Through four innings Monday, Oklahoma had left eight runners on base, hadn’t scored and trailed Alabama by a run in Game 1 of the Women’s College World Series’ championship series.
In the top of the fourth, the Sooners had even left the bases loaded.“We stuck with a good game plan,” said OU coach Patty Gasso. “That’s what’s so cool about these guys. They don’t get rattled. They don’t get fazed by it. They keep staying the course and they trust it.”
OU finally broke through the dam in the top of the fifth, scoring twice on its way to a 4-1 win. The Sooners (54-8) can win the national championship by beating the Crimson Tide on either of the next two days at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium. Game times are 7 p.m.
“We have confidence at the plate right now,” said junior catcher Jessica Shults. “Getting runners on base is a great sign; it builds momentum for our team.Even though we’re not scoring right away, things are going to come together and people are going to clutch up at the right time.”
That they did, despite a game-opening scoring drought the length of which OU hadn’t experienced in exactly a month, when the Sooners beat Texas 5-2 on May 4 but didn’t register a run until the sixth inning.
After Alabama (58-8) took a 1-0 lead, freshman Lauren Chamberlain drew a walk to open the fifth. Keilani Ricketts singled, advancing Chamberlain to third base, and Shults’ ensuing sacrifice fly scored the tying run.
Two batters later, Oklahoma took a lead it wouldn’t relinquish when Brianna Turang reached on fielder’s choice that scored Ali Vandever.
“We’re getting runners on base, and that’s one of the hardest things to do against (Alabama pitcher) Jackie Traina,” Ricketts said. “I think we all trust that we’re going to have something happen and put runs on the board.”