Rachel Garcia pitches for UCLA.
Eight teams qualified for softball’s NCAA Division I Women’s College World Series over the weekend: top-ranked Oklahoma along with Florida, Alabama and Oklahoma State on one side of the bracket, with UCLA, Washington, Arizona and Minnesota on the other.
Notably missing is the defending champion, Florida State, who lost to Oklahoma State in the Super Regionals. Meanwhile, Minnesota is at the WCWS for the first time in program history.
The series gets underway Thursday and wraps Tuesday, June 4 – or June 5 if a Game 3 is needed – at USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City.
Six of the eight teams competing in the WCWS boast alumni on the current U.S. Women’s National Team, while UCLA and Arizona have current student-athletes on the USWNT, accounting for 12 of the 18 national team athletes.
Rachel Garcia, a junior pitcher/first base at UCLA, was named the 2019 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year on Tuesday evening, a year after receiving the award as a sophomore, and became the fourth player to earn the distinction consecutive years.
Garcia was also the 2018 National Fastpitch Coaches Association Player of the Year, espnW Player of the Year, the Pac-12 Player of the Year as well as on the WCWS All-Tournament team and First-Team All-American. Last summer she played with Team USA at the 2018 WBSC Women’s Softball World Championship where she had a 1.05 ERA and 13 strikeouts in 6.2 innings and a walk-off hit in the semifinal. Garcia helped Team USA win gold at the world championship, which qualified the team for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
Garcia closed the game for the Bruins in the Super Regionals retiring five of six batters she faced, three with strikeouts. It was her fourth save of the season to go with her 24 wins.
Dejah Mulipola, a junior catcher at Arizona, represented Team USA at the 2018 USA Softball International Cup where Team USA won bronze. Mulipola hit .333 with two RBI and two runs scored. Prior to her sophomore season, she was named to the USA Softball Player of the Year Top 50 Watch List.
Mulipola hit a homerun the Super Regional to help the Wildcats advance to the WCWS. On the season, she is hitting .310 with 22 homeruns. She has started all 59 games and has a fielding percentage of .998.
Both Garcia and Mulipola look to play on Team USA at this summer’s Pan American Games. The current national team will be narrowed down to 15 for Lima, Peru.
UCLA has 29 WCWS series appearances, followed by Arizona’s 23. No other school has more than 14. Garcia will look to lead the Bruins to their 13th national championship, and Mulipola the Wildcats’ ninth.
2019 U.S. Women’s National Team School Representation At WCWS:
Haylie McCleney, 2016
Dejah Mulipola, 2020
Kirsti Merritt, 2016
Michelle Moultrie, 2012
Aubree Munro, 2016
Kelsey Stewart, 2016
Shelby Pendley, 2015
Keilani Ricketts, 2013
Ally Carda, 2015
Rachel Garcia, 2020
Delaney Spaulding, 2017
Ali Aguilar, 2017