With the return of the Women’s College World Series, we want your take on which college softball team is the greatest of all time.
We picked the eight greatest championship teams and you to narrowed the list down after the first round:
1994 Arizona over 2015 Florida, 1,971 votes to 678
1999 UCLA over 2013 Oklahoma, 1,813 to 1,417
2001 Arizona over 1992 UCLA, 1,997 to 1,271
2008 Arizona State over 2005 Michigan, 1,874 to 1,011
Now, we are in the semifinals. Voting for the second round lasts through Sunday. Make your picks!
1994 Arizona Wildcats
Arizona’s dynasty — five Women’s College World Series titles in seven years — may have peaked at championship No. 3. The Wildcats went 64-3 (second-best winning percentage in Division I history), had a 31-game winning streak, had a plus-427 run differential during the season and outscored their opponents 38-2 in their perfect 7-0 postseason run.
In the circle, Susie Parra, the Pac-10 Player of the Year, went 33-1 with a 1.04 ERA and 244 strikeouts. Arizona’s lineup was stacked from top to bottom, too. Shortstop Laura Espinoza hit 30 home runs, then a Division I record, and led the Wildcats with 95 RBIs and an .887 slugging percentage. Her .392 batting average ranked fifth, behind catcher and Pac-10 Newcomer of the Year Leah Braatz (.397 AVG, 18 HR, 75 RBI), outfielder Leah O’Brien-Amico (.416 BA, .542 SLG), second baseman Jenny Dalton-Hill (.434 AVG, 16 HR, 91 RBI) and first baseman Amy Chellevold (.504 AVG, 32 SB, 88 R).
1999 UCLA Bruins
The Bruins set program records in home runs (95), total runs (429) and wins (63) at the time en route to the championship. They had four NFCA First-Team All-Americans, including Courtney Dale, who tied Lisa Fernandez’s single-season wins record by going 33-1 with a 0.98 ERA and being named Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year, and Amanda Freed went 27-4 with a 0.96 ERA while also hitting .357 with 21 RBIs at the plate.
Outfielder Christie Ambrosi hit .429 with a Division I-best 103 hits, while legendary catcher Stacey Nuveman slugged 31 homers, the second-most in Division I history at the time. But it was Julie Adams who was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player. The third baseman hit .565 with four home runs and 15 RBIs in eight games, during which UCLA outscored its opponents 47-10.
2001 Arizona Wildcats
Sure, the long ball was paramount to Arizona’s success. The Wildcats slugged a then-Division I record 126 home runs — Toni Mascarenas and Leneah Manuma, two NFCA First-Team All-Americans, combined for 44 of them. Their lineup also featured Lauren Bauer, who led the team in batting average (.426), hits (104), runs (81) and stolen bases (38).
But it was Jennie Finch who absolutely dominated. It wasn’t just the fact she went 32-0, which not only broke Lisa Fernandez’s previous record for most wins without a loss in a season in Division I history, but was also part of 60 straight wins from April 2000 to April 2002. Couple it with her 0.54 ERA and 279 strikeouts. She was named national player of the year and Most Outstanding Player after a four-hit shutout in the WCWS championship game, cementing her status as an Arizona — and college softball — legend.
2008 Arizona State Sun Devils
The 2008 Sun Devils’ offense was so potent that many of the program records it set — 480 runs, 611 hits, 99 home runs, .439 on-base percentage — still hold today. They outscored opponents by 356 runs over the course of the season, and their 11-0 championship game win over Texas A&M is the record for largest margin of victory in a championship-clinching game.
“One through nine, they’re a threat,” said ace Katie Burkhart, who won 41 games, recorded a 0.75 ERA and struck out 513 batters. It didn’t matter if it was Kaitlyn Cochran, whose .439 batting average was third-best in program history; Mindy Cowles, who homered 18 times; freshman Krista Donnenwirth, who was tied for second in the NCAA with 74 RBIs; or Jackie Vasquez, whose 87 hits were second-most in a season in program history. The Sun Devils were powerful.
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