Softball's two greatest programs meet for a seat in OKC

Softball's two greatest programs meet for a seat in OKC
The last time Arizona went to the WCWS they lost to UCLA in the championship series (Photo courtesy: UCLA Athletics).
The last time Arizona went to the WCWS they lost to UCLA in the championship series (Photo courtesy: UCLA Athletics).

WESTWOOD, CA - And the rivalry is renewed.

14th seed Arizona and #3 seed UCLA, the holders of the most national championships in softball will square off starting Thursday night in Westwood for the right to go to Oklahoma City and try to win yet another title.

The two most successful programs in the sports history have combined for 19 NCAA titles, eight of those by the Wildcats.

UA (43-14) earned their way into the 13th super regional in 14 years by sweeping through the Tucson Regional. The Bruins (54-5) on the other hand had to win twice over Cal State Fullerton in the regional finals to earn their bid.

Much of the Wildcats' domination at their NCAA Regional was due in part to the pitching of junior Taylor McQuillin.

The lefty tossed 19.2 scoreless innings, allowing just six total hits (.094 b/avg). She threw shutouts against Saint Francis and North Dakota State (to bring her season total to 15 shutouts, most in the NCAA).

McQuillin entered in relief in the final against Mississippi State and retired 16 of the 17 batters she faced, allowing just one walk over 5.2 innings pitched.

The Bruins have both the Pac-12 Player of the Year (Rachel Garcia) and the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year (Aaliyah Jordan). Garcia is 25-3 on the season with a 1.01 ERA in the circle and is hitting .357 with 10 home runs and 51 RBI.

Jordan leads the Bruins in average (.435), doubles (14), home runs (12) and RBI (64).

The two most successful programs in the sports history have combined for 19 NCAA titles, eight of those by the Wildcats.

UCLA leads the all-time series 81-57 and has won each of the last seven series. UCLA swept the series in Tucson this year, defeating Arizona 7-6, 7-3 and 10-3.

Thursday and Friday's games will begin at 6 p.m. Tucson time. Saturday's Game 3, if necessary, will have a first pitch time of 4 p.m. MST.

Copyright 2018 Arizona Athletics. All rights reserved.

David Kelly contributed to this story.