With collegiate softball’s national profile on the rise, it will be an international setting that grabs the attention Feb. 9-11 when defending champion and preseason No. 1 Oklahoma joins No. 2 Auburn at the Puerto Vallarta College Challenge.
Along with three other impressive programs (No. 13 Washington, Nebraska and BYU), the event puts a remarkably powerful field of teams on display in a unique setting at the refurbished but very intimate Nancy Almaraz Stadium in Puerto Vallarta. Three of the four games on the slate Thursday, Feb. 9 will be aired by ESPNU/ESPN3:
Nebraska vs. BYU, 11 a.m. ET (ESPN3): WATCH HERE
Auburn vs. Oklahoma, 2 p.m. ET (ESPNU): WATCH HERE
Washington vs. Auburn, 8 p.m. ET (ESPN3): WATCH HERE
(The BYU-Oklahoma game at 5 p.m. ET will not be televised)
This is just the second time an NCAA softball event has been held outside the USA, after the 2015 PV Challenge featuring BYU, Nevada, Illinois State and Southern Illinois. The event is the result of a years-long relationship between the city of Puerto Vallarta and Triple Crown Sports.
The Auburn-Oklahoma game marks what may be an unprecedented moment in NCAA softball, where the two teams that met for the Women’s College World Series title play each other to start the following season. The Sooners topped the Tigers in the three-game series, 2-1, scoring two runs in the first inning of Game 3 and holding on for a 2-1 victory.
“This unique event features a dream field of teams in a facility and community that will make the fans and players feel special,” said David King, CEO of Triple Crown Sports. “People get to experience the sun, the beach and the opportunity to enjoy authentic Mexico with the best softball teams going. What could be better?”
Session 1 of the Puerto Vallarta Challenge continues with three games on Feb. 10 and three more on Feb. 11.
Session 2 is set for Feb. 16-19 and features another strong group of programs – Cal State Fullerton, Florida Gulf Coast, Fresno State, Mississippi State and Texas Tech.