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Home Sweet Home: Husky Softball awarded #6 overall seed for NCAA Softball tournament

The 6th-seeded Huskies begin their trek towards the Women’s College World Series at home against Montana on Friday night.

Washington infielder Sis Bates (22 in purple, at bottom) celebrates after teammate Morganne Flores drove in a run against Arizona State.
Edward Strong

The road to the Women’s College World Series has been announced, and the Husky Softball team received the #6 overall seed, which is a fairly accurate recognition of their very strong performance this season (I was expecting 7 most likely, anywhere from 5 to 8 possible).

By virtue of being the #6 seed, the Huskies will not play any more road games this season. UW will host the Seattle regional this weekend, and, as a top-8 seed, would be assured of hosting a Super Regional series (likely against either 11th-seeded Utah or BYU) as long as they make it there.

The three teams in Seattle for the regional are Montana, Fresno State, and Michigan. An interesting fact about the history of each softball program:

Montana is making its first ever appearance in the NCAA softball tournament, one of just 3 teams to add that distinction to their resume this year (East Tennessee State and St. Francis-PA are the others).

Fresno State has the distinction of being the last team to win the WCWS without playing in a power conference, doing so in 1998.

Michigan was the first team to win the WCWS located East of the Mississippi River when they defeated UCLA 4-1 in 2005.

Schedule (all games available on the ESPN family of networks; only Friday’s games determined as to which one at this point)


Game 1: Fresno State vs. Michigan - 6 PM, ESPN2
Game 2: Montana vs. Washington - 8:30 PM, ESPN3


Game 3: Winner game 1 vs. Winner game 2 - 2 PM
Game 4: Loser game 1 vs. Loser game 2 - 4:30 PM (loser is eliminated)
Game 5: Loser game 3 vs. Winner game 4 - 7 PM (loser is eliminated)


Game 6: Winner game 3 vs. Winner game 5 - 4 PM (loser eliminated if it is their second loss, otherwise rematch in game 7)
Game 7, if necessary: 6:30 PM

Montana (35-22, 15-6 Big Sky)

Head-to-head: none.

Results vs. common opponents to UW:

  • Played Seattle U five times (3-2 record)
  • Lost to SU twice (neutral) (3-6, 0-2)
  • Beat SU three times (home) (4-3, 12-4, 9-8)
  • Lost to Oregon twice (neutral) (0-6, 0-1)
  • Lost to Utah (neutral site) (2-5)
  • Lost to California (neutral site) (0-7)

Overall record vs. opponents shared with UW: 3-6

Record for UW in those games: 9-1 (only loss was to Oregon State)

Fresno State (34-21, 14-9 Mountain West)

Head-to-head: lost 5-1 to Washington at Judi Garman Classic (Fullerton, CA)

Results vs. common opponents to UW:

  • Lost to Oregon (neutral) (1-4)
  • Beat Indiana (neutral) (2-0)
  • Lost to Minnesota (home) (2-9)
  • Beat Long Beach State (neutral) (4-2)
  • Beat Iowa (neutral) (11-7)
  • Beat Indiana (neutral) (4-3)
  • Lost to Northwestern (neutral) (3-5)
  • Split two games with BYU (home) (W 6-1, L 6-8)
  • Beat Oregon State twice (home) (4-1, 6-2)
  • Won two of three at San Diego State (W 10-7, W 7-6, L 3-6)
  • Lost twice at California (0-8, 1-2)
  • Lost at UC Santa Barbara (1-2)

Overall record vs. opponents shared with UW: 9-8

Record for UW in those games: 16-3 (single losses to BYU, Oregon State, and Oregon)

Michigan (41-11-1, 18-3 Big Ten)

Head-to-head: none.

Results vs. common opponents to UW:

  • Beat Arizona State twice (neutral) (3-0, 2-0)
  • Lost to UCLA (neutral) (0-4)
  • Lost to Baylor (neutral) (0-4)
  • Beat Long Beach State (neutral) (13-5)
  • Swept 3 games from Penn State at home (3-0, 8-0, 17-0)
  • Swept 3 games from Northwestern at home (10-0, 6-0, 4-0)
  • Won 2 of 3 at Ohio State (W 7-2, W 8-4, L 0-5)
  • Swept 3 games from Indiana at home (7-1, 2-1, 8-0)

Overall record in common games: 14-3

UW record in those games: 12-3 (lost twice to UCLA, once to Baylor)

Best/worst performances

Struggled early in the season quite a bit, including a 6-4 loss at South Florida, a team that missed the tournament entirely.

From March 24th to April 2nd, Michigan pitched 7 consecutive shutouts (Penn State 3x, Central Michigan, Northwestern 3x) while also scoring over 7 runs per game.

After cruising through their Big Ten schedule, losing just three times (Ohio State, Maryland, Wisconsin), a Big Ten championship matchup between Minnesota and Michigan seemed likely. But a surprising 5-4 upset by the Spartans in the B1G quarterfinals ended the Wolverines run before it got started.

Scout’s look

This is not a Michigan team to take lightly, but it’s also not the usual softball powerhouse we’re used to seeing in Ann Arbor. Pitching is definitely a strength, led by senior ace Megan Betsa, the 7th overall pick in the National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) draft.

Megan Betsa

5’9” Senior RHP #3. From McDonough, Georgia.

Stats: 23-8, 1.31 ERA, completed 27 of 31 games she started.

Strengths: Elite strikeout artist, fanning 376 in 214 innings. She also doesn’t give up very many home runs for how much she pitches, coughing up a home run just under once every 16 innings on average.

Weakness: Not much, although control can be an issue. 85 walks isn’t too bad for her high workload, but she also hit 30 batters and threw 11 wild pitches.

The biggest difference on this year’s Michigan squad from the last few years, when Michigan was a clear title contender, is the absence of graduated superstar Sierra Romero, one of the greatest hitters in NCAA history. While this team can still clearly score runs against most pitchers, Michigan was shut out 5 times this season. Over the course of the previous four years, the Wolverines were only shut out a total of 6 times during the regular season.

For offense, this Michigan team relies on the lefty-righty combination of OF Kelly Christner and Utility Faith Canfield.

Kelly Christner - 5’8” Senior OF #21. Bats left, throws left. From Tinley Park, Illinois.

Stats: Produced a slash line of .414/.522/.638 (Batting average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage, for those wondering)

Stole team-high 17 bases, although she was caught 4 times. Tied for team lead in home runs with 8 (Canfield also has 8).

Faith Canfield - 5’9” Sophomore Utility #25. Bats right, throws right. From Garden Grove, California.

Stats: Slashed .394/.438/.647. Led Michigan in hits with 67, tied for team doubles lead with 17. Struck out just 7 times all season.