The Ducks were still breaking in their new Pac-12 softball championship hats while watching the NCAA selection show together on Sunday night.
One day after clinching the program’s fifth conference title in the past six years with a victory at California in the regular-season finale, Oregon earned the No. 1 seed in the 64-team field.
The Ducks (47-7) will open the NCAA Eugene Regional against Albany at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Jane Sanders Stadium. BYU and Drake will meet in the first game of the four-team, double-elimination regional at 3 p.m. on Thursday.
The winners will play at 3 p.m. Friday, and the losers will face an elimination game at 5:30 p.m. Friday.
“We definitely have to move on pretty quickly,” senior catcher Gwen Svekis said. “It’s awesome that we got back on top and we won (the Pac-12). But at the end of the day, it’s not our ultimate goal, it’s just one of our goals along the way.
“Now it’s go time. This is the fun time of the year, the time where it’s just who scratches and fights the most to get to the end.”
The Ducks, who fly into the postseason on a 13-game winning streak, are 24-0 all-time in regional games under White, outscoring the opposition 144-29 during the span.
Oregon clinched the outright Pac-12 championship by completing the sweep of then-No. 24 Cal. If not for a rainout last season at Utah, the Ducks would have had an opportunity to win six consecutive conference titles.
White is trying to take the program to the Women’s College World Series for the fifth time. Oregon is still seeking its first national championship.
“We’ve been under pressure the whole year and especially down the stretch here,” White said. “I thought we did well given the pressure, because we know what it is, we’re playing for championships.”
No. 3 UCLA, No. 5 Washington and No. 8 Arizona State will also have a chance to host both a regional and super regional on the road to Oklahoma City for the eight-team WCWS.
The other Pac-12 teams in the field are No. 14 Arizona, Cal and Oregon State. The Beavers will play Wisconsin in the Tuscaloosa Regional on Friday.
The Eugene Regional must begin on Thursday and wrap up Saturday because BYU, a Mormon school, doesn’t play on Sundays.
“We don’t have to travel, so that’s the plus,” White said of the quick turnaround. “Those other teams have to travel across from the other side of the country. BYU, not too far to go, but still they’ve got less time to prepare than we do. We can’t complain about that at all, we’ve got to be ready to go.”
The Ducks, who finished the season with the No. 1 RPI, were also the No. 1 overall seed in 2014. If seeding holds in the regional round, Oregon would host Kentucky in a super regional for the second consecutive year.
“Obviously it doesn’t really matter,” Svekis said. “You’ve got to take care of business, regardless of your seeding and where you are. But it’s exciting to get the recognition of the hard work we’ve put in this year. So we’re happy about that.
“We like our journey, we like the possibility of a rematch with Kentucky, that’s a good team.”