching game against the Virginia Tech Hokies.