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NCAA Softball World Series 2011 Preview: Arizona State Softball Takes On The Field

The 2011 NCAA Softball Women's College World Series starts Thursday morning at 10:00 a.m. MST, as the (7) California Golden Bears square off against the (2) Alabama Crimson Tide in the opening game. The action will press on throughout the day, with (11) Baylor vs. Oklahoma State, (9) Oklahoma vs. (1) Arizona State, and (5) Missouri vs. (4) Florida. Games will continue on Thursday and Friday, matching up the corresponding winners and losers.

As the top seed, Arizona State enters the WCWS as the prohibitive favorites. The lady Sun Devils have ripped through the season, finishing first in the Pac-10, posting a 55-6 record for the year, and an undefeated 5-0 mark in their postseason march.  History is also on Arizona State's side, as the Sun Devils are one of three teams in the field -- California and Oklahoma being the other two -- to have one won a previous WCWS.

While history is one thing, experience is an entirely different beast. On that side of the spectrum, Florida and Missouri are the only two teams to have repeated a run to this year's series after making the 2010 WCWS. However, luckily for the rest of the field, the Gators and the Tigers will be facing off against each on day one.

The eight teams roads to the WCWS:

Alabama: 5-1 postseason record; def. (15) Stanford, 2-1, in Super Regional

Arizona State: 5-0 postseason record; def. (16) Texas A&M, 2-0, in Super Regional

Baylor: 5-1 postseason record; def. (6) Georgia, 2-1, in Super Regional

California: 5-1 postseason record; def. Kentucky, 2-1, in Super Regional

Florida: 5-1 postseason record; def. (13) Oregon, 2-1, in Super Regional

Missouri: 6-1 postseason record; def. (12) Washington, 2-1, in Super Regional

Oklahoma: 5-1 postseason record; def. (8) Arizona, 2-1, in Super Regional

Oklahoma State: 5-1 postseason record; def. Houston, 2-1, in Super Regional