Alabama couldn’t get the key hit when it had its chance and Oklahoma did as the Crimson Tide and Sooners completed their first round Women’s College World Series game in Oklahoma City Friday evening. That key hit for Oklahoma was a three-run home run in the bottom of the eighth inning as the Sooners took a 3-0 win.
“In the postseason, you need starting pitching, defense and timely hitting,” Alabama Coach Patrick Murphy said. “Tonight they were 3-3 and we were 2-3. It was a well-played game.”
Alabama will face the loser of a later LSU-Michigan game in an elimination game on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. CDT on ESPN.
The game was Alabama’s (51-13) first extra inning game at the WCWS since 2006 and its second loss of the season to Oklahoma (53-7), both of which came on walk-off home runs by Shay Knighten.
Tide starter Alexis Osorio (19-7) was the tough-luck loser in the complete game loss, striking out 10 over 7 1/3 innings with just three hits allowed. Oklahoma’s Shay Knighten, who hit the walk-off homer earlier this season in a 2-0 win over Bama, came through again with a three-run home run in the eighth inning. Paige Parker (34-3) earned the win in the complete-game shutout, striking out seven.
“I think we did a nice job of getting people on base,” Tide senior Haylie McCleney said. “We just didn’t get the timely hit and that’s going to happen sometimes, especially against a great pitcher like Paige Parker. Alexis [Osorio] threw a shutout for seven innings. That’s all we could ask her to do. It’s frustrating as an offense not to have her back. We just needed that one key hit.”
The teams were scoreless when lightning and rain forced a postponement Thursday night in the middle of the second inning. The game was picked up at that point Friday night.
Upon resumption, Sydney Booker would get the first hit of the game for either team in the top of the third, a one-out double, and that would remain the only hit until Reagan Dykes led off the top of the fifth with a standup double. After being sacrificed to third base, a strikeout and flyout would leave her stranded 60 feet away and keep the game scoreless.
With one out in the bottom of the fifth, Oklahoma’s Nicole Pendley drew a walk and Kady Self followed with a single up the middle, their first hit of the game, to put runners at the corners. A popup in foul territory went for out number two and Osorio got out of the jam with her eighth strikeout.
Alabama would put two on base in the top of the sixth but again failed to score. Sydney Romero would drive one to the center field wall in the bottom half, but Haylie McCleney made a catch to end the inning. The Tide put the potential go-ahead run in scoring position again in the seventh but a strikeout left her stranded. A scoreless bottom half from the Sooners sent the teams to extra innings.
After Alabama went down in order in the top of the eighth, Oklahoma drew a leadoff walk in the bottom half and, following a lineout, an errant throw on the attempt to double-up the runner advanced her to second base. A walk put two on base and Shay Knighten came through with the decisive hit over the right field wall.