Shelby Babcock, second from right, was discharged from a Tucson hospital today and may not pitch in this week's NCAA Regionals in College Station, Texas.


In coaching 1,606 career games for the Arizona Wildcats, Mike Candrea has traveled the West, and after the sport grew nationally, the country.

Heading the U.S. Olympic team, he coached softball across the globe.

Yet this weekend's destination is brand new.

"I've not played in Norman," he said Monday.

The UA will travel to the University of Oklahoma for its super regional series. Monday, the NCAA announced the dates and times of the 38-17 Wildcats' games against the 48-8 Sooners, the No. 4 seed in the NCAA tournament.

The squads will play Game 1 on Friday at 11 a.m. Tucson time on ESPNU.

Saturday's Game 2 will air at 9 a.m. on ESPN, with a third contest to begin a half-hour after the conclusion of the second, if necessary.

Daylight is a blessing for the UA.

Candrea said "everyone hits better during the day," which might help negate the influence of OU's dominant left-handed starting pitcher, Keilani Ricketts.

"That's good," the coach said.

The Sooners drew 1,048 fans in their 6-0 regional title game win against Oregon State on Sunday.

"They have a good following," Candrea said. "It'll be a lot for them and few for us."

'Babs' on fire

Entering the final week of the regular season, Candrea figured he'd try a new approach: starting Shelby Babcock and using Kenzie Fowler in relief, perhaps as early as the fourth inning.

The reason, he said Sunday: "We have not had a pitcher that I felt like could dominate for seven innings."

That seems to have changed.

Since allowing seven runs on eight hits and nine walks in six innings May 5 at UCLA, Babcock has been stellar.

In seven appearances, she's allowed 11 runs, all earned, in 31 2/3 innings, good for a 2.36 ERA.

She finished every game she started.

In relief, Babcock gave up three runs in 6 2/3 innings.

Perhaps most importantly, she had a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 30-4.

Inside pitch

• Four other Pac-12 teams advanced to the super regional round.

No. 1 California will host No. 16 Washington, starting Saturday.

No. 2 Arizona State hosts Louisiana-Lafayette, starting Thursday, and No. 11 Oregon travels to Texas for a series that starts Friday.

• Pam Ward and Michele Smith will again cover the UA this week for ESPN.

Former Wildcats legend Jennie Finch will call the Arizona State-Louisiana-Lafayette series.

And former UA star Leah O'Brien-Amico will provide color commentary for the Hofstra-South Florida series.

ESPN will carry every super regional game from all eight locations, on either the main network, ESPN2 or ESPNU.

• Tickets at Oklahoma can be purchased by calling the school's ticket office at 1-800-456-GOOU.