Cowgirls Lose WCWS Opener In An Instant

OKLAHOMA CITY –– A first-session record crowd of 7,280 almost didn't know how to react after Baylor catcher Kelsi Kettler swung at the Kat Espinosa pitch and watched it curl inside the left field foul pole and underneath the guard that hangs off the foul pole into fair play. The solo home run in the bottom of the eighth inning made Baylor an instant Women's College World Series winner at 1-0.

"I saw it go fair," said Baylor head coach Glenn Moore. "That's the way the World Series is supposed to be. You get a big hit and find a way to win it. Kettler has been phenominal in the postseason at catcher since Hosack went down (with an injury).

"I thought (Espinosa did a great job and Oklahoma State has had our number this whole year. It was tough to get that monkey off our back," added Moore.

"It was a good game and you sit there and replay the entire game and you realize both teams made some really good defensive plays," said Cowgirls head coach Rich Wieligman. "It finally came down to one swing of the bat and they got it. We've played them three times and two of them have gone to extra innings."

A game that had developed a distinct rhythm for most of the afternoon and seemingly followed along with the opener of the day, a 1-0 win by Alabama over California, had the fans kind of mesmerized in a trance.

Pitching duels will do that to you, but for Espinosa who threw the pitch, and Kettler, who delivered again after waiting all season to get her chance, they were wide awake.

"I went up there thinking, 'just make contact, just make contact, we need a base runner,' " said Kettler after the game and after getting a chance to make a national television interview with ESPN's Holly Rowe after the homer.

"I was down 0-2 and I was still thinking just make contact because she was going to throw some waste pitches. She had been throwing me really low and then when she threw me a high ball I just attacked it and that was it. I was thinking stay fair, stay fair. I saw it and it was fair."

"It was a screwball and it kind of rose and she got a really good hit," said Espinosa, who held Baylor to just four hits. "That's really all I can say about that."

Oklahoma State had its chance as the Cowgirls played solid defense all day behind Espinosa, who had won twice this season against Baylor, once in a complete game and the other in relief.

In the top of the third after second baseman Alysia Hamilton singled to rightfield on a ball that Baylor's Kayce Walker couldn't hold on to, Wieligman, coaching at third, sent speedy Ari Morrison around third and toward home trying to score from first on the play.

"She (Morrison) was running on the pitch and the ball is hit and she never stops coming and did a great job," said Wieligman. "I sort of tried to catch them sleeping because I thought they were arguing if she (Walker) caught it. We're being aggressive with two outs and I'd much rather make an out at home rather than her sitting at third. They made the play."

"I really didn't know what happened until I crossed the plate," said Morrison. "I was just heading straight for home and I was almost there."

That was as close as the Cowgirls would get to scoring.

Baylor advances to play Alabama Friday night at 6 p.m., while Oklahoma State will face California at 11 a.m. Saturday. The loss drops the Cowgirls to 42-19, but Wieligman says his team will be ready to continue.

"That's what I told them is we get to play more games than anybody else," said Wieligman with a chuckle. "Let's go play, and that's what our team does. I feel all year long they have come to play every game and I think it is important that we keep that consistency. That is all I can ask of them is that they come prepared and ready to play and that is what they do."

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