Category Archives: ESPN NCAA

8-3-2017 DI Teams to Play in Mexico

Texas softball to play in the 2018 Puerto Vallarta College Challenge

Longhorns will play outside of the U.S. for the first time with trip to Mexico over Feb. 15-18, 2018

AUSTIN, Texas – The Texas softball program is scheduled to participate in the 2018 Puerto Vallarta College Challenge over Feb. 15-18 at Nancy Almaraz Stadium in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, according to a Thursday release.

With their visit to the event, the Longhorns will be playing softball outside of the U.S. for the first time in program history.

The tournament, hosted by Triple Crown Sports, will feature a 10-team field split into two five-team sessions between Feb. 8-10 (Session One) and Feb. 15-18 (Session Two). Session One will include Georgia, James Madison, Long Beach State, Louisiana Tech and Nevada, while the Longhorns will participate in Session Two alongside Ole Miss, Oregon, Rutgers and Houston.

Games for each session are set to begin on Thursday with the event wrapping up action on Saturday afternoon. Official game times and match-ups will be announced on Wed., Aug. 9.

Texas is coming off a 2017 campaign that saw the squad go 33-26 overall with an eventual berth in the championship round of the NCAA College Station Regional.

The inaugural Puerto Vallarta College Challenge was held in 2015, featuring BYU, Nevada, Northern Colorado and Southern Illinois. After a year break for improvements to Nancy Almaraz Stadium, the 2017 tournament included: (Session One) Auburn, BYU, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Washington; (Session Two) Cal State Fullerton, Florida Gulf Coast, Fresno State, Mississippi State and Texas Tech.

Based in Fort Collins, Colo., Triple Crown Sports has been producing events in youth athletics and the collegiate ranks for more than 30 years, establishing a national footprint with destination-friendly tournaments in baseball, fastpitch softball, volleyball and basketball.

Fan Travel & Ticketing Information: Teams will be staying at the Sheraton Buganvilias Resort with all games played just a five-minute walk away at Nancy Almaraz Stadium. Fan packages are available through the Sheraton Buganvilias Resort including four-, five- and six-night stays that also include game tickets. Admission is also available without a hotel package for $30 per day or $75 for a full tournament pass.


 footnote:  Spy covered an ISF tournament won by USA a few years ago.  Accident at intersection.  Learned that if you have the $300,000 Hertz collision insurance, you are automatically guilty.
Taken to jail.  Fortunately the American coach spoke Spanish and went with me to a side room.  Police wanted to examine my passport case which I had not opened in years. Pam looked in and found three passports, all with my picture but different names.  She handed the USA civilian passport to the cops.  Eventually I was freed.  The Hertz car had been towed from the scene with fender damage.  Later Hertz informed me that the Mexican police had no idea what happened to the car.  One cop told me the car probably went directly to a chop shop.

7-18-2017 Barnhill Wins ESPY Award

MORE: Florida ace Kelly Barnhill wins 2017 ESPY

Florida’s Barnhill wins ESPY

Florida pitcher Kelly Barnhill won the 2017 ESPY for Best Female Collegiate Athlete during an awards celebration in Los Angeles.

Brad McClenny/Staff Photographer/file

Published: Thursday, July 13, 2017 at 7:08 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, July 13, 2017 at 7:08 a.m.

LOS ANGELES – Florida sophomore Kelly Barnhill added another postseason award late Wednesday as she took home the 2017 ESPY for Best Female Collegiate Athlete during an awards celebration at the Microsoft Theater.

The Marietta, Ga., native became the first player in UF program history to receive an ESPY award.

Also on the ballot for the award was Stanford’s Inky Ajanaku (volleyball), West Virginia’s Kadeisha Buchanan (soccer), Washington’s Kelsey Plum (basketball) and Maryland’s Zoe Stukenberg (lacrosse).

This past season Barnhill helped lead the Gators back to the Women’s College World Series with national leading marks in earned run average (0.51) and strikeouts per seven innings (13.0).

Those two staggering statistics also went down as the best in a single season by a Florida pitcher but she also set records in lowest opponent batting average (.121), most combined shutouts (10), most strikeouts looking (100) and lowest stolen base percentage (.333).

The 25th annual show honoring the past year’s top athletes and sports moments is a production by ESPN.

Barnhill’s Season Awards

2017 ESPY – Best Female Collegiate Athlete

2017 Honda Sports Award

2017 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year

2017 espnW Player of the Year

2017 CoSIDA Academic All-American

NFCA All-American First Team

SEC Pitcher of the Year

All-SEC First Team

SEC Pitcher of the Week – 5x (2/20, 4/11, 4/18, 4/25, 5/2)

USA Softball Co-Player of the Week – (4/18)

Louisville Slugger/NFCA Pitcher of the Week – (4/18)

ESPNW Player of the Week – (4/18)

7-6-2017 Waldrop Joins Duke Staff

Waldrop Joins Duke Softball Staff


July 6, 2017


DURHAM, N.C. – Duke head softball coach Marissa Young announced on Thursday the addition of former collegiate National Player of the Year Lacey Waldrop to the Blue Devil coaching staff.  Waldrop will serve as an assistant coach with primary responsibilities including pitching staff and player development.

“We are excited to add Lacey Waldrop to our coaching staff,” said Young.  “I have always respected Lacey as a bright young lady who is humble and no stranger to hard work. I love she is such a fierce competitor who really understands how to connect with student-athletes and elevate their mentality to take their games to the next level. Lacey has had the opportunity to learn from two of the top programs in the country, has an understanding of what it takes to consistently win in both the ACC and NCAA Tournament and is eager to help build a championship culture here at Duke.  She will play an integral role with our pitching staff and in preparing our offense for upcoming opponents.”

Waldrop joins the Duke program following one season at the University of Oklahoma, where she served as a graduate student manager as the Sooners went 61-9, captured the Big 12 regular season and tournament titles and defeated top-seeded Florida in the best-of-three NCAA championship series to win their second consecutive national crown

6-28-2017 OU Coaches Hailed as Nation’s Best

OU Softball Coaches Heralded as National Staff of the Year


NORMAN – Winners of back-to-back national championships, the Oklahoma softball coaches have repeated as the NFCA Division I National Coaching Staff of the Year, the National Fastpitch Association announced Wednesday.

Head coach Patty Gasso, associate head coach Melyssa Lombardi, assistant coach J.T. Gasso and volunteer assistant coach Andrea Gasso took home the honor for the second straight year after guiding the Sooners to a 61-9 record and the fourth national championship in program history.

Gasso’s staff, which included Lombardi, was also tabbed the nation’s best in 2000 and 2013 after the Sooners won their first two national titles. OU has been recognized as the Division I Central Region Coaching Staff of the Year for each of the last six seasons.

After losing their opening game of the Regionals, tenth-seeded OU rattled off four straight elimination-game wins before sweeping No. 7 Auburn in the Super Regionals. Oklahoma then took down No. 15 Baylor, No. 6 Washington and No. 3 Oregon.

Game one of the WCWS Championship Series against top-seeded Florida was an instant classic as the Sooners prevailed 7-5 in 17 innings, the longest game in Finals history (since 2005). Twice Oklahoma had Florida down to its final out, but the Gators rallied in the bottom of the seventh and bottom of the 12th to prolong the game. In the top of the 17th, Shay Knighten hit a three-run homer to put the Sooners up for good.

Oklahoma then swept the WCWS Championship Series with a 5-4 win in game two. Knighten was again the hero as she hit a bases-loaded double, turning a 3-2 deficit in the second inning into a 5-3 lead.

Coming off a national title in 2016, the Sooners started the season ranked No. 1 in the NFCA preseason poll for the first time in program history. However, the team would slip as low as No. 13 as late as Week 7. OU was 23-7 on March 18, but rebounded to win 38 of its last 40 contests en route to the national title and a unanimous No. 1 ranking in the final polls.

For the fifth time in the last six seasons Oklahoma had at least three All-Americans with Knighten, Caleigh Clifton and Paige Parker on the second team. OU also had seven All-Region honorees for the fourth straight season and tied a school record with five first-teamers.

Winners of the Big 12 for the sixth straight year, Oklahoma swept nearly every major conference award, including Player of the Year (Knighten), Pitcher of the Year (Parker), Freshman of the Year (Nicole Mendes) and Coach of the Year (Gasso). The Sooners put four players on the All-Big 12 First Team, four on the All-Big 12 Second Team and two on the All-Big 12 Freshman Team.

The team ranked second in the country in winning percentage (.871), sixth in fielding percentage (.977), ninth in runs per game (6.26) and 10th in team earned run average (1.55).

Paige Lowary led the nation in saves with 11, a total higher than any Sooners team in program history. Knighten, meanwhile, was seventh in the country with 70 RBI, while Clifton was ninth in hit by pitch per game (0.37).

A 2012 NFCA Hall of Fame inductee, Gasso just completed her 23rd season at the helm of the OU program. She owns a career collegiate coaching record of 1307-381-3 (.774) with an overall mark of 11146-322-2 (.780) at the University of Oklahoma. She ranks sixth among active coaches (min. 5 years) and eighth all-time (min. 10 years) in winning percentage, while her win total is 14th all-time and ninth among active coaches.

Gasso has won more Big 12 games (307-85) than any coach in the league’s history. Oklahoma has claimed 10 Big 12 regular season and five championship titles under her direction, including the 2017 crown after a 17-1 mark in league play tied for the program’s best conference record.

– OU –

6-28-2017 New ESPN USA Softball Pact

ESPN and USA Softball ink multi-year agreement to televise competitions through 2020; World Cup of Softball XII TV schedule announced


OKLAHOMA CITY — USA Softball is proud to announce that it has reached a multi-year agreement with ESPN that will establish the ESPN networks as the home of select World Cup of Softball games through 2020.  Starting this year at the World Cup of Softball XII, ESPN will have the production and distribution rights for four USA Softball games and the Championship Game for each World Cup of Softball with all telecasts also available for live streaming via the ESPN app.


“We’re excited to bring top-level international softball to fans through the ESPN networks for the next four years,” said USA Softball Executive Director Craig Cress.  “Fans will have the opportunity to watch the top four ranked teams in the world compete here in Oklahoma City, along with very talented ranked teams like Mexico, Puerto Rico, the Philippines and our Junior National Team squad.  As the momentum continues to build towards the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, we are thrilled to be showcasing the best softball in the world and our sport on the ESPN networks.” 


Click here to see the complete broadcast schedule for the World Cup of Softball XII


“It’s exciting to be back on ESPN for the World Cup of Softball,” said Women’s National Team veteran Valerie Arioto.  “Not only for the anticipation leading up to the Olympic Games in 2020, but also to continue to grow the sport of softball.  There is such a broad range of viewers who watch and enjoy softball so our agreement with ESPN is a great avenue for people to be able to watch the best softball in the world!”


As the popularity and coverage of the sport continues to grow as fans around the world anticipate softball’s return to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, the 2017 telecast will provide fans the opportunity to watch the world’s best softball live from Oklahoma City.  The ESPN networks will air over 10 hours of live coverage on ESPN and ESPN2, which is highlighted by multiple prime time windows and concludes with the Championship Game on Sunday, July 9 at 12 p.m. CT.


“ESPN is extremely pleased to reach an agreement with USA Softball to showcase the World Cup of Softball in the wake of the sport’s return to the Summer Olympics,” said ESPN Vice President of Women’s Sports Programming Carol Stiff.  “The premier annual event adds to our deep softball portfolio that now includes more than 600 college softball regular season games annually across our platforms prior to our comprehensive coverage of the NCAA Division I Softball Championship and the Women’s College World Series. Throughout our entire history, women’s sports have been a vital part of ESPN’s programming content offerings and will continue to be into the future.”


The World Cup of Softball features No 1. world-ranked Japan, No. 2 USA, No. 3 Canada, No. 4 Australia, No. 7 Puerto Rico, No. 10 Mexico, No. 17 Philippines and the USA Softball Junior Women’s National Team (JWNT).  All other games of the World Cup of Softball will be live streamed for free through  The tournament is a round robin format, which will feed into the Championship Playoff Round on Sunday, July 9.  Ticket packages are now on sale for the World Cup of Softball XII.  All-session tickets are $40 for adults and $20 for youth, while single-session tickets are $10 for adult and $5 for youth.  All tickets are general admission and allow for the ticket holder to watch all games held on that respective date.  Tickets can be purchased by phone at 800-654-8337 or online at  Tickets will also be available for purchase outside the USA Softball Hall of Fame Complex.


This announcement comes on the heels of the most-watched and streamed NCAA Women’s College World Series (WCWS) finals in WCWS finals history.  Averaging a total live-audience (TV + streaming) of 1.72 million viewers, viewership of the event was up 33% from the first two games of the NCAA WCWS finals in 2016. 


For complete coverage of World Cup XII including live stats, streaming and results log on to