2022 NCAA Softball Championship: No. 1 Oklahoma Sooners swing for second straight World Series title

Jocelyn Alo #78 of the Oklahoma Sooners is greeted at home plate by her teammates Kinzie Hansen #9 and Tiare Jennings #23 after hitting a home run during the Division I Women's Softball Championship
Getty Images

The reigning national champion Oklahoma Sooners enter the 2022 NCAA Division I Softball Championships – which kick off Friday at 16 regional sites – as the No. 1-ranked team in the country. Boasting a 49-2 record with 35 run-rule victories, the Sooners appear poised to defend their 2021 Women’s College World Series (WCWS) title, and rank first in the country in batting average (.367), runs per game (9.26) and ERA (0.81).

Additionally, Oklahoma features a prolific offense that hit 125 home runs this season, led by Jocelyn Alo, the NCAA softball home run leader. They also bring a top pitching staff, which sports a stunning .75 ERA and is led by freshman Jordy Bahl.

MORE NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP NEWS: No. 1 Stanford, reigning champion Rachel Heck take aim at 2022 NCAA Women’s Golf Championships

Four teams – Grand Canyon, Murray State, North Texas and the University of North Carolina Wilmington – will make their NCAA softball tournament debuts, while Clemson, Duke, University of Central Florida and Virginia Tech will serve as first-time regional hosts.

In 2021, Oklahoma captured its fifth national title with a 5-1 victory over Florida State in the third game of the NCAA championship series. The Sooners made history by becoming the first team to win six elimination games en route to their third national title in the last five championships.

How to watch the 2022 NCAA Division I Softball Championship

ESPN will provide coverage from all 16 regional sites on one of the ESPN family of networks. ESPN will televise every game of the Super Regionals, as well as every game during the Women’s College World Series. For details on all future games, including locations, times and networks, visit the NCAA website broadcast info page.

What format does the NCAA Softball Championship use? 

Thirty-two teams automatically qualified for the tournament by winning their conference or conference tournament, while the remaining 32 slots were filled with at-large selections to complete the 64-team tournament field (see below for the complete bracket). The top 16 teams were seeded nationally and serve as hosts at campus sites for the regionals beginning Friday. Each campus-site regional will host a four-team, double-elimination tournament, with the 16 winning teams advancing to the super regionals.

Super regionals for the championship will be held May 26-29 on eight campus sites. At each site, two teams will play in a best-of-three tournament format. The winners from each super regional will advance to the NCAA Women’s College World Series (WCWS) from June 2-9/10 at OGE Energy Field at the USA Softball Hall of Fame Complex in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

2022 NCAA Softball College Championship Bracket

2022 NCAA Division I Softball Championship Regionals – Today’s Game Schedule:

 DATE  SITE  ROUND TEAMS  TIME (*all times ET, subject to change)  NETWORK
Friday, May 21  Clemson, SC  Game 1  UNCW vs. Clemson  Noon  ACCN
 Durham, NC  Game 1  Liberty vs. Georgia  Noon  ESPNU
 Blacksburg, VA  Game 1  St. Francis vs. Virginia Tech  2 p.m.  ACCN
 Evanston, IL  Game 1  McNeese vs. Notre Dame  2 p.m.  ESPN+
 Gainesville, FL  Game 1  Wisconsin vs. Georgia Tech  2 p.m.  ESPNU
 Columbia, MO  Game 1  Missouri State vs. Missouri  2 p.m.  SECN
 Clemson, SC  Game 2  Louisiana vs. Auburn  2:30 p.m.  ESPN+
 Durham, NC  Game 2  UMBC vs. Duke  2:30 p.m.  ESPN+
 Orlando, FL  Game 1  South Dakota State vs. Michigan  3:30 p.m.  ESPN+
 Tuscaloosa, AL  Game 1  Chattanooga vs. Alabama  4 p.m.  SECN
 Knoxville, TN  Game 1  Oregon State vs Ohio State  4 p.m.  ESPNU
 Blacksburg, VA  Game 2  Miami (OH) vs. Kentucky  4:30 p.m.  ESPN+
 Evanston, IL  Game 2  Oakland vs. Northwestern  4:30 p.m.  ESPN+
 Gainesville, FL  Game 2  Canisius vs. Florida  4:30 p.m.  ESPN+
 Columbia, MO  Game 2  Arizona vs. Illinois  4:30 p.m.  ESPN+
 Norman, OK  Game 1  Minnesota vs. Texas A&M  5 p.m.  ESPN2
 Seattle, WA  Game 1  Weber State vs. Texas  5:30 p.m.  LHN
 Tallahassee, FL  Game 1  South Florida vs. Mississippi State  6 p.m.  ESPNU
 Fayetteville, AR  Game 1  Princeton vs. Arkansas  6 p.m.  SECN
 Stillwater, OK  Game 1  North Texas vs. Nebraska  6 p.m.  ESPN+
 Orlando, FL  Game 2  Villanova vs. UCF  6 p.m.  ESPN+
 Tuscaloosa, AL  Game 2  Murray State vs. Stanford  6:30 p.m.  ESPN+
 Knoxville, TN  Game 2  Campbell vs. Tennessee  6:30 p.m.  ESPN+
 Norman, OK  Game 2  Prairie View vs. Oklahoma  7:30 p.m.  ESPN+
 Los Angeles, CA  Game 1  Loyola Marymount vs. Ole Miss  7:30 p.m.  ESPN+
 Tempe, AZ  Game 1  San Diego State vs. LSU  8 p.m.  ESPN2
 Seattle, WA  Game 2  Lehigh vs. Washington  8 p.m.  ESPN+
 Tallahassee, FL  Game 2  Howard vs. Florida State  8:30 p.m.  ESPN+
 Fayetteville, AR  Game 2  Wichita State vs. Oregon  8:30 p.m.  ESPN+
 Stillwater, OK  Game 2  Fordham vs. Oklahoma State  8:30 p.m.  ESPN+
 Los Angeles, CA  Game 2  Grand Canyon vs. UCLA  10 p.m.  ESPN2
 Tempe, AZ  Game 2  Cal State Fullerton vs. Arizona State  10:30 p.m.  ESPN+

2022 NCAA Softball Championship: What to watch for in the 16 regional matchups starting today

The top 16 teams were seeded nationally and will host at campus sites beginning this Friday. Read on for fun facts from teams in each regional, as well as sites, pairings, seeding if applicable, and team records (*indicates host school).

Norman Regional – May 20-22 at Norman, Oklahoma

Game 1: Texas A&M (29-26) vs. Minnesota (26-24-1)
Game 2: No. 1 seed Oklahoma* (49-2) vs. Prairie View A&M (20-28)

NOTABLE: Texas A&M is making its 20th straight appearance in the NCAA tournament. The Aggies are led by Haley Lee, who’s batting average is .410. Minnesota’s Natalie DenHartog has hit 18 homers this season, while Prairie View pulled off a remarkable comeback season after starting with an 0-19 record and finishing as the SWAC Champions.

Orlando Regional – May 20-22 at Orlando, Florida

Game 1: Michigan (36-16) vs. South Dakota St. (40-11)
Game 2: No. 16 seed UCF* (46-12) vs. Villanova (32-22)

NOTABLE: UCF will host its first-ever NCAA regional and aims to advance out of the regional for the first time in program history. Villanova, which repeated as Big East conference tournament champion, brings graduate pitcher Paige Rauch, who has 166 strikeouts and was named Most Outstanding Player for the second year in a row as well. The Wolverines boast pitcher Alex Storako, who ranks in the top 10 in the NCAA in strikeouts with 284 on the year and a 1.69 ERA.

Evanston Regional – May 20-22 at Evanston, Illinois

Game 1: Notre Dame (39-10) vs. McNeese (38-19)
Game 2: No. 9 seed Northwestern* (40-10) vs. Oakland (26-15)

NOTABLE: Northwestern’s Danielle Williams has a 1.53 ERA with 287 strikeouts, which ranks top 10 in the NCAA, while Rachel Lewis has 20 homers and won Big Ten Player of the Year honors. Katrina Gaskins leads the Fighting Irish with a .434 batting average (which ranked in the top 20 nationally), with 13 homers and an .822 slugging percentage.

Tempe Regional – May 20-22 at Tempe, Arizona

Game 1: LSU (34-21) vs. San Diego State (37-14)
Game 2: No. 8 seed Arizona State* (39-9) vs. Cal State Fullerton (36-20)

NOTABLE: San Diego State is back in the NCAA softball tournament for the first time since 2015 for its 12th overall appearance, and they boast Mac Barbara, a finalist for the 2022 Schutt Sports/NFCA Division I National Freshman of the Year award, who batted .395 on the season with 15 home runs, 56 RBIs, 29 runs, 14 doubles, 33 walks and six stolen bases. Cal State Fullerton made the tournament for the first time in the last three seasons, making its 30th overall appearance. ASU enjoyed a 20-game winning streak this season, during which Cydney Sanders smashed nine home runs, and captured its first Pac-12 Championship since 2011.

Los Angeles Regional – May 20-22 at Los Angeles, California

Game 1: Ole Miss (39-17) vs. Loyola Marymount University (36-15)
Game 2: No. 5 seed UCLA* (43-8) vs. Grand Canyon (38-14)

NOTABLE: The Bruins making a tournament-record 37th appearance and have now hosted seven consecutive regionals dating back to 2014. Ole Miss is making its sixth consecutive tournament appearance and is chasing 40 wins for only the fourth time ever.

Durham Regional – May 20-22 at Durham, North Carolina

Game 1: Georgia (40-16) vs. Liberty (43-16)
Game 2: No. 12 seed Duke* (41-8) vs. University of Maryland (Baltimore County) (31-10)

NOTABLE: Peyton St. George anchors the Blue Devils’ pitching staff with a 2.02 ERA and 171 strikeouts. Maryland’s Courtney Coopersmith ranks second in the NCAA with a 0.26 ERA, while Kya Matter also is in the top 10 with a .98 ERA.

Seattle Regional – May 20-22 at Seattle, Washington

Game 1: Texas (38-17-1) vs. Weber State (38-10)
Game 2: No. 13 seed Washington* (35-15) vs. Lehigh (30-18-1)

NOTABLE: Texas was the first (and just one of two) team to beat Oklahoma this season. The No. 1-ranked Sooners were undefeated when the Longhorns defeated them on April 16. Washington is head by Baylee Klingler, who hit .433 with 22 home runs, 65 RBI and a .955 slugging percentage.

Fayetteville Regional – May 20-22 at Fayetteville, Arkansas

Game 1: No. 4 seed Arkansas* (44-9) vs. Princeton (27-15-2)
Game 2: Oregon (31-17) vs. Wichita State (33-16)

NOTABLE: The Razorbacks backed up their regular-season crown with the program’s first-ever SEC tournament title this season. Wichita State’s Sydney McKinney leads the entire NCAA in batting average, hitting .511 with 13 home runs.

Blacksburg Regional – May 20-22 at Blacksburg, Virginia

Game 1: Kentucky (35-17) vs. Miami (OH) (39-15-1)
Game 2: No. 3 seed Virginia Tech* (41-7) vs. Saint Francis (Pennsylvania) (37-16)

NOTABLE: Virginia Tech boasts pitcher Keely Rochard, who has a 1.73 ERA and 293 strikeouts, which ranks top five in the NCAA. Kentucky is making its 13th consecutive appearance the NCAA tournament.

Gainesville Regional – May 20-22 at Gainesville, Florida

Game 1: Georgia Tech (37-16) vs. Wisconsin (28-19)
Game 2: No. 14 seed Florida* (43-16) vs. Canisius (32-16)

NOTABLE: Florida has hosted a regional for 17 consecutive tournaments, but this year marks the first time they’ll do it as the No. 14 seed. Canisius has won the past 12 straight games, including the MAAC championship, for the longest win streak in program history since 1999. The Yellow Jackets are appearing in their first NCAA tournament in more than a decade.

Knoxville Regional – May 20-22 at Knoxville, Tennessee

Game 1: Ohio State (35-15) vs. Oregon State (33-19)
Game 2: No. 11 seed Tennessee* (39-16) vs. Campbell (37-17)

NOTABLE: Not only are the Volunteers in the tournament for the 17th consecutive season, but also they are hosting a regional for the 17th consecutive year.

Tuscaloosa Regional – May 20-22 at Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Game 1: No. 6 seed Alabama* (41-11) vs. Chattanooga (29-25)
Game 2: Stanford (36-19) vs. Murray State (40-16-1)

NOTABLE: Alabama’s Montana Fouts, who threw a perfect game at the WCWS last season, leads the Crimson Tide this year with a 1.93 ERA and 259 Ks.

Stillwater Regional – May 20-22 at Stillwater, Oklahoma

Game 1: Nebraska (40-14) vs. North Texas (35-14)
Game 2: No. 7 seed Oklahoma State* (41-12) vs. Fordham (30-20)

NOTABLE: Oklahoma State is the second of just two team to beat Oklahoma this season. Fordham’s Rachel Hubertus smashed 17 homers this season. Nebraska won the 2022 Big Ten conference championship for its first tournament title since joining the conference.

Clemson Regional – May 20-22 at Clemson, South Carolina

Game 1: No. 10 seed Clemson* (39-15) vs. UNCW (32-13)
Game 2: Auburn (39-15) vs. University of Louisiana at Lafayette (45-11)

NOTABLE: Clemson is one of six ACC teams in the tournament this season. Auburn boasts standout freshman Bri Ellis, named SEC Freshman of the Year after hitting 18 home runs in the regular season, with 45 RBI and hitting .300. University of Louisiana is in the middle of a 13-game winning streak and have won 22 of their last 23 games since April 8.

Columbia Regional – May 20-22 at Columbia, Missouri

Game 1: No. 15 seed Missouri* (32-14) vs. Missouri State (27-18)
Game 2: Illinois (34-20) vs. Arizona (33-20)

NOTABLE: Missouri State is making its first appearance in the NCAA tournament since 2011, while Arizona marks its 35th straight selection.

Tallahassee Regional – May 20-22 at Tallahassee, Florida

Game 1: Mississippi State (33-24) vs. South Florida (44-14)
Game 2: No. 2 seed Florida St.* (52-5) vs. Howard (31-22)

NOTABLE: The Seminoles look to make it back to the championship series after finishing runner up in 2021. South Florida boats Georgina Corrick, who leads the NCAA with 407 strikeouts –  50 more than the next pitcher.

Which teams earned automatic berths to the 2022 NCAA Division I Softball Championship?

Thirty-two teams automatically qualified for the tournament by winning their conference or conference tournament (*indicates no tournament).

  • American Athletic – UCF
  • America East – UMBC
  • ACC – Florida State
  • Atlantic Sun – Liberty
  • Atlantic 10 – Fordham
  • Big 12 – Oklahoma State
  • Big East – Villanova
  • Big Sky – Weber State
  • Big South – Campbell
  • Big Ten – Nebraska
  • Big West – Cal State Fullerton*
  • Colonial – UNCW
  • Conference USA – North Texas
  • Horizon – Oakland
  • Ivy – Princeton
  • Metro Atlantic – Canisius
  • Mid-American – Miami (OH)
  • Mid-Eastern – Howard
  • Missouri Valley – Missouri State
  • Mountain West – San Diego State*
  • Northeast – Saint Francis (PA)
  • Ohio Valley – Murray State
  • Pac-12 – Arizona State*
  • Patriot – Lehigh
  • SEC – Arkansas
  • Southern – Chattanooga
  • Southland – McNeese
  • SWAC – Prairie View
  • Summit – South Dakota State
  • Sun Belt – Louisiana
  • WAC – Grand Canyon
  • West Coast – Loyola Marymount*