Who's going to the Women's College World Series? Experts make NCAA softball super regional picks

A trip to Oklahoma City is just two wins away for eight teams in the NCAA Softball Tournament this week as the event enters super regional play.

Eight schools will host best-of-three series Thursday through Sunday, with the winners advancing to the Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City, beginning June 2, to play for the national championship.

Five of the top 16 seeds were eliminated on their home fields in regionals last weekend, giving five unseeded teams — Arizona, Mississippi State, Texas, Stanford and Oregon State — an opportunity to make an extended run. And two of those are guaranteed to make the WCWS this year, given the super regional pairings.

Below, six experts from the USA TODAY Sports Network have picked the super regional winners and whether they'll advance in two games or three. Here are their projections:

NCAA SOFTBALL TOURNAMENT: Results, schedule, game times, TV info, bracket

REGIONALS: Pac-12 softball teams shine as five teams make super regionals

Arizona State infielder Halle Harger makes contact with the ball during a regional game against Cal State Fullerton on May 20. The No. 8 seeded Sun Devils advanced to super regionals and will host No. 9 seed Northwestern.
Arizona State infielder Halle Harger makes contact with the ball during a regional game against Cal State Fullerton on May 20. The No. 8 seeded Sun Devils advanced to super regionals and will host No. 9 seed Northwestern.

Norman Super Regional

No. 16 Central Florida at No. 1 Oklahoma

Oklahoma in two: Hope Trautwein and Nicole May look awfully strong, even if freshman phenom Jordy Bahl remains on the shelf. Even if those two slip up, it’s difficult to keep the Sooners’ bats in check. — Ryan Aber, The Oklahoman

Oklahoma in two: The Sooners won the regional final 20-0 and outscored opponents 37-2. Every batter is a home run threat, too. — Brett Greenberg, Tuscaloosa News 

Oklahoma in two: With the way Oklahoma is steamrolling teams  and the talented pitching staff it has, no one is standing between the reigning champs and Oklahoma City. — Cora Hall, Knoxville News Sentinel

ON THE RISE: How did UCF build softball program? With an aggressive schedule, youth and a 'Bear'

Oklahoma in two: The Sooners are too good, too powerful and too hot to be knocked out by the Knights. UCF’s postseason run ends at the hands of No. 1. — Ainslie Lee, Gainesville Sun

Oklahoma in two: Oklahoma looked dominant in its regional with two large-margin wins, and the Sooners have the pitching to sustain a postseason run as the No. 1 seed. — Christina Long, Southwest Times Record

Oklahoma in two: Maybe freshman phenom Jordy Bahl pitches, maybe she doesn’t. Either way, the Sooners lineup is too potent to let this team fail in a best-of-three series. — Scott Wright, The Oklahoman

Starkville Super Regional

Arizona at Mississippi State

Arizona in three: Mississippi State pulled off one of the most shocking runs in recent regional history by winning four straight to stunningly eliminate Florida State. But the Wildcats have the pedigree. — Ryan Aber

Mississippi State in three: This is one of the tougher super regional matchups to pick, but the Bulldogs just took down No. 2 FSU and have all the momentum in front of their home crowd.  — Brett Greenberg

Mississippi State in three: Mississippi State is coming off a historic upset and hasn’t had trouble getting offense going – which bodes well for an Arizona pitching staff that gives up a lot of runs. The Wildcats scored just three runs in two wins over Missouri and they’re facing another great SEC pitching staff this weekend. — Cora Hall

NEWCOMER: How Miss. State went from underdogs to first-time super regional hosts

Mississippi State in three: The Bulldogs stunned the college softball world with their wins in Tallahassee. The job becomes easier this week as Mississippi State brings the momentum back to Starkville. — Ainslie Lee

Mississippi State in three: Mississippi State pulled off one of the most stunning upsets of the tournament to advance. They’ll have to fight, but the Bulldogs are hot at the right time. — Christina Long

Arizona in three: One of two super regionals in which an unseeded team is guaranteed to reach the Women’s College World Series. It’s hard to bet against one of the greatest programs in the history of the game. — Scott Wright

Blacksburg Super Regional

No. 14 Florida at No. 3 Virginia Tech

Florida in three: It’s hard to bet against Tim Walton this time of year. His Gators rolled through their regional, while the Hokies had to hold on for dear life to escape in their first turn as regional hosts. — Ryan Aber

Virginia Tech in three: The Hokies lost in the regional round, but Keely Rochard already has a no-hitter this tournament. The Gators take game two, but fall in the third game. — Brett Greenberg

Virginia Tech in three: The Gators have a good offense, and I think they’ll steal one game from the Hokies. But when Florida faces elite pitchers, that offense wanes. — Cora Hall

Florida in three: While the Hokies had to claw their ways to wins over Miami (Ohio) and Kentucky, the Gators waltzed through their regional with a combined score of 28-2. Florida pulls off the upset.— Ainslie Lee

Virginia Tech in three: The Hokies are the higher seed for a reason, and while Florida will take one game from Virginia Tech, the Hokies’ superior pitching will get them to Oklahoma City. — Christina Long

Florida in three: The Gators had some shaky moments over the last month of the regular season but looked dominant in their regional. Virginia Tech, on the other hand, looked unsettled in regional play, barely advancing. — Scott Wright

Fayetteville Super Regional

Texas at No. 4 Arkansas

Arkansas in three: The Razorbacks pummeled their way through their regional, outscoring its opponents 26-5. That doesn’t figure to faze Texas starter Hailey Dolcini, who held Oklahoma to two runs in an April 16 win, but over a three-game series it’ll be hard to keep Arkansas’ bats in check. — Ryan Aber

Arkansas is two: The Razorbacks continue to produce with the second-most home runs in a season in SEC history (109). The bats carry the SEC Tournament champions to Oklahoma City. — Brett Greenberg

Arkansas in two: The Razorbacks bats are hot like they’ve been all season. With arguably the best pitching tandem in the country with Chenise Delce and Mary Haff, Arkansas’ trip to OKC is its own to lose. — Cora Hall

Arkansas in three: The Razorbacks will see their win streak get snapped over the weekend as Texas forces a third game. But alas, the heavy-hitting Hogs will get the job done. — Ainslie Lee

Arkansas in two: Arkansas has an overwhelming combination of explosive offense and dominant pitching that will stump unseeded Texas. — Christina Long

Arkansas in two: SEC Pitcher of the Year Chenise Delce, a native of suburban Oklahoma City, has been hugely impactful in the circle and is looking to get back to her hometown for the WCWS. — Scott Wright

Arkansas pitcher Chenise Delce throws a pitch against Western Illinois during a Feb. 20, 2022 game.
Arkansas pitcher Chenise Delce throws a pitch against Western Illinois during a Feb. 20, 2022 game.

Los Angeles Super Regional

No. 12 Duke at No. 5 UCLA

UCLA in three: This series is strength against strength, with UCLA No. 2 in pitching with a 1.38 ERA and Duke No. 8 in hitting with a .332 batting average. The quick rise of Duke’s program is one of college softball’s recent success stories, but the Blue Devils are running into a buzz saw. — Ryan Aber

UCLA in three: The Bruins have the most NCAA championships in history and have been to eight straight super regionals. The UCLA offensive should pave way for another trip to the Women’s College World Series. — Brett Greenberg

Duke in three: UCLA is a solid team, but it’s also beatable. Duke is the underdog you have to love rooting for, and I can see the Blue Devils pulling off the upset in their first super regional ever. — Cora Hall

Duke in three: It will not be easy, but it’ll be fun to watch. The Blue Devils and Bruins will find themselves in a battle, but Duke’s bats will lead them to the Women’s College World Series. — Ainslie Lee

UCLA in three: Duke’s bats are strong, but UCLA’s pitching is stifling. The Bruins will cede one game to the Blue Devils before advancing. — Christina Long

UCLA in two: After outscoring three regional opponents by a combined 28-3, the Bruins look primed for a 30th run to the WCWS. — Scott Wright

Stanford Super Regional

Oregon State at Stanford

Oregon State in three: The Beavers won the regular-season series between the teams, allowing just two runs in late March in Corvallis. This time at Stanford, Oregon State pulls out the victory yet again to make their first WCWS since 2006. — Ryan Aber

Stanford in two: The Cardinal beat Alabama two times in Tuscaloosa and snapped the Crimson Tide’s 44-game regional win streak. Alana Vawter is as good as any pitcher in the remaining field. — Brett Greenberg

Stanford in two: Stanford will have another pitching challenge against Mariah Mazon, but the Cardinal racked up 11 runs against Montana Fouts en route to upsetting Alabama. Stanford has a bit more of a balanced offense and the homefield advantage. — Cora Hall

Stanford in two: Stanford is entirely too gritty to be taken out by Oregon State, which will see its lineup struggle against the Cardinal’s three-headed monster in Alana Vawter, Molly Millar and Regan Krause. — Ainslie Lee

Stanford in three: Like Mississippi State, Stanford is riding the wave of an enormous upset. The Cardinal shut out Alabama twice and will use its pitching to move past Oregon State. — Christina Long

Oregon State in three: The Beavers might not have the Cinderella element of James Madison a year ago, but their unexpected upset of No. 11 seed Tennessee, coming through the loser’s bracket to do it, will carry over against unseeded Stanford. — Scott Wright

Stillwater Super Regional

No. 10 Clemson at No. 7 Oklahoma State

Oklahoma State in two: After a rough end to the regular season, the Cowgirls have their swagger back. Morgan Day and Kelly Maxwell have turned it up a notch in the circle in the postseason. — Ryan Aber

Oklahoma State in three: The Cowgirls are headed to their third straight super regional after not dropping a game last weekend. Remember, Oklahoma State beat the Sooners in the Big 12 Tournament championship. — Brett Greenberg 

Oklahoma State in three: The Cowgirls have what it takes to get to OKC, though Clemson will be a tough opponent. Oklahoma State beat the No. 1 team in the country for a reason. — Cora Hall

Oklahoma State in two: Clemson’s postseason run has been fun to watch, but the road ends in Stillwater as the Cowgirls are just too hard to beat: especially at home. — Ainslie Lee

Clemson in two: Clemson didn’t give up a run in its regional. Although the Tigers will allow Oklahoma State to score, Clemson will pitch its way to Oklahoma City. — Christina Long

Oklahoma State in three: The Cowgirls pitching staff misses Miranda Elish, who isn’t likely to pitch again this season with a biceps injury, but ace Kelly Maxwell was nearly untouchable in regional play and the bats are gaining momentum. — Scott Wright

Tempe Super Regional

No. 9 Northwestern and No. 8 Arizona State

Arizona State in two: The Sun Devils were challenged in their regional, while the Wildcats won each of their games by at least seven runs. That has Arizona State primed and ready to go as they pull off a home sweep just as they did in 2008 vs. Northwestern. — Ryan Aber

Arizona State in three: The Sun Devils went undefeated in the regional round and are competing in their ninth super regional since 2005. Arizona State becomes the third team to represent the Pac-12 in OKC. — Brett Greenberg

Arizona State in three: This series could be a slugfest. Both Northwestern and Arizona State piled on the runs in regionals. But ASU took down tough opponents in Pac-12 play and the Sun Devils will make it to OKC. — Cora Hall

Arizona State in two: Neither the Sun Devils nor the Wildcats were super pressed in regionals, but Arizona State is more equipped to make a run to the Women’s College World Series. — Ainslie Lee

Northwestern in two: Northwestern is hitting well this postseason, and while the teams are evenly matched, the Wildcats will outhit Arizona State. — Christina Long

Arizona State in three: In what should be an epic battle of dominant pitching by Northwestern vs. the uber-potent lineup of Arizona State, homefield advantage and big bats win out. — Scott Wright

This article originally appeared on The Tuscaloosa News: NCAA softball super regionals picks: Who will make WCWS in Oklahoma?