Only eight teams remain in the 2023 NCAA Division I softball tournament, finalizing this year's Women's College World Series field.
Unlike MLB, whose World Series consists of only two teams in a best-of-seven series, the WCWS — just like baseball's College World Series — is made of two distinct rounds of play. To be crowned national champions, this year's winner must traverse both before they can claim the ultimate prize of the sport.
The favorite to do that this season is Oklahoma, which enters the Women's College World Series with an impressive 56-1 record. A victory in Oklahoma City, Okla., would mark the third straight title for the Sooners.
Whether the Sooners can claim college softball dominance for yet another season remains to be seen. Several teams — led by 3-seed Florida State, 4-seed Tennessee and 5-seed Alabama — will aim to dethrone Oklahoma.
Here's everything you need to know about the 2023 Women's College World Series, including rules, number of games played, bracket and more:
Women's College World Series format
The Women's World College Series features aspects of both regional (double-elimination) and super regional (best-of-three series) play. They are as follows:
The WCWS starts with two four-team brackets, each engaging in a double-elimination portion of play. Competition in a given bracket starts with two games that produce two winners and two losers, each advancing to a winners and losers bracket, respectively.
The teams in the losers bracket will play each other, with the loser of that game being eliminated. The winner of the losers bracket game will then play the team that loses in the winners game from the opposing bracket. Whoever loses that game will be eliminated. At that point, only two teams per bracket remain (four total).
The team advancing from the losers bracket (which at that point will have two wins and one loss) will then play the team advancing out of the winners bracket (two wins and zero losses). The former team must beat the latter team twice to advance to the WCWS finals, while the latter only has to win once.
Whichever team wins — whether it be the losers bracket team twice or the winners bracket team once — will advance to the finals.
The two teams that advance from their respective brackets will face off in a best-of-three series, emulating the super regional round of play. The first team to win two games will be crowned the national champion.
How many games are in the Women's College World Series?
The Women's College World Series will feature at least 12 games in the double-elimination portion and could have as many as 14 games. The WCWS finals will have at least two games, with a potential third game if necessary.
All teams are guaranteed two games in the WCWS. Everything else is dependent on the outcomes of the games. For example, a team that sweeps the WCWS — double-elimination and finals combined — has only to win five games to be crowned national champions: three from the double-elimination round of play, plus two in the best-of-three finals.
A would-be national champion that loses one game in both the double-elimination and finals rounds must win eight games total: five from the former portion, and three in the latter.
Women's College World Series bracket 2023
Here's a look at the 2023 WCWS bracket ahead of the double-elimination portion of play:
- No. 1 Oklahoma vs. No. 9 Stanford
- No. 4 Tennessee vs. No. 5 Alabama
- No. 3 Florida State vs. No. 6 Oklahoma State
- No. 7 Washington vs. No. 15 Utah
WCWS schedule 2023
Here is a game-by-game breakdown of the 2023 Women's College World Series.
|Thursday, June 1||Game 1: No. 4 Tennessee vs. No. 5 Alabama||Noon||ESPN, Fubo|
|Game 2: No. 1 Oklahoma vs. No. 9 Stanford||2:30 p.m.||ESPN, Fubo|
|Game 3: No. 3 Florida State vs. No. 6 Oklahoma State||7 p.m.||ESPN, Fubo|
|Game 4: No. 7 Washington vs. No. 15 Utah||9:30 p.m.||ESPN, Fubo|
|Friday, June 2||Game 5: No. 5 Alabama vs. No. 9 Stanford||7 p.m.||ESPN, Fubo|
|Game 6: 6 Oklahoma State vs. No. 15 Utah||9:30 p.m.||ESPN, Fubo|
|Saturday, June 3||Game 7: No. 4 Tennessee vs. No. 1 Oklahoma||3 p.m.||ABC, Fubo|
|Game 8: No. 3 Florida State vs. No. 7 Washington||7 p.m.||ESPN, Fubo|
|Sunday, June 4||Game 9: No. 9 Stanford vs. No. 7 Washington||3 p.m.||ABC, Fubo|
|Game 10: No. 6 Oklahoma State vs. No. 4 Tennessee||7 p.m.||ESPN2, Fubo|
|Monday, June 5||Game 11: No. 1 Oklahoma vs. No. 9 Stanford||Noon||ESPN, Fubo|
|Game 12*: No. 1 Oklahoma vs. No. 9 Stanford||2:30 p.m.||ESPN, Fubo|
|Game 13: No. 3 Florida State vs. Game 10 winner||7 p.m.||ESPN, Fubo|
|Game 14*: No. 3 Florida State vs. Game 10 winner||9:30 p.m.||ESPN, Fubo|
* If necessary
|Wednesday, June 7||Game 1||8 p.m.||ESPN, Fubo|
|Thursday, June 8||Game 2||7:30 p.m.||ESPN, Fubo|
|Friday, June 9||Game 3*||8 p.m.||ESPN, Fubo|
* If necessary